Tag Archives: Colorado

Colorado prison hospice program helps inmates die with dignity

From the article: “In the first state prison hospice program in the nation, inmates of the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility in Cañon City are trained to care for fellow prisoners as they follow the course of diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C toward the inevitable.”

Read more here.

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Fewer inmates means Colorado may close more prisons

From the article: “Colorado’s prison population is falling so quickly that state officials are once again considering closing prisons — a tough discussion given that prisons are often big employers in the counties where they are located…Colorado is already at 7,500 fewer inmates than it once expected in 2013 and has closed three state prisons.”

I am amazed that Colorado has had such success, given that other states that have purposefully worked to reduce their populations (like Ohio) have been stumped.  According to the article, the state’s felony rates have dropped by a third.  The state has also passed legislation allowing inmates to earn more time off their sentences for good behavior.

Of course, as the article states, closing prisoners isn’t a win-win – or even easy.  The article mentions the loss of jobs for the counties in which the prisons are located, but my experience has been that the true issue comes with the combining of prison populations and the shifting of staff.  In this case, it appears that some of prisons were private, so those staff may have just been out of luck.  In Ohio, closures of prisons result in system-wide “bumping” of staff, as staff have the ability to bump into positions by seniority.  Inmates are generally unhappy with the changes, but it’s the staff who are generally truly disgruntled.  I haven’t seen a lot of news coming out Colorado, so they must have figured out the secret for how to close prisons effectively.

Read more here.
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CO: Ponciano Zendejas-Garces gets 24 more years

From the article: “A Department of Corrections inmate has been sentenced to serve an additional 24 years in prison after his manslaughter conviction in the 2010 death of his cellmate.”

According to the article, the inmate stated that he did everything that he could to avoid it.  Curious minds (mine) wanted to know more.  A little more googling reveals that he was apparently assaulted several times by the other inmate, who was taller, heavier, and younger than Zendejas-Garces.  Does this make it excusable?  Not according to the judge in this case.

Read the article here.

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CO: Supermax prison officials move to address mental health after lawsuit

From the article: “Officials at the highest-security federal prison in America have taken steps to address mental- health issues among the prison’s inmates, following a lawsuit that accuses the government of indifference.”

The lawsuit’s allegations included transferring inmates to the Supermax who were known to be mentally ill and then stopping treatment.  According to the suit, at least six inmates have killed themselves at the prison.

In response to the suit, prison staff added more mental health staff and increased information to inmates regarding mental health services.

Is it just me, or is it pretty much universally known at this point that housing mentally ill inmates in solitary confinement is not the best idea?

Read the article here.

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CO: Minding the Inmates: New pre-trial program helps keep jail capacity down

This article provides a relatively extensive description of life in a CO jail, from the perspective of an officer, in addition to a discussion on efforts to keep the jail population down.

From the article: “One way the jail has been cutting down the number of incarcerations is with pre-trial services or alternate sentencing, which involves bond decisions mandated by the court. Pierce said this type of sentencing could include specific ankle monitors, staying in touch with law enforcement on a daily basis and alcohol testing, which is where the ankle monitors come in to play. The monitors let law enforcement know where the person has visited and whether that individual has consumed alcohol, which can be tested off site with advanced technology.”

Read more here.


1 staffer killed, another wounded in disturbance at state prison in southeast Colorado

From the article: “A female kitchen employee was killed and another was seriously injured Monday in an assault involving an inmate while breakfast was being prepared at a state prison in southeast Colorado, a spokeswoman said.”

The article recounts a series of surprisingly violent incidents in the state prison system.  Read more here.

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Inmates at “Old Max” build choppers with con flair, but no hype

This is a great article regarding inmates building choppers in the Colorado prison system.

I am also a huge fan of Big House Choppers, a similar industry, in Nevada.  Their motto?  “We have the time to do it right.”  Love it.

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Colorado prison inmate wins right to outdoor exercise

From the article: “In a ruling issued last week, a federal judge in Denver disagreed and ordered prison officials to allow Anderson to exercise in a place with no roof where the rain can fall on him and the wind can blow at him.”

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WTC Bomb Plotter Challenges Prison Isolation in Court

This article brings up an important question – are privilege restrictions for high security inmates additional punishments imposed by the state, or are they a legitimate reaction to a verified security threat?

From the article: “Yousef, 44, is barred from having physical contact with other inmates, and his communications with anyone outside the prison are severely restricted, his attorney, Bernard V. Kleinman, said yesterday in a court hearing. The lawyer is challenging the government’s decision to re-impose the measures annually without explanation.”

Read more: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-08-22/convicted-1993-bomb-plotter-challenges-prison-measures

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County jails struggling with more mentally ill inmates

“As county jails across the state face a quickly growing population of mentally ill inmates, the Adams County Sheriff’s Office is looking for money to create a specialized unit to house those prisoners.

The Sheriff’s Office has asked for funding either to renovate an unused portion of the jail for about $1.5 million or to build a new wing at a cost of about $3 million to house the most uncontrolled mentally ill inmates.

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