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Laundry Detail

When we last checked in on Rick Stanley (Hall of Shame, December 25), the former Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate was doing time in Adams County Jail after being sentenced to ninety days following his conviction for openly wearing a .357 revolver at a Thornton community event in violation of local ordinances. He'll soon transfer to Denver County Jail to serve a thirty-day sentence on a similar weapons conviction -- and he may welcome the change, judging from "The Dirty Laundry of Adams County Jail," a recent Stanley missive:

"It is a new year in the jail. I miss my wife and family, having been incarcerated for two and a half months, and the little things that are wrong keep mounting up...like the dirty laundry of Adams County Jail.

"Every Thursday and Sunday, inmates of this establishment turn in dirty laundry, piece for piece, for clean laundry. Twice a week, two pairs of socks, two pairs of boxer shorts, two shirts, one pair of pants, and then once a week we exchange two towels, two sheets and one washcloth. Each 'pod' averages forty inmates, but is only supposed to have cells for 32. We have had as many as thirteen inmates on cots on the floor, in the pod's main room, beyond the allowed inmate total. This dirty laundry totals 840 pieces each week, which is shoved through an approximate 6"x16" slot for exchange. Thirty-six pods in the jail, well, you get the idea of how much dirty clothing goes through these slots each week. The workers who receive this dirty laundry, which has body hairs, body fluids, dirt, grime and who knows what else in it, wear disposable gloves to protect them from potential disease. That makes sense. Very reasonable.

"Some guards insist on serving food through the same slot that the dirty laundry goes through. Other guards do not, and they open the door of the pod so that inmates can take their tray and go back inside the pod to eat, not passing the trays through the laundry slot. The unsanitary aspects of this situation have been brought to the attention of guards and management verbally, and by written 'kites,' to no avail.

"Medications are also dispensed twice daily through this slot in the door. Where is the Colorado Health Department when you need them? They actually came through once during my stay in this facility. We were told 'some people' were coming to inspect the toilets and sinks in the cells. We discovered afterwards that 'the people' were from the Colorado Health Department.

"The newest 'rule and regulation' here at the jail was brought to my attention a few days before January 1. One of the deputies was told by his captain to inform me that no inmate could receive more than ten pieces of e-mail sheets in their own private mail, nor could any inmate accumulate more than ten e-mail sheets. I get a lot of mail from my wife and others that have e-mail sheets of information, letters, etc., so they wanted me to have a head's up on this new rule for inmates. Since the mailroom has been photocopying each envelope, card and piece of paper of mine since the beginning of my incarceration for the District Attorney and FBI and Homeland Security, the speculation is that this is becoming 'too much' for the management of the jail, so it is necessary to stop this 'type' of mail to one inmate.

"Others in the jail have speculated that the content of these e-mails 'bothers' the deputies and management. Seems Mr. Stanley 'shares' the information with other inmates who are righteously dismayed by the unconstitutional actions of the American government, which most of these e-mails comment on or educate about...

"Just another day in the neighborhood of Adams County Jail.... I wish I had Mr. Roger's sweaters, as it is very cold in here."

And even after Stanley does his time in Denver, Adams County may get another crack at him, since he still faces two felony counts of attempting to influence a public official there. "All of this for speaking his mind," says one of Stanley's attorneys, who notes that his client will have to post $25,000 bond on those charges. After that, Stanley will get his day in court. But for now, he's reduced to being a slammer spammer.

 
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