• Blogs

    December 26, 2013

    Catching up with Colorado's Clemency Six

    President Barack Obama recently commuted the sentences of eight federal prisoners serving absurdly long sentences for crack cocaine convictions, noting that such harsh punishments couldn't be imposed under current sentencing schemes. But Colorado's recent governors have been reluctant to exercise th ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 30, 2013

    Prison system needs improved monitoring, "change of culture," new chief says

    The Colorado Department of Corrections doesn't adequately train parole officers overseeing the electronic monitoring of high-risk parolees -- such as absconder Evan Ebel, who murdered DOC director Tom Clements and another man this year -- and needs to develop more consistent and comprehensive progra ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 15, 2013

    Nine parolees sent back to jail, 267 sentences changed after Department of Corrections audit

    The Colorado Department of Corrections has just announced the results of an audit intended to determine if any people on parole were mistakenly released early or sentenced incorrectly -- and the numbers aren't exactly reassuring. Nearly 2,000 cases were designated for judicial review, out of 8,000-p ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 31, 2012

    Wayne Lufkin, missing Springs man and attempted murderer, busted in Denver

    Update: On Sunday, as we note in our original coverage below, Wayne Lufkin, 74, disappeared from an assisted-care facility, after which authorities discovered he had warrants on him in Colorado and Oregon. Now comes word that Lufkin has been found in Denver and is currently cooling his heels in anot ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 18, 2012

    Guy Cruz, probation officer, allegedly told woman no sex = jail

    Guy Cruz is no longer a probation officer for the 4th Judicial District, and neither he is a high school tennis coach, the next gig he took up. But the Pueblo resident is in big trouble for allegedly threatening a parolee with jail or a loss of access to her son if she didn't get horizontal with him ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 3, 2012

    Jeffrey Wells, parole officer, accused of forgery to keep arrestees in jail longer

    Jeffrey Wells, a Department of Corrections parole officer based in Grand Junction, is well regarded by his fellow employees, who recently named him top employee of the quarter. But he's less venerated by John Morgan and three other parolees, who are currently suing him for allegedly forging document ... More >>

  • News

    February 23, 2012
  • Blogs

    April 26, 2011

    Senate Bill 241: Is Colorado ready to fix parole's revolving door?

    ​Over the years, we've written frequently about the breakdowns in Colorado's parole system -- how heaping mandatory parole on top of prison sentences and making ill-prepared felons jump through multiple hoops drives up prison costs. Now there finally seems to be some serious efforts among lawm ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 29, 2010

    Darrell Havens: Car thief paralyzed by Arvada police shooting in standoff over parole deal

    Darrell Havens.​In June, I wrote about Darrell Havens, the paralyzed car thief whose medical parole was canceled after Arvada police chief Don Wick complained. A month later, the situation appears no closer to a resolution.

  • News

    June 24, 2010
  • Blogs

    April 27, 2010

    Josh "Penal" Penry: Felons vote the Democratic ticket

    "How can I woo the sex offender vote?"​Yes, it's the season for blustery rhetoric and high-pressure posturing down at the statehouse. But few stunts can match, for sheer unintended hilarity, this recent blast from Colorado Senate Republicans, denouncing a bill to restore voting rights to stat ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 19, 2010

    Darrell Havens: State yanks parole for paralyzed thief after cops complain

    Without a special parole, medical care for Darrell Havens could cost the state more than $2 million before he's eligible for release.​A 22-year-old convicted car thief, left a quadraplegic by police gunfire and now costing the state prison system $200,000 a year for his care, was recently gran ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 18, 2010

    Samuel Crespin, number five in Denver's 50 most wanted: Busted

    Samuel Crespin has just joined another list...​This past weekend, the Denver Police Department released a roster of its fifty most wanted criminals -- and since then, it's been steadily rounding up the targeted scofflaws. A quartet of the accused were hauled in almost immediately, led by Fred ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 12, 2010

    Richard Charles MacNeill, alleged Band-Aid Bandit, peeled off to jail

    Is this man Richard Charles MacNeill?​Yet another memorably monikered scofflaw is allegedly off the streets. First it was Timothy McGlothin, thought to be one of the Hoppin Hooded Bandits, whose arrest was announced yesterday. And now it's Richard Charles MacNeill, who Aurora Police think is ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 4, 2010

    John Johnson, still lost in the system: Counting the years of his never-ending parole

    John Johnson's now in the tenth year of what began as a four-year sentence.​Four years ago, in a feature called "Over and Over Again," I reported on the staggering number of nonviolent offenders stuck in Colorado's revolving-door version of parole -- and costing the state millions of dollars. ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 19, 2009

    Scott "Fear Factor" McInnis is very, very concerned about your safety

    ​Governor Bill Ritter's modest proposal to parole hundreds of inmates a few weeks or months before their mandatory release date, thereby cutting millions from the state budget, has become the political whipping boy for his most opportunistic critics, from GOP legislators to Weld County Distric ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 5, 2009

    Life on the street for homeless parolees: "It sucks"

    ​Three years ago, in a feature titled "Over and Over Again," I looked at one of the primary reasons for the staggering failure rate of parolees in Colorado. That would be the fact that more and more prisoners are paroling homeless, with no job prospects and little preparation for what they're ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 9, 2008

    Josh Penry's fears about a plethora of parolees a big mythtake

    Josh Penry (pictured here) wasn't a happy man at the legislative hearing on parole policy December 8, and that's probably a good thing. Penry, the Fruita Republican state senator who takes a back seat to no one in his tough-on-crime posturing, has been hollering about the supposedly alarming increa ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 19, 2008

    Breaking News: Joe Principe's standoff with the cops ends badly

    Three views of Joe Principe. The call came into my voicemail Monday morning, November 17. "I'm calling to give you the exclusive rights to a standoff with the government," the voice said. "I'm not going to leave my house. They're jamming me up again… after all this nonsense that I've been thro ... More >>

  • News

    November 6, 2008
  • Music

    July 17, 2008

    Paradox Lounge

    Put some teeth into it!

  • Blogs

    April 4, 2008

    Shmuck of the Week

    Whether you’re disgusted by her behavior or inspired by it, sorry for her “victims” or jealous of them, once thing is certain: Carrie McCandless won’t be winning the teacher of the year award this year. Nor will she be able to bed -- at least for the next thirty days -- any more juveniles or ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 20, 2008
  • News

    January 31, 2008

    Pro and Con

    Amadeus Harlan has spent his life playing everyone around him — but not as a Denver Bronco.

  • Blogs

    November 8, 2007

    Throwing the Book at Parole

    Two-thirds of the 10,000 people released from Colorado prisons on parole this year will be back behind bars by 2010. Parole revocations now account for 37% of all prison admissions in the state, costing close to $80 million a year. The reasons behind the staggering failure rate of parole have been ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 15, 2007

    Busted in Sin City

    Nando Mondragon (left) before he wound up back in a Nevada prison. For Nando Mondragon, what happened in Vegas did not stay in Vegas. The Nevada state parole board gave him an additional six-month prison sentence for violating his parole by leaving Colorado and heading to Sin City earlier this ye ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 9, 2007

    The Grill of It All

    The lights are off most of the time inside Certified Customs, at 4815 E. Colfax. The shop's owner, grills guru Nando Mondragon, the subject of a recent Westword profile, is locked up in Las Vegas, waiting to hear if he'll be imprisoned on a parole violation or allowed to return to his hip-hop fashio ... More >>

  • News

    September 21, 2006

    Head Games

    At least one out of every five Colorado prisoners is mentally ill -- some violent, some undetected or untreated. How did the Big House become the Bug House?

  • News

    June 5, 2003

    Letters to the Editor

    From the week of June 5, 2003

  • News

    May 22, 2003

    The Revolving Door

    Some parolees face a run-on sentence.

  • News

    May 22, 2003

    The Long Road Home

    Why so many parolees go back to prison, and how a new approach could help turn them around.

  • News

    May 23, 2002

    Cruel and Unusual

    Declaring prison a waste of his time and your money, a minor felon seeks his own execution.

  • News

    June 28, 2001

    Shelter From the Storm

    In trying to keep the streets safe, Denver almost made a clean sweep of its homeless providers.

  • News

    October 19, 2000

    A Man of Convictions

    Bob Sylvester threatened to send these men back to prison. Now they're sending him back.

  • News

    February 3, 2000

    Off Limits

    Prison nation...

  • News

    November 4, 1999

    Follow That Story

    Halfway to Nowhere.

  • News

    August 26, 1999

    Captive Market

    Jobs. Gadgets. Profits. Crime pays big-time for the prison-industrial complex.

  • News

    November 19, 1998

    The Hayward Bus

    One woman's long, long journey to fix the parole system and free her husband.

  • News

    October 8, 1998

    Buddha Behind Bars

    For these federal prisoners, their last chants finally gave them inner peace.

  • News

    September 3, 1998

    Dismal House

    Ex-con Bob Sylvester wanted to help parolees go straight. But angry former supporters say that what happened at his shelter was pretty twisted.

  • News

    July 3, 1997

    Safely Behind Bars

    Prison life didn't suit prominent inmate activist Fidel Ramos, but parole was even worse.

  • News

    April 17, 1997

    Teen Anger

    After young Joe Gallegos was let back into society, all hell broke loose.

  • News

    April 3, 1997

    Inside Information

    Prison reformers decry the state parole board's approach toward potential parolees.

  • News

    January 9, 1997

    Please Release Me

    Colorado faces a boom in parolees--and rising evidence that parole isn't working.

  • News

    August 8, 1996

    This Jail for Hire

    Colorado's cheap solution to prison overcrowding has cost inmates plenty. It could cost the state millions.

  • News

    August 1, 1996

    Stealing Time

    As its inmate population ages, the Colorado prison system discovers there's no con like an old con.

  • News

    July 25, 1996

    The Committed

    The state pours millions of dollars--and controversial social theory--into a prison for mentally ill felons.

  • News

    July 11, 1996

    Jack's Back

    The state had an opportunity to lock up rapist and career criminal Jack Ainsworth for good. Now it's too late.

  • News

    April 26, 1995



  • News

    September 7, 1994
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