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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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.
"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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
Put some teeth into it!
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 >>
Amadeus Harlan has spent his life playing everyone around him — but not as a Denver Bronco.
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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?
From the week of June 5, 2003
Some parolees face a run-on sentence.
Why so many parolees go back to prison, and how a new approach could help turn them around.
Declaring prison a waste of his time and your money, a minor felon seeks his own execution.
In trying to keep the streets safe, Denver almost made a clean sweep of its homeless providers.
Bob Sylvester threatened to send these men back to prison. Now they're sending him back.
Halfway to Nowhere.
Jobs. Gadgets. Profits. Crime pays big-time for the prison-industrial complex.
One woman's long, long journey to fix the parole system and free her husband.
For these federal prisoners, their last chants finally gave them inner peace.
Ex-con Bob Sylvester wanted to help parolees go straight. But angry former supporters say that what happened at his shelter was pretty twisted.
Prison life didn't suit prominent inmate activist Fidel Ramos, but parole was even worse.
After young Joe Gallegos was let back into society, all hell broke loose.
Prison reformers decry the state parole board's approach toward potential parolees.
Colorado faces a boom in parolees--and rising evidence that parole isn't working.
Colorado's cheap solution to prison overcrowding has cost inmates plenty. It could cost the state millions.
As its inmate population ages, the Colorado prison system discovers there's no con like an old con.
The state pours millions of dollars--and controversial social theory--into a prison for mentally ill felons.
The state had an opportunity to lock up rapist and career criminal Jack Ainsworth for good. Now it's too late.
CRIME MAY NOT PAY, BUT ELECTRONIC HOME DETENTION SURE DOES.