State representative Glenn Vaad was appalled to discover recently that corrections officials have delayed opening a $200-million supermax because of Colorado's fiscal woes. There's nothing that offends Vaad, a Republican who represents the Greeley area, more deeply than the idea of a brand-ne ... More >>
The dysfunctional high-security federal penitentiary in Florence has been the scene of all sorts of gang-related mayhem, from the grisly 1999 disembowelment of inmate Joey Estrella to the 2008 racial uprising in the yard, in which guards fired on brawling prisoners and killed two (as reported ... More >>
Photo by John Johnston There's plenty to get disgusted about in the story of a Colorado female inmate who was awarded $1.3 million in damages for two years' worth of sexual assaults by a male guard. As this report in the Denver Post recounts, federal judge David Ebel blasted the Colorado Department ... More >>
The Federal Correctional Institution in Schuylkill, Pennsylvania, where Joe Nacchio will be staying for quite a while. Today's a big day for former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio -- the day when he must report to the Federal Correctional Institution in Schuylkill, Pennsylvania and begin serving his six-year ... More >>
The Dhamma Brothers tells a tale of meditation and redemption in prison.
Earlier this year, "The Caged Life," Alan Prendergast's feature story about lockdown procedures at ADX Supermax, published last August, won a prestigious Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi award as the top feature in the country during 2007 for a newspaper with a circulation under 1 ... More >>
Robin Carole Gall, 38, was in jail in Canon City Monday night after Fremont County sheriff's deputies found her husband, Brent Thomas Gall, 40, dead of a gunshot wound to the chest. Brent Gall was a federal correctional officer. He was also a defendant in the infamous "Cowboys" case, in which seve ... More >>
On May 20, a federal jury decided to give Rudy Sablan a life sentence rather than the death penalty for the gruesome 1999 slaying of another inmate at the high-security penitentiary in Florence. That same day, Prison Legal News filed suit in Denver federal court, seeking the release of the videotape ... More >>
On May 14 the Colorado Department of Corrections announced that it would be bringing nearly 500 state prisoners back from Sayre, Oklahoma, where they'd been stored in a private lockup like so much toxic waste for months because of a lack of bedspace in Colorado prisons. At first glance, this is goo ... More >>
Note to self: Avoid extended stays in federal high-security penitentiaries, especially on weekends. Most prison riots tend to happen on weekends, when staffing is bare-bones and the week's grievances have heated to a boil. Last Sunday's melee at the U.S. Penitentiary Florence, in which guards fired ... More >>
A judge removes DA Carol Chambers from a death-penalty case -- and blasts prosecution misconduct.
At the moment the jury is still out in the first-degree murder trial of David Bueno, an inmate at the Limon state prison accused of killing another prisoner. Bueno and Alejandro Perez (who has yet to go to trial) face possible death sentences in the slaying, the prosecution of which is being bankrol ... More >>
How does DA Carol Chambers beat the high cost of a death-penalty prosecution? By billing the prison system.
Back in November Westword published "The Poisoned Pen of Fort Lyon," which examined the toxic history of Fort Lyon, a frontier fort turned veterans' hospital turned prison. Since the place was turned over to the Colorado Department of Corrections in 2001, there have been numerous instances of inmate ... More >>
A bureaucratic loophole limits halfway house residents' access to health care, making it harder to survive on the outside.
Bought by the state for a dollar, Fort Lyon is rich in history, asbestos, sick inmates — and trouble.
The Bureau of Prisons is as good at keeping prisoners in as it is at keeping reporters out.
Is Thomas Silverstein a prisoner of his own deadly past — or the first in a new wave of locked-down lifers?
Thursday's decision by U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger that the Bureau of Prisons can't stop even high-security prisoners from publishing under a byline may not mean much to the public at large. Is there anyone out there clamoring for dating advice from Ted "Unabomber" Kaczynski or a Forbes colum ... More >>
Numbers can lie, as shown by estimates of Mexican sex offenders.
The shackled plaintiff testified by video hookup from a holding cell in the control unit of the highest security federal pen in the country. His lawyers were students from the University of Denver who havenâ€™t yet passed the bar. But Mark Jordan was determined to have his day in court. Three days ... More >>
The Sablans channeled Hannibal Lecter. This morning's guilty verdict in the murder trial of William Concepcion Sablan -- a federal inmate who, assisted by his cousin, slaughtered and gutted another prisoner named Joey Estrella -- wasn't a surprise to anyone familiar with even the barest details o ... More >>
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales walked the buttoned-down halls of the U.S. Penitentiary Administrative Maximum in Florence yesterday, then announced that all was super at the federal supermax. No need for more staff or monitoring at the high-tech prison, a repository of terrorists and superfiends. ... More >>
Casey Holden was sixteen years old when he got locked up on juvenile drug and theft charges. A series of problems while serving his time, including two assaults and cutting off his ankle bracelet when he was almost done, has kept him behind bars most of the last decade. For the past four years, he's ... More >>
President Dubya wants to send more troops to Iraq, but he doesn't seem to be paying much attention to federal employees who say we need more boots on the ground right here --— specifically, more correctional officers in federal prisons, where the level of assaults is rising as staffing rosters ... More >>
According to a recent U.S. Department of Justice study, more than half of all state prisoners in America reported some kind of mental health problem last year. At least one in every five inmates in Colorado's prison system is seriously mentally ill -- and, as this week's cover story, "Head Games," m ... 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?
Eric Reynolds was thirteen the last time he tasted freedom.
Who knew Shakespeare was so good at rehabilitation?
A Man Out of Time
The monks have moved on, but it's another vintage year in Cañon City.
Pen and stink in the Jeffco jail.
Inmate suicides put the spotlight on medical care at Colorado's supermax.
The cost of sending money to prisoners just went up -- way up.
A lawsuit claims brutal treatment of prisoners after last year's riot.
Did prison officials look the other way while a guard's fetish turned violent?
Inside the feds’ war on the country’s deadliest prison gang: 16 murders, 21 death-penalty cases, and snitches galore.
How do you break a high-security hunger strike? Put a lid on it.
From the week of January 13, 2005
From the week of January 6, 2005
Life in prison can be a riot.
Shipping inmates to private prisons is Colorado's cheap solution to overcrowding and violence. But so far, it's cost plenty.