This week's cover story, "The Lifers Book Club," reports on the Words Beyond Bars Project, a pilot progam at the Limon Correctional Facility that puts high-security prisoners, many of them serving life sentences, in a room with volunteers to discuss great books. It's a modest effort that could trans ... More >>
Update: Yesterday, Alan Prendergast reported on a supermax lawsuit alleging shocking mistreatment of mentally ill prisoners. We've added a copy of the suit, plus photos of the facility and the imprisoned plaintiffs in the case. See it below following Prendergast's piece. Original post by Alan Prend ... More >>
The use of private prisons by states and the federal government continues to increase, yielding billions in annual revenues for two dominant companies in the industry -- despite a lack of solid research that America's experiment with for-profit incarceration actually saves taxpayers money in the lon ... More >>
Robert Hood.A former warden at the highest-security prison in the country -- the federal supermax prison outside Florence -- has some intriguing advice for fixing the nation's troubled, budget-draining corrections system in the coming year. Intriguing, in part, because some of the changes Rob ... More >>
Federal judges in Denver are of two minds about the kind of punishment doled out at the supermax penitentiary in Florence. While one is allowing a Tanzanian terrorist's complaint about the prison's restrictions on his mail and visitors to proceed to trial, another has thrown out Thomas Silverstein's ... More >>
There are two revolving doors in every prison system. One is for the inmates, many of whom fail on parole and keep coming back. The other is reserved for top administrators who, even amid scandal, move easily from high-powered positions of public trust to high-paid jobs in the private prison ... More >>
This week's cover story, "The Devil's Playground," recounts the ordeal of Scott Howard, a Colorado inmate extorted and sexually assaulted by the 211 Crew prison gang. But it's also about Howard's history of obtaining bogus tax refunds while behind bars, a talent the gang was eager to exploit. ... More >>
Thomas Silverstein at Atlanta's penitentiary (inset) in the 1980s and at ADX in 2007.When you've spent your time since the early days of the Reagan years in a cell smaller than some people's closets, progress tends to get measured in small, small increments rather than sweeping events. But T ... More >>
Miguel Angel Caro-Quintero once sold weed by the ton. Yes, the ton.Miguel Angel Caro-Quintero, 46, who entered a guilty plea Friday in regard to charges against him in Colorado and Arizona, isn't just any drug peddler. As one of the reputed leaders of Mexico's Sonora cartel, he became the stu ... 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 >>
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 >>
Amadeus Harlan has spent his life playing everyone around him — but not as a Denver Bronco.
Is Thomas Silverstein a prisoner of his own deadly past — or the first in a new wave of locked-down lifers?
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 >>
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 >>
From the week of June 10, 2003
They ran the toughest cellblock in the most dangerous prison in the state. It was the perfect place to beat inmates.
From the week of October 10, 2002
Federal prisoners' fight to get the word out reaches unprintable extremes.
The supermax snitch unit was supposed to bust prison gangs, but who was really rolling over?
Trapped in a prison race war, Tony Francis had three choices: kill, snitch or run. He found another way out.
Death comes for the prairie dog.
At the federal supermax, it isn't just the inmates who think management is unfair.
The Cowboys set up federal prisoners for beatings -- and blamed it all on the inmates.
Meet a truly dangerous prisoner. Literate. Political. Published. His teacher: the Birdman of Alcatraz.
Colorado's cheap solution to prison overcrowding has cost inmates plenty. It could cost the state millions.
OUTSPOKEN CONS CLASH WITH FLORENCE OFFICIALS OVER RACE, RELIGION--AND SPEAKING FRENCH.