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Fires, Hangings, Madness: Is Florence SHU the Worst Cellblock in America?

6 months ago by Alan Prendergast
As we reported last week, the United States government recently agreed to pay $175,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by the family of Robert Knott, a severely mentally ill inmate who committed suicide in 2013 while in solitary confinement at the U.S. Penitentiary Administrative Maximum (ADX), the federal supermax in Florence...

Life in the Florence Prison: It's a Riot

9 years ago by Sean Cronin
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 on inmates and killed...

CO Inmate Carlin Qar’Tune Williams Not Prince's Son but Kinda Amazing Anyhow

3 months ago by Michael Roberts
Update: In May, Carlin Qar’Tune Williams, a 39-year-old inmate at a federal prison in Florence, Colorado, filed paperwork asserting that he is the son and sole heir of Prince Rogers Nelson, better known as Prince; see our previous coverage below. Just over a month later, TMZ is reporting (and the Associated Press has...

Prince Is My Dad, Claims Colorado Prisoner Carlin Q. Williams

5 months ago by Michael Roberts
Once upon a time, I had a close, personal encounter with Prince. But not nearly as close as the one Colorado inmate Carlin Qar’Tune Williams, 39, says his mom had with the Purple One in 1976. Williams maintains that he is Prince's sole heir. And he wants to take a DNA...

In the Florence pen, it's risky not to join the riot

7 years ago by Alan Prendergast
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 in "Life in the...

Todd Lawton back behind bars for masturbating in prison -- really

3 years ago by Michael Roberts
We don't mean to shock those of you with tender sensibilities, but masturbation takes place in all kinds of settings -- among them prison, where it's presumably among the most popular ways to pass the time. Usually, though, former inmates aren't sent back to the hoosgow for stroking behind bars...

Understaffing the Supermax

9 years ago by Sean Cronin
The U.S. Penitentiary Administrative Maximum outside of Florence is so thinly staffed that the unit housing some of the nation's deadliest terrorists has gone as long as 24 hours without any guards supervising the unit. That's one of the charges hurled this morning by representatives of the guards' union. With...

A Supermax Slaughter Cuts Both Ways

9 years ago by Sean Cronin
The trial of Rudy Sablan for the gruesome 1999 murder of cellmate Joey Estrella at the high-security U.S. penitentiary in Florence gets underway this week in Denver's federal court. It's only taken nine years — speedy by government work — for the case to get this far, but some interesting...

Gory prison video of Joey Estrella's murder, disemboweling shouldn't be released, court rules

6 years ago by Alan Prendergast
Gruesome video footage taken at a Colorado federal penitentiary of two inmates taunting guards and mutilating the corpse of their cellmate won't be released to the news media any time soon -- even though the videos were shown in open court to two juries in a failed effort to obtain...

Fight Club

17 years ago by Alan Prendergast
William Vance Turner told them he didn't do it. They didn't believe him, of course. Three years ago, anything a prisoner had to say about what was going on inside the special housing unit (SHU) of the federal penitentiary at Florence would have been dismissed by authorities as pretty damned...


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