Letters: Our prison rape story divides readers

"The Devil's Playground," Alan Prendergast, February 3

The Hard Cell

Inmate or no, people are still people. Yes, they may not have made the right decisions, but that doesn't give anybody the right to take advantage of others. I can't believe how ignorant and cold-blooded attorneys, prison workers and DOC officials have become. Something must and will be done! Some people go to jail for things they never did, or they were there at the wrong time, or they did something very minimal, like fraud, compared to capital it doesn't mean they deserve whatever disgusting and brutal punishment they get from other inmates. It's not right! Turn things around for a day, and let's see if they will ignore the cries of help they'll end up asking for.

Daniela V. Ivy

Waller, Texas

Typical Westword: Feel sorry for the criminal and blame someone else for his troubles. What a waste of paper and bandwidth. If I wanted to get a shady hand job, date an AIDS patient or score some overpriced weed, Westword might qualify as a legitimate rag.

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Editor's note: For additional comments about Alan Prendergast's "The Devil's Playground," as well as the recent cover stories cited in the following letters, go to

"Black and Blue," Joel Warner, January 20

Beat Officers

I have been a pretty loyal Westword reader since I first moved to Denver in 2005. Past stories have left me moved, entertained, intrigued and even concerned. But no Westword story has ever affected me the way that the story of Alex Landau has.

I am horrified that in this day and age a young man could be treated so cruelly by the very police force we look to for protection. When I saw the bloody images of his battered body, I could not help but liken this abuse to the 1955 murder of Emmett Till, the young black boy who was killed for whistling at a white woman. I am mad as hell that the Internal Affairs Bureau originally decided not to pursue an investigation; where are the checks and balances? The fact that an officer reportedly referred to Landau as a "nigger," coupled with the FOP suggesting that there are now lax hiring practices in police departments, leads me to believe that people joining the Denver police have simply traded in their white sheets and hoods for a badge and a gun.

Sarah Atum-Ra


"Special Delivery," Melanie Asmar, January 27

Labor Pains

Using a midwife in a home environment may sound like a family affair, aimed at including grandparents, aunts, uncles and siblings, but I have a memory so traumatic (as paternal grandmother) that six years later, I still suffer at the memory. It was the first midwife delivery of my daughter-in-law's third baby. Her water broke, and 24 hours later she was still walking around, hoping for labor pains and upset that she had been encouraged to leave her home in Divide and await the baby at the home of the midwife in Colorado Springs. When my first grandson emerged, he was totally blue and not breathing. The midwife was in a complete panic when she called for an ambulance that rushed the baby to the closest hospital. He was in intensive care for days, and is now a healthy, happy boy.

I cannot stress how awful the experience was. The events and differences in opinions led to harsh feelings and a marriage that collapsed soon after. I would never recommend a midwife as long as a hospital and trained staff are available. It is wonderful to hear of successful births in cars on the way to hospitals, but there is always the chance that something terrible can go wrong, and I'm absolutely sure those mothers would much prefer to have their babies born in a safe hospital environment. But for those who choose home births, I say, "Grow up." This should not be a sideshow.

Libby Hess


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