This week, Westword explores the strange odyssey of Timothy Thomason, a cancer patient who went to the downtown Denver jail in 2006 for what amounted to an expired medical marijuana permit, had his life-sustaining pain medication confiscated — and was detained for mysterious reasons after a judge ordered him released.
When Westword sought some answers from city officials about the jail's policy on pain meds and its release procedures, we had no idea we were stepping into a hush-hush area of deep-bunkered security concerns on par with Guantanamo. Instead of the requested interviews with top brass, we were sent excerpts of the jail policy manual — some of the same heavily redacted excerpts handed over to the ACLU in response to a lawsuit.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Forget expletive deleted. In the documents we got, even the deleteds were deleted. Check out these passages, dealing with the ten steps an inmate must take in order to get their property or money returned (all ten steps are blacked out), and this top-secret formula for cutting a check.
It's difficult to imagine how the requested info could be so sensitive that it requires this wide swath of the indelible Sharpie. But then, all we can do is imagine—since, after carefully perusing the documents, we have no idea what the hell they contain. —Alan Prendergast