Colorado: “The Unique Injustice” Fake charges and the Slave-making Process explained in 5 Steps

“The Unique Injustice”
Fake charges & The Slave-making Process explained in 5 Steps
Written by Omar Gent

The Colorado criminal justice system is a unique slavocracy because:

Minorities and the poor are charged, tried, convicted, forced to accept a plea bargain and / or to be sentenced to prison (and eventually parole, if the accused is so-called “parole-eligible”) for serious felony charges that do not legally exist.

Imagine being arrested or jailed and processed through the courts, when the serious felonies charged against you are absolutely fake / totally illegal, so by law, the charges and the courts do not legally exist. But yet, the corrupt prosecutor, the de facto judge and your pettifogger defense attorney collude together to illegally jail you and process you through a kangaroo court to aanswer charges that are not real or legal in any sense! (see Article 2 Section 8 of the Colorado Constitution).

The charges are not real or legal because:

1) The prosecutor(s) gathered information and evidence from the statement(s) of the alleged victim(s) of the crime and the police department that arrested you.

2) Then the prosecutor(s) drafted a written accusation of crime that originally came from the police department / detective that investigated / arrested you.

3) Next, the prosecutor illegally bypassed the investigative Grand Jusry and filed the serious felony charges (listed on a complaint or information) in to the defacto / kangaroo court of a corrupt judge. The judge is a Corrupt Usurper because:

4) The very moment the prosecutor bypassed the Grand Jury and filed the serious felony charges in court, the felony charges became absolutely NULL & VOID (meaning they do not legally exist), and both the prosecutor and the judge, kangaroo court is committing multiple crimes, extrinsic fraud, to charge or punish, imprison you for a serious felony, because the Colorado Courts, defense attorneys, and the prosecutor must ensure that all citizens charged with serious felonies are investigated and indicted by a Grand Jury before they can be legally charged and punished, omprisoned for serious felonies or death penalty crimes (see the MANDATORY indictment clause of Article 2, Section 8, of the Colorado Constitution).

5) The Grand Jury’s duty is to determine if enough probable cause exists to hold a person for trial, to limit the power of judges, and to investigate the serious felony charges filed against a citizen, to ensure that fact is separated from fiction, so that the police, alleged victim(s) of the crime, and the prosecutors are not making groundless or false accusations that could ruin a person’s public reputation and/or send them to prison or death row unjustly.

In Colorado: when prosecutors file and prosecute serious felony charges after bypassing the Grand Jury, prosecutors are not only committing extrinsic fraud, multiple crimes, they are allowing police and the alleged victim(s) to decide who gets snatched off the streed and illegally convicted and/or sentenced to prison or even death row, regardless if the accusation of the crime is true, false, or if probable, the evidence is lacking of non-existent.

Judges intentionally break the Supreme Law of the land, and they crown prosecutors as infallible dictators, when judges allow prosecutors to prosecute serious felony charges in a court of law, after the prosecutor refused to ave those serious felony charges investigated and affirmed by a Grand Jury Indictment. This is legal lynching and criminal conspiracy!

That is what makes the Colorado criminal justice system uniquely evil:

You can be illegally charged and prosecuted for a serious felony that doens not really exist, and you can be kidnapped and sentenced to prison by a depraved and hypocritical government that broke he law to accuse, convict you of braking the law.

You can be made a prison slave just because the Colorado criminal justice system says so.

Please go to Freeourbrothers.com and sign our petition en masse. Leave us your name and email if you can’t access the petition. Help us fight illegal mass incarceration. We need yoru help. We need the Black media to support us.

Signed,
Omar J. Gent, a freeman unlawfully enslaved in Colorado

Note: Colorado has 22 jails and 25 prisons/detention camps. Those held for felonies – without Grand Jury Indictments – are held in unlawful slavery / illegal involuntary servitude, because they were not duly convicted. There is no justification for illegal imprisonment. Human rights groups, attorneys and activists are needed to expose and fight this long-standing injustice. Justice and reparations are due.
Please circulate this exposé on social media.
In the spirit of Harriet Tubman and Nat Turner, Freeourbrothers.com rises up against unlawful chattel slavery. Rise with us!

Freeourbrothers.com
Freeomargent@gmail.com
Facebook.com/groups/omargent

Petition: https://www.change.org/p/stop-slavery-in-colorado (send an email to freeomargent@gmail.com if you want to sign, if the petition is not available)

Petition text:
Petitioning U.S. House of Representatives and 6 others
Stop Slavery in Colorado
Denzel Gent Bridgeport, CT

On May 29, 2008 at approximately 10:00 p.m. Omar Gent was driving in his car headed to the gas station; however was pulled over by local police for what was stated to be a “traffic violation”. Omar was then arrested on scene and taken to be identified as the suspect of a local robbery. The victim was shown a photo of Omar Gent (which is illegal) and then was taken to the traffic stop where Omar was already handcuffed in the back of the police car and a one-on-one show up was held at a distance of approximately 20-30 feet; the victim was unable to identify Omar as the suspect during the first show up. After given a second show up the victim believed he was 90% sure Omar was the suspect.

Coworkers #1 and #2 were not present at the time of the robbery but were used as witnesses to help identify the suspect. Coworker #1 was also taken to the one-on-one show up and was asked to identify Omar as the suspect and he could not as he stated “I have astigmatism” and was not 100% sure Omar was the man. Coworker #2 positively identified Omar Gent as the suspect because he stated, “there aren’t that many black men in Parker Colorado.” At the pretrial suppression of ID/photo line up the victim picked three other black men all with different builds and heights; although prior the victim was “90% sure” he had identified the right man. In addition, Coworker #1 stated during the trial that he was angry when he made the ID because he was ready to go home and coworker #2 told him that it was Omar.

Omar’s car was illegally searched without consent or warrant. After his arrest and enduring many hours of integration, Omar asked for an attorney, yet all he received were more questions and did not receive the legal representation requested. During interrogation, the police tried to coerce Omar to confess to the robbery or else they would throw his family out of their home. Omar maintained his innocence and did not confess to the crime and as a result the police kept their word. Four Colorado Police Officers forcefully entered Omar’s home and began to search his home without a warrant or consent; Omar’s family was present and told police that they were not given permission to enter. The police forced Omar’s family out of their home into the Colorado winter night. The police took what they wanted during the illegal search of Omar’s home. Omar’s family filed a complaint against the city because of the illegal search of their home. In efforts to conceal the police officers’ wrongdoing, the presiding Judge sealed the legit complaint. In addition, the video interrogation showing Omar requesting to have legal representation and police threats to throw his family out of their home unless he confessed was deemed inadmissible in court.

Omar has written proof that he requested a preliminary hearing to challenge the charges of probable cause but he was illegally denied the right–without Omar’s knowledge and approval the public defender waived his rights to a preliminary hearing. Omar was then charged with an infamous felony yet never received a grand jury indictment (which is required by Colorado Bill of Rights for felony charges). Due to the fact that Omar was never indicted, he was subsequently denied his sixth Amendment right (to confront and cross examine witnesses). Omar has been fighting his case by seeking justice for the violation of his civil rights. Help us stop illegal imprisonment in Colorado.

LETTER TO:
U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. Senate
Colorado State House
and 4 others
Colorado State Senate
President of the United States
Colorado Governor
President of the United States of America Barak Obama (President of the United States of America)

We the undersigned believe that modern day slavery should be abolished throughout America. According to the United States Constitution, slavery and involuntary servitude shall not exist within the United States.

No state has the right to deprive any individual life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor deny to any individual equal protection of the laws. The Colorado Judicial System and the Colorado State Prison System are illegally detaining inmates by means of bypassing Grand Jury indictments warranted for capital or infamous felony crimes. Basic human and civil rights are being violated and we will no longer be blind to the color of law.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the odds of going to prison for an African American male is 1 in 3 whereas Latinos are every 1 in 6 and Caucasians are every 1 in 17. Racial disparity in prison is evident in the Colorado State Prison System; African Americans represent 3.8% of Colorado’s population however equal 19.4% of inmates in state prison.

Like other well-endowed individuals, we demand equal rights and equal protection under the same laws that protect and shelter those who are able to acquire legal representation and/or those who have received due process and legal convictions. It is important that we act now, rather than later, to take a stance for human and civil rights afforded to these incarcerated individuals.

By signing this petition, we collectively agree that placing mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America is warranted.

Sign petition here (or email to freeomargent @ gmail.com)

Advertisements

Prisoners at Colorado’s high-security prison sue for outdoor exercise

Reblogged from: The Denver Post, written by Kirk Mitchell
POSTED: 12/17/2013 04:46:53 PM MST

Three inmates at Colorado State Penitentiary have sued the state Department of Corrections in federal district court, claiming that a tiny, indoor exercise room violates their constitutional rights.

The class-action lawsuit was filed Tuesday on behalf of Ryan Decoteau, Anthony Gomez and Dominic Duran by student lawyers at the University of Denver.

DOC spokesman Roger Hudson said he has not had a chance to review the lawsuit and could not comment.

The lawsuit says more than 500 inmates in solitary confinement at the Cañon City prison have been denied their Eighth Amendment rights, which prohibit cruel and unusual punishment.

“Except when immediately adjacent to the small open grate, inmates cannot feel the wind; they cannot feel the sun on their face; they cannot feel the rain or the snow,” the suit says. “This claustrophobic room contains only a pull-up bar, and there is no opportunity for inmates to run, except in a small circle.”

The lawsuit says inmates must spend 23 hours a day in cells that measure approximately 80 square feet and are allowed to exercise in a cell that is only 90 square feet.

Except for medical and legal visits, inmates in “administrative segregation” are allowed to leave their cells only when they are taken to the shower or into another cell called a recreation room, the suit says.

The DOC moved death-row inmates from the Cañon City prison to Sterling Correctional Facility in 2011 to settle a federal lawsuit originally filed by Chuck E. Cheese killer Nathan Dunlap, in which he complained about the exercise rooms.

Former DOC executive director Tom Clements commissioned a study by outside experts in October 2011 that concluded the “denial of outdoor exercise at CSP violated correctional standards and that this practice is extreme and unlike the operation of any other facility in the United States,” the lawsuit says.

Decoteau, 30, Gomez, 28, and Duran, 29, have each experienced mental and physical problems based on incarceration at CSP of as much as 46 months, the lawsuit says.

Kirk Mitchell: twitter.com/kmitchelldp

http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_24743836/prisoners-at-colorados-high-security-prison-sue-outdoor#ixzz2nolm0Pgn 

It takes one Shift to Ruin a Future

We received the following reality-check from someone caring for a person in prison:

To the Reader:

My friend in a Colorado prison wrote this essay. Candy is grandmother, not a master criminal, and sees what is happening. As a troubled teenager, she first went into a system that did not want to prevent crime, only to punish after its commission. 

She asked me to help her show people how the government is wasting our tax dollars and ignoring chances to prevent recidivism. Employees who don’t care what happens as long as they get a paycheck, are as detrimental working in prisons as in any business. Would you want them working for you? They are.

IT TAKES ONE SHIFT TO RUIN A FUTURE

By Candy Ra Coppinger

There are many lives sitting here in prison today. All have made bad choices. Many still do. Many come from all sorts of dysfunctional backgrounds—all sorts of abuse. We cry out for help.

The system places people in power or authority to see to our well-being. You may ask, “Are they still being neglected and abused behind the walls?” There is the aggressive, controlling officer who downgrades you; the one who uses unnecessary physical force on you. How about the officer, who, as a woman was having a violent seizure, was screaming and cussing at the individual on the floor with convulsions? Or the one who knows you are having a conflict with another inmate, instead of trying to diffuse it, keeps the strife going? What about the officer who brings in contraband to exchange for sex with a prisoner?

Your taxes are supposed to provide better medical care, education, and security. Instead, the administrative offices here were redecorated. You should see the beautiful cherry desk in the warden’s office. They can’t afford medical staff or teachers.

A COPD hearing is the due process given to inmates who break facility rules. The Colorado Code of Penal Discipline has rules that cover violations from not making your bed, to smoking a cigarette, to bartering and trading items you purchased from the commissary. Do you have any idea how many people are convicted at these hearings by an anonymous “kite?” (An unverified note saying, “Inmate #123 is guilty, but I can’t testify in public.”) So much for trying to do right if someone dislikes you.

Many inmates have no outside financial support. All inmates are required to work. The average 40 hour per week job pays $12.60 a month. Twenty percent of the $12.60 goes toward paying restitution and/or child support. That leaves approximately $9.00 on which the inmate must live for a month. If you have a civil case, such as a tort or a lawsuit pending, that takes another 20%. Don’t have a medical emergency. There goes another $5.00. Need hygiene items? What happens to the personal care products that religious organizations donate? Items must be purchased from the canteen. With little money, their convenience store prices redefine the term indigent.

Official policy says having affirmative family support is important. Explain this to your 75 year old grandmother who had her letter returned because she forgot to put the unit number on the envelope. Then, you recall the night when your spouse got drunk and loud. The neighbors called the police. Now, you can’t correspond or visit with him because of the domestic violence dispute. That you’ve been married for ten years and he’s trying, alone, to raise your two children doesn’t matter. If you can’t write him, what makes you think you can parole home to your spouse and children? It’s hard to maintain family support when you can’t communicate.
All the instability you had growing up—the inconsistency of what you could do or not—don’t worry. You’ still have all that instability and inconsistency in prison.

Everything depends on who, what, when, where and how. Right and left do not connect. Once you settle into a room with people with whom you’re compatible, you’ll get moved to a room that is chaotic. What is stability? Where do we get it?

You may ask how these kinds of things ruin a future. They are keeping a person in his or her distorted thinking. They are continuing the cycles that led many to incarceration: instability, inconsistency, lack of communication. Every time you cut educational programs, or use that funding for something else, you are taking away a person’s opportunity to grow and become a productive member of society. When you can’t or won’t provide an individual adequate medical care, is that not telling him or her they don’t matter? Are we not continuing to keep these individuals from having the hope and desire to have a better life within the legal parameters of our society? When you hire substandard employees, you are placing lives in their hands.

Ask yourself, is that shift I’m running ruining a future or raising prospects for a better future?

CRC 5/12/13

Write to Candy for support:

Candy Ra Coppinger #59072
La Vista Correctional Facility
PO Box 3
Pueblo, CO 81002
USA

Also posted on Prison Watch for Imprisoned Women

Advocates for Judicial Reform to Prevent Wrongful Convictions, Seek Congressional Inquiry into Missing Transcript in the IRP6 Case

This was reblogged from here. May 7th 2013

Six executives of IRP Solutions appeal their criminal case, where they are convicted of conspiracy, mail and wire fraud.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States of America (Free-Press-Release.com) May 7, 2013 — A Just Cause and Friends of Justice have been investigating a Colorado federal criminal case involving six businessmen believed to have been wrongly convicted. “This is a case involving six executives of a software development company called IRP Solutions Corporation,” says Sam Thurman of A Just Cause. “A Just Cause, Friends of Justice and other advocates for the defendants refer to the case as the IRP6 (http://www.freetheirp6.org),” adds Thurman. Court records show defendants as Kendrick Barnes, Gary L. Walker, Demetrius K. Harper, Clinton A. Stewart, David A. Zirpolo and David A. Banks.

After reviewing court records, A Just Cause and Friends of Justice are convinced that this case represents the dark side of our justice system. “This is a story about how prosecutorial tunnel vision created a tragic communication failure,” says Dr. Alan Bean, Executive Director, Friends of Justice.

“Anyone that looks at this case says that it should have been handled as a civil matter from the very beginning. We trust that the appellate process works to give justice to the IRP6,” says Thurman. “Court documents even show an FBI letter dated August 8, 2005 from Supervisory Special Agent Jean Andersen, Denver Division, replying to an alleged victim of the IRP case, that it was a civil matter and there was no basis for criminal action,” adds Thurman. But, Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Kirsch pursued prosecuting the case. According to a 2005 search warrant affidavit, the men were accused of mail and wire fraud. The indictment did not come until June, 2009. Trial and conviction occurred in 2011.

According to court documents, the six Colorado businessmen developed software which could be used by law enforcement agencies like the Department of Homeland Security and the New York City Police Department.

Trial records show that the men defended themselves pro se. “Our court appointed attorneys were not doing their job to put together a viable defense,” says Gary Walker, CEO, IRP Solutions Corporation. “They wanted us to do a plea deal,” Walker adds. The case is currently under appeal based on Fifth Amendment Prohibition of Compulsory Testimony, Sixth Amendment Right to Present a Defense and Speedy Trial Act Violation.

The prosecution rested its case nearly a week and a half earlier than anticipated. As a result, defense witnesses were not available to testify. During a sidebar discussion, Judge Christine M. Arguello stated that the defendants would need to take the stand or she would rest their case for them. “If we didn’t take the stand and the judge rested our case, it would have eliminated any opportunity to present a complete defense,” recalls David Banks, COO IRP Solutions Corporation.

When the defendants requested the transcripts for the date of October 11, 2011, they discovered the sidebar discussion was missing. “That short sidebar discussion implicates Judge Arguello making statements that violated our Fifth Amendment right against being compelled to testify in a criminal trial,” says Banks. “We had absolutely no intention of testifying. We were forced to either testify or kiss our defense goodbye,” Banks adds. “This makes you step back and say, ‘What? In America? This happens in America?'”

“The Court Reporters Act, 28 U.S.C.A 753(b) makes it mandatory by Congress, that a court reporter shall record all proceedings verbatim in criminal cases held in open court which includes sidebars”, says Attorney Gwendolyn Solomon (attorney for five of the six defendants). According to Solomon the statute reads, “…all original notes are required to be preserved and available in the clerk’s office. The reporter or other individual designated to produce the record shall attach his official certificate to the original shorthand notes or other original records so taken and promptly file them with the clerk who shall preserve them in the public records of the court for not less than ten years.”

Court records show repeated motions and requests by defendants to Judge Arguello for the unedited version of the sidebar transcripts, but all requests were denied by the court. Subsequently, multiple post-trial motions were filed by attorneys requesting a hearing to resolve the transcript issue with the court reporter, but those requests were also denied by Judge Arguello. “I made several attempts to obtain the transcripts from the clerk’s office, but have been continually told by the court reporter and the clerk’s office that the sidebar portion is unavailable,” says Ethel Lopez of A Just Cause. “We believe that this critical piece of the transcript was deliberately destroyed or purposely not being provided to protect the Judge,” adds Lopez.

“Mr. Dorschner (Public Relations Officer for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Denver) told me that we should file a lawsuit against court reporter Darlene Martinez,” says Tanique Wright of A Just Cause.

“A Just Cause is planning to assist with any lawsuit that is filed against Ms. Martinez,” Thurman adds. “A Just Cause feels that destruction of court records is a criminal act to obstruct justice and we will continue to seek relief from the Department of Justice,” says Thurman.

“It seems that there is no accountability when something like this happens (court records missing) so A Just Cause has sought assistance from both Congressman Doug Lamborn (R- Colorado , 5th Congressional District) and Senator Mark Udall (D – Colorado) to inquire into this matter,” Thurman concludes. A Just Cause has also made request of the United States Attorney John Walsh (Denver) to investigate the matter regarding missing transcripts, but those requests have been denied.
For more information about the story of the IRP6 or for copies of the legal filings go to http://www.freetheirp6.org . For more information on the ongoing appeal or A Just Cause, contact Sam Thurman at (877) 573-5554 or visithttp://www.a-justcause.com.
Related story: Racial Bias Is the Foundation for a Federal Criminal Case Against African American Businessmen in Colorado http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/5/prweb10693207.htm

(Case of the IRP 6 is currently under appeal – US District Court for the District of Colorado, Honorable Christine M. Arguello, D. Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA; Case Nos: NO. 11-1487, Case Nos. 11-1488, 11-1489, 11-1490, 11-1491 and 11-1492)

Note: A Just Cause is collaborating with Jabar International on the development of documentary telling the IRP Story – “What Color Is The American Dream? The IRP6 Story: An American Dream Turned Nightmare” (available on YouTube).

See for the IRP 6: http://www.a-justcause.com/#!irp6—the-irp-solutions-story/c1im3

1 staffer killed, another wounded in Colo. prison [Crowley]

From: http://www.wflx.com/story/19622431/2-staffers-injured-in-sw-colo-prison-disturbance, Sept 24-25th 2012

CROWLEY, Colo. (AP) – A female kitchen employee was killed and another was seriously injured Monday in an assault involving an inmate while breakfast was being prepared at a state prison in southeast Colorado, a spokeswoman said.

The inmate was subdued, and the Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility in Crowley was put on lockdown, said Alison Morgan, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Corrections. The prison 45 miles east of Pueblo houses about 1,000 male prisoners.

Sgt. Lori Gann was listed in critical condition Monday at a hospital in Pueblo, Morgan said. She has worked for the Department of Corrections since March 2009.

The names of the other victim and the inmate weren’t immediately released.

Read the rest here: http://www.wflx.com/story/19622431/2-staffers-injured-in-sw-colo-prison-disturbance

See also: http://www.firstcoastnews.com/news/article/275251/6/Prison-staff-member-killed-in-Colo-prison

Solitarywatch: Judge Rules Against Colorado Supermax That Keeps Prisoners Indoors for Years

From SolitaryWatch, Aug. 30th 2012

by Jean Casella and James Ridgeway

We’ve written at length about the case of Troy Anderson, a prisoner with mental illness who has spent more than ten years in solitary confinement at the Colorado State Penitentiary. This past April, a Federal District Court in Denver heard a case brought on Anderson behalf by students at the University of Denver Law School’s Civil Rights Clinic. As we wrote, “it was his untreated mental illness that first landed him at CSP, Anderson contends, and now the same symptoms are keeping him there indefinitely. Without proper treatment, he is unable to convince corrections officials that he’s fit for the general prison population.
This catch-22, his lawyers say, condemns him to an effective life sentence under conditions that are increasingly being denounced as a form of torture—particularly when applied to mentally ill prisoners.” The suit claimed that Anderson’s treatment violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment and its guarantee of due process. Among other things, his lawyers pointed out that it has been more than a decade since Anderson had “felt the sun on his back.”

Westword‘s Alan Prendergast, who has also followed the case closely, reported earlier this week on the judge’s ruling in the case:

In what amounts to a landmark decision, a federal judge has ruled that the conditions of solitary confinement at the Colorado State Penitentiary constitute “a paradigm of inhumane treatment” and must change — notably, so that inmates locked down in their cells 23 hours a day can have at least three hours a week of natural light, fresh air and outdoor exercise. “The Eighth Amendment does not mandate comfortable prisons, but it does forbid inhumane conditions,” U.S. District Judge Brooke Jackson wrote in an order issued last Friday.

CSP has an interior courtyard that could be modified to permit outdoor exercise for inmates, Jackson notes. But since it opened in 1993, the state supermax has permitted its high-security inmates only to exercise in an odd-shaped room on each tier equipped with a chin-up bar; small holes allow some fresh air from outside to reach the room. Calling CSP “out of step with the rest of the nation” — even the notorious federal supermax in Florence allows its inmates outdoor recreation in individual cages — Jackson declared that prison officials must provide its charges with “meaningful exposure” to natural light and air.

Jackson’s ruling came in the case of Troy Anderson, 42, a mentally ill inmate serving an 83-year sentence stemming from two shootouts with police. He’s one of ten inmates who have been at CSP for ten years or more with hardly any exposure to the outdoors (except during transport to court) during that time. His lawsuit, filed with the aid of student lawyers from the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law, challenged several aspects of life at CSP, from mental health treatment to the policies that have kept him from progressing to a less restrictive prison, as unconstitutional…

On other issues, the judge ordered a fresh look at Anderson’s medication issues and mental health treatment. He adopted a wait-and-see attitude toward new policies that are supposed to address other inmate concerns about how inmates receive bad behavior reports, known as “negative chrons,” that can prolong their stay in solitary confinement without a clear appeal process.

At Anderson’s trial, other inmates testified about suicidal thoughts brought on by the severe isolation and being deprived of any exposure to the outdoors. “I go to bed crying sometimes because I feel I have no hope of being outside of that cell any more,” one said.

A copy of the judge’s order can be found here: Troy Anderson v. Colorado DOC

URL of the original: http://solitarywatch.com/2012/08/30/judge-rules-against-colorado-supermax-that-keeps-prisoners-indoors-for-years/

Colorado closing Canon City Super-Max prison

Via The Real Cost of Prisons, on CBS:

March 19, 2012

DENVER — Colorado will close a second state prison in two years because of a declining inmate population, the state Department of Corrections announced Monday.

About 200 jobs at Colorado State Penitentiary II in Canon City, also called the South Tower of Centennial Correctional Facility, will be cut or moved to other prisons.

The facility, known as “CSP II,” has 316 high-security beds. The state said CSP II would be closed by February 2013, for a savings of $4.5 million next year.

The Department of Corrections cited the declining state inmate population and less use of solitary confinement, or “administrative segregation,” which was the main use of CSP II. Colorado’s total inmate population fell to 21,562 last month from a peak of 23,220 in July 2009.

Officials have attributed the inmate decline to revised sentencing laws that reduce penalties for certain drug convictions. They also credited efforts to keep paroled prisoners from having to be sent back to prison.

Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper lauded the prison closure Monday.

“Let’s hope that this continues, that we have less folks in prison,” Hickenlooper said. “This is good news. It means we have some difficult decisions, but this is good news.”

Officials said some 213 jobs would be “reassigned” to vacant positions in Fremont County prisons. The larger Centennial Correctional Facility in Canon City will remain open.

A union that represents public employees including prison guards raised questions about the prison closure Monday. Colorado Workers for Innovations and New Solutions said prisons are understaffed.

“Frontline workers need a seat at the table” in budget decisions, said Scott Wasserman, executive director or Colorado WINS.

CSP II will be the second prison in two years closed to save money. Earlier this year, the state shuttered the former Fort Lyon Correctional Facility in Bent County. The state has since scrambled to find a use for that facility and is considering using part of a national mortgage settlement payment to turn the former prison into transitional veterans’ housing.

Hickenlooper said Monday that CSP II was chosen for closure in part because Canon City, he said, is less dependent on prison employment than Las Animas, home of Fort Lyon.

“It’s not as destructive to the community,” Hickenlooper said of the CSP II closure.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505245_162-57400384/colorado-closing-canon-city-prison/