As part of the broad-reaching reforms that are currently sweeping the Colorado penal system, the state’s Department of Corrections has been making a concentrated effort to transition mentally ill inmates out of prisons’ solitary confinement areas and into a new residential treatment program.

This effort was initiated following the death of the Tom Clements, the chief of the Department of Corrections (DOC) who was gunned down by Evan Ebels, a man who was erroneous released straight from solitary confinement in prison to freedom. Clements’ murder spurred national outrage and shed light on some of the grievous problems with the state’s penal system – one of which was the fact that thousands of possibly mental ill prisoners were being released from prisons’ solitary confinement (also referred to as administrative segregation) straight to being freed.

The DOC’s goal is to have zero mentally ill prisoners in solitary confinement by the end of 2013. According to DOC reports:

  • Approximately 8 percent of Colorado’s current prison population (or about 1,500 inmates) have some type of mental illness.
  • As of September, there were 40 mentally ill inmates still in solitary confinement; this number dropped to 30 inmates in November and then 8 as of the beginning of December.
  • Since September the DOC has transitioned approximately 55 mentally ill inmates from prison to the new treatment program.
  • There are currently about 215 mentally ill prisoners in the state’s treatment program, which is equipped with 240 beds.

While many legislators and inmate advocates are lauding the state’s efforts towards treatment, rather than segregation, of mentally ill prisoners, some have pointed out the fact that these efforts are only “a very important first step.”

Denver Criminal Defense Lawyers

The authorities take allegations of felony crimes, particularly when they have allegedly been committed by individuals who have a criminal record or when they involve victims, extremely seriously, and these charges – even if a person is ultimately acquitted of them – can have a devastating impact on a person’s personal and professional life. If you or a loved one has been accused of any felony or misdemeanor crime in Denver, you will need an experienced defense attorney who is dedicated to defending your rights.

At the Law Office of Andres R. Guevara, our skilled Denver criminal defense lawyers are committed to providing the accused with the best possible defense and to working tirelessly to helping them resolve their case as favorably as possible. As soon as you start working with our trusted criminal defense lawyers, we will begin investigating your case, interviewing witnesses and compiling evidence to support your defense. We will also work diligently to get the prosecution’s evidence against you thrown out of court and, whenever possible, to get the charges against you reduced or potentially even dismissed entirely. To learn more about your legal rights and receive expert advice on how to proceed with your case, contact us at (720) 379-8262.