Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

GEO Prison Guard Helps Prisoner Escape - Texas

BOISE — A private prison guard in Texas who company officials say helped an Idaho inmate escape by providing an envelope stuffed with money has been convicted in a separate case of providing contraband to another Idaho prisoner.

John Ratliffe, a former guard at the Dickens County Correctional Center where hundreds of Idaho inmates are housed due to overcrowding at home, was sentenced last month to five years probation, 120 hours of community service and a $1,000 fine for giving cigarettes to Idaho inmate Patterson Franklin, according to court records obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press.

Ratliffe pleaded guilty.

The problems surfaced starting Dec. 3 when sex offender Scot Noble Payne escaped through a prison kitchen door and scaled a fence.

Afterward, Ratliffe acknowledged to his bosses at the prison run by Florida-based The GEO Group that he used Franklin as an intermediary to provide illegal items, including tobacco, underwear, sex tapes, music — and at least $200 Payne had with him when he was caught Dec. 10, according to an eight-page report compiled by GEO officials following the escape.

Payne committed suicide March 4 after weeks in an isolation cell. He had been isolated as punishment for his escape.
Officials say guard can avoid prison sentence

Public safety: He will have to stay out of ‘honky tonks’ and ‘beer joints’

By John Miller - The Associated Press
BOISE — Under terms of his contraband sentence, a Texas prison guard who provided illegal materials to Idaho inmates will only go to prison if he violates conditions of his release.

Those conditions include staying out of “honky tonks” and “beer joints,” according to court documents.

John Ratliffe, a former guard at the Dickens County Correctional Center where hundreds of Idaho inmates are housed, is also implicated in providing assistance to an inmate’s escape.

But Ratliffe has denied knowing Payne planned to escape. Footprints matched to Payne, who later committed suicide, were found near Ratliffe’s home.

Dickens County prosecutors couldn’t be reached for comment on whether Ratliffe faces additional charges related to the escape.

Attempts to reach Ratliffe were unsuccessful. His telephone number in Paducah isn’t listed.
The 43-year-old Payne was among inmates shipped to Dickens and another nearby facility in Littlefield, Texas, in August 2006 due to problems they experienced at another Texas facility, the Newton County Correctional Center. Those included incidents in which the inmates were punched and doused with pepper spray by guards.

Both prisons are operated by The GEO Group of Florida.