In her perfect world, Jefferson County Sheriff's Office investigator Cheryl Moore pictures something like this:
A group of inmates is sitting in prison playing poker. The cards they use don't feature kings and queens, but instead portray the victims of cold-case homicides.
The cards spark something in one of the inmates, and he spontaneously confesses knowledge about one of the crimes. A cellmate, seeking a reduced sentence or small reward, then calls the detective. Case closed.
It hasn't happened yet, at least not in Colorado, but the cold-case playing cards have only just started to get wide circulation in the state's prison system.
"Every card has a different cold case featured on it," Moore said.
The Colorado Department of Corrections recently began selling the cards in its prisons for 63 cents a pack, less than half the price of a normal deck, said Katherine Sanguinetti, DOC spokeswoman.
Colorado prisons are the latest to seize on an emerging trend across the country to try to tap the knowledge of people who know the most about unsolved crimes — criminals. Other states using the cards include Florida, Ohio, Minnesota, Oregon and Wisconsin