Inmate who won settlement after prison rape complains about being kept amid sex offenders - The Denver Post
After paying a $70,000 settlement for failing to protect a burglar from a known prison rapist, the Colorado Department of Corrections has now transferred that burglar to a new home — surrounded by sex offenders.
James Mervin says he has nightmares and sleeps only a few hours at a time at Fremont Correctional Facility, where 76 percent of the population are sex offenders.
"I try not to get in a deep sleep," Mervin said in a recent interview at the Cañon City facility. "I have these night terrors, flashbacks. It's horrible. It's like I'm being raped again. It's like someone is overpowering you. You feel worthless, degraded."
Mervin, who agreed to allow publication of his name, was raped in 1993 by serial killer Marvin Gray, just days after Gray had raped another inmate.
In 2000, the DOC paid Mervin $70,000 to settle his claims over that incident.
Now, DOC officials have told Mervin he has his own bad behavior to blame for his placement at Fremont in May.
Mervin has gotten into trouble so often that he created his "own crisis," said a July 30 letter to Mervin from Paul Hollenbeck, DOC's classification chief. Because of the inmate's security level he can only be held in 11 of the system's 23 prisons, and many of the eligible ones are off-limits to him because of conflicts he'd had with inmates at those prisons.
"If you chose to behave differently, there would be more options open for your placement," Hollenbeck said.
Now Mervin, who is serving a life sentence for breaking into hundreds of homes, has written 28 complaint letters. He said he dreads the next assault and vows a new lawsuit.
"I feel like I am suffocating," Mervin said in a June 12 grievance letter.
It may appear on the surface that sending a rape victim to Fremont is a bad decision, but there are many factors that determine placements in a system with more than 20,000 male prisoners, DOC spokeswoman Alison Morgan said.