The Denver Post
The Colorado Inspector General's office is investigating how an inmate at minimum security Four Mile Correctional Facility was shot in the knee while at the prison, authorities say.
The inmate, who is serving a sentence on drug charges, was shot in the knee on Aug. 21, said Colorado Department of Corrections spokeswoman Katherine Sanguinetti. The tip of the bullet was removed by surgery on Tuesday, confirming that he had been shot, Sanguinetti said.
DOC has brought in correctional officers from Pueblo and other Cañon City prisons to search the prison for a gun, she said.
"They're doing a shake down right now," Sanguinetti said. "The facility is on lock down. This is really unique to say the least. To my knowledge it's never happened before."
Sanguinetti declined to name the inmate, who told investigators he was walking around the track when he felt a sharp pain in his knee and saw the wound. She said investigators are trying to confirm his account.
"They'll look at the possibility that he was targeted. But he's just an average Joe that happens to be in prison," she said when asked whether the victim was a high-profile inmate that someone wanted to target.
She said the inmate was exercising during recreational time, when the yard is filled with as many as 300 inmates pumping iron, playing team sports or jogging around the track.
No one reported witnessing anyone firing a gun or handling a gun, Sanguinetti said.
But prison culture discourages inmates from reporting violence,, she said. "Historically prisoners are reluctant to divulge information because they don't want to be labeled as an informant."
Investigators are considering many scenarios, including that someone smuggled in a gun or someone randomly fired a rifle from a distant bluff.
"They are truly looking at all possibilities," Sanguinetti said.
Correctional officers working inside the prison are not armed. Only perimeter guards carry shotguns and rifles, she said. Four Mile is a minimum security prison so it does not have any towers overlooking the facility.
Colorado Bureau of Investigation analysts will try to narrow down the weapon by the bullet fragments.
Correctional officers are searching cells and prison grounds.
They are also searching for a weapon in surrounding barns and animal pens, where minimum security inmates milk cows and train wild mustangs in prison programs. Those inmates are strip-searched before re-entering the prison.
Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?
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.
Thursday, August 30, 2012
The Denver Post