Whistleblower claims Colorado Department of Corrections breaking state law

DENVER — Colorado state lawmakers are demanding answers about allegations concerning misreported numbers by Colorado Department of Corrections leaders.

A DOC whistleblower’s emails in late December and early January sparked the controversy and lawmakers who serve on the state’s Joint Budget Committee began questioning DOC leaders.

The whistleblower cites misleading numbers DOC leaders are giving to state and federal lawmakers about its success rate in reducing mentally ill inmates in administrative segregation. The whistleblower calls the reduction numbers “overstated.”

The ACLU has been working with state lawmakers, prison leaders and other civic organizations to eliminate administrative segregation in Colorado prisons. It successfully pushed new legislation last year that forced the DOC to take all mentally ill inmates out of solitary confinement, but the whistleblower writes there are actually a little more than 200 still locked up for up to 23 hours each day.

“I don’t know if it is all credible, but the DOC needs to respond,” said Republican Senator Kent Lambert of Colorado Springs.

He is the chair for the state’s Joint Budget Committee and he is demanding answers from DOC leaders about the allegations. He has given them until Thursday to answer a long list of questions concerning the 16 pages of information from the whistleblower.

“This is an ongoing issue and we really haven’t discussed the budget yet for the Department of Corrections and this will just be one more input into that discussion.” Lambert said.

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