Long-term solitary confinement is now a thing of the past in Colorado prisons. Such changes in cruel and unusual punishment practices are long overdue.
Colorado Still Uses Short-Term Solitary Confinement
This was revealed by officials of the Colorado Department of Corrections following a five-year effort for change. Rick Raemisch, executive director of the state’s department of prisons, said the agency spent the entire 2017 year removing long-term solitary confinement.
To this extent, prison inmates being punished for behavioral infractions can be committed to short-term solitary confinement. Even then, this disciplinary segregation is temporary and cannot exceed 15 days in the restrictive housing environment.
CDOC began easing off on prolonged solitary confinement by cancelling 23-hour lockdown in 2013.
Programs Implemented in Place of Long-Term Solitary Confinement
The state’s prison administrators have finally achieved their goal of eliminating extended solitary confinements.
Beginning 2017, the DOC also worked to increase collaboration with community agencies in order to fashion programs that will benefit inmates. Parts of these community partnerships include re-entry programs for former prison inmates.
The re-entry programs will create opportunities for released inmates to obtain decent jobs, secure good housing, and reduce recidivism.
To underscore this drive, the Colorado DOC entered into a community partnership agreement with Special Olympics. This is essentially to create several fundraising events that will benefit inmates’ welfare in various ways.
CDOC staff, with the help of facility coordinators, have marshaled fundraisers to the point of raising up to $29,323 for the Special Olympics.
Community Partnerships Help Inmates Reintegrate with Society
This is a great opportunity for inmates expecting release to be gainfully employed, since most employers do not like employing ex-convicts.
There is also the Parents on a Mission community partnership program where incarcerated parents can obtain needed help. The program helps imprisoned parents set positive examples for their children and be positive about their futures.
Prison parents who successfully complete this program are included in family reunification events held after completion.