Three Colorado inmates who should have been housed in higher-security prisons that had no room for them are suspected of killing fellow prisoners in separate incidents, spotlighting a systemwide logjam of violent offenders, the Denver Post reports. More than 1,300 Colorado inmates are being held in less-secure conditions than they warrant, but higher-security prisons are full, forcing a mixture of violent and lesser offenders in some facilities, said Katherine Sanguinetti of the Colorado Department of Corrections.
The violent offenders, housed throughout the prison system, are largely responsible for double-digit increases in the rates of assaults on other inmates and staffers in 2008. A possible solution for freeing the logjam has stalled. Construction will be completed this summer on a $208 million maximum-security prison with 948 beds but the state’s budget crisis will keep it closed because there is no money to hire a staff. It would cost $20.5 million to open and occupy the prison, including hiring 581 full-time staff members.