Alberto Gonzales was warned about Riots at the Supermax prison in CO - now 2 are dead
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This past week, on the anniversary of Adolf Hitler's birthday, Colorado's Supermax Federal Prison had a full fledged riot. Two inmates were shot and killed. The prison remains on full lockdown.
Why did this happen? Racism in prisons? Gang violence? Perhaps these were mitigating circumstances, but the sad truth is that those who work in the Prison have been sounding the alarms about this type of incident happening, not due to these circumstances, but due to understaffing and budget cuts.
Alberto Gonzales took a tour while he was the A.G. and gave a 6 month temporary budget increase as part of a 'sweep it under the rug' approach. Now that budget fix has expired and they are having issues again.
It has led to less safety for the guards, the inmates and the community.
Colorado state house member, Rep. McFadyen has been listening and advocating for the guards in that prison environment. The issue here is that the US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had been cutting funds for new prison guards, in a slick way - by reducing funds for new hires. So when a guard retires, they don't replace him or her, but spread the workload among remaining guards sometimes for up to 6 months, leaving the prison less safe.
Rep. McFadyen and others like American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Legislative liaison Mike Schnobrick, stood on the steps of our capitol last August and called for action from President and the interim Attorney General's office.
What would you like to see happen?
It would be wise for the President to look at whats happening at the Supermax. We need more staff. We need to make sure we have enough coverage for lag time for when someone retires or leaves the Supermax. Sometimes there is a gap of up to 6 months. The inmates get very difficult, and the inmates that are sent to the Supermax know that they are going to die in the Supermax, so there is nothing for them to lose in attacking a correctional officer.
(in part 2)
When you have less staff, you have fewer shakedowns and cell checks giving the inmates more time to plan and get communication out of the facility. We have already had mail going from the Prison to Italy and France involving terrorism - and gang communication, gangs like La Nuestra Familia here and in California.
We as a country observe 9-11 in a very respectful way but we often forget that there are real people who have to deal day in and day out with the people who committed these attacks. We can't forget those people working there.
We are finding out 6 years after 9-11, after Homeland Security's major priority was to increase radio communications - you know at 9-11 police couldn't talk to the Fire Department, the Fire Department couldn't talk to First Responders. We are still in that situation in Fremont County.
It would cost about 1.5 million to update the communications which is not cost prohibitive to the federal government.
It is a political footballfor the Bush Administration as to whether or not the funding and staffing is a priority for them.
Nothing was done and now two prisoners have been killed, others hospitalized. Next time it could be worse, much worse.
Remember, this prison houses the terrorists from 9-11, Manson, Kacsinski, as well as other terrorists and some of the most violent gang members in our country.
We owe it to the prison guards to provide them with enough staff, and we owe it to ourselves not to let that prison have any more riots, because the community's safety is also at risk.