A Not-Really-Very-Much-Security Prison

October 2005

I wrote about the "minimum security" prison in Golden a few months back when a guy with the same name as my father -- almost -- "escaped" (and by "escaped," I mean, "walked himself right out the front gate") from the facility. This isn't the first time that somebody "escaped" from the Golden facility, and apparently it won't be the last. From 9News.com:

State and local law enforcement officers are looking for a 39-year-old inmate who walked out of a minimum custody prison in Golden Monday. The inmate is Richard LaCoursiere. He is described as a white man, five feet, nine inches tall and 195 pounds. He has brown eyes and is bald with a long, droopy brown mustache. He's in prison for a second-degree kidnapping and menacing conviction out of Gunnison County. He entered prison in 1998. The Colorado Department of Corrections is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the capture of LaCoursiere.

[LONG PAUSE] Okay, seriously - what's going on here? Apparently this is no big deal, because it happens about once a month, but if you are supposed to be in prison...why is it so easy to leave? Colorado is facing budgetary constraints, particularly in the prison system, so if we are only going to make a half-assed attempt to keep people incarcerated in this Golden facility, why not just cut more money and get rid of guards altogether? Let's put minimum-security prisoners on the honor system and politely ask them to please serve their time and not leave. Better yet, let's just close it down altogether and ask criminals who would otherwise be "incarcerated" here to just promise not to commit any more crimes and do better next time. Wouldn't that make more sense than sentencing people to a prison that they can - and do - just walk out of? If nothing else, I'd like to see them just stop calling this Golden facility a "minimum security" prison. Let's not sugarcoat it anymore. This place is nothing more than some buildings with half of a fence; it's like a farm without the chickens. Maybe give it a cool name, like "Golden Villas," but one way or another let's stop calling it a prison. If you can walk out the door once a month, it's not a prison. The old lady that lives next door to me only walks outside once a month -- does that mean she lives in a "prison?" Let's just call it what it is: a not-really-very-much-security prison. It wouldn't make me feel any safer, but at least I know what to expect.

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