Two Inmates Die in Yard Prison Fight in Florence

April 2008

Two inmates are dead and several have been hospitalized after a fight broke out in the rec yard at the U.S. Penitenitary in Florence, Colorado. This is a rare occurrence. What went wrong? Authorities are not yet saying. This is a bad weekend for Colorado. It's the anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombings, the Colombine shootings, Hitler's birthday and the day that Patrick Henry, who fought in the American Revolution, yelled out about "the shot heard round the world." It's also the anniversary of the deaths at WACO. One would think federal prison staff would be attuned to the importance these events hold for inmates and put on extra security. Guess not. While not Supermax, a U.S.P. is no prison camp. It's colloquially referred to as "behind the walls." An inmate never chooses to go "behind the walls" of his own volition. It's a brutal place, filled with lifers and murderers and others doing double-digit up to life sentences. These inmates have very little to lose. Many know they're never coming out except in a pine box. They are housed and treated like animals. Why is society so perplexed when they behave like animals? Nonethless, through today's killings, the judges who sentenced these inmates had their will thwarted. These inmates weren't sentenced to death. But they died while in custody of the Bureau of prisons which is charged with keeping them safe. Today, the Bureau of Prisons failed. Maybe they were paying too much attention to Supermax' (aka Alcatraz of the Rockies') newest "terrorist" arrival, Jose Padilla and had less staff available at the FCI. In addition to the shame of two inmates dying while in federal custody, there's the shame of knowing our federal prison system can't keep their wards safe. That might not matter to someone who doesn't know any prison inmates, but for the tens of thousands of law-abiding people in Colorado who have a loved one in prison, it means a lot. This is simply unacceptable.

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