Aurora Immigrant Detention Facility: (Privately Owned - GeoGroup) 


Prison Population: 1,532

Notable Features/Incidents: Colorado has its very own for-profit immigrant detention center in Arvada (3130 Oakland St, Aurora, CO 80010). The facility is currently fighting a lawsuit alleging that over the last decade, some 60,000 detainees in GeoGroup’s care were subject to forced labor with no payment. At the Aurora detention facility, refusal to perform labor results in solitary confinement, a practice the Colorado Department of Corrections claims to disavow. The facility is unequivocally involved in President Trump’s policy of family separation according to investigations by the Colorado Independent.  But perhaps worse are the conditions detainees face inside. A complaint filed by the American Immigration Council (AIC) found that “Medical and mental health care in immigration detention facilities—including Aurora—repeatedly has been flagged as grossly substandard, even though substantial evidence indicates that facility staff, and ICE, are aware of the grave risks to detainees’ health.” In December of 2017, just 15 days after being detained in Aurora, Kamyar Samimi died of cardiac arrest; this was the second death at the facility in six months.

By Samuel Shaw

Cheyenne Mountain Re-entry Facility: (Privately Owned - CoreCivic)


Prison Population: 750

Notable Features/Incidents: Re-entry facilities are designed to ease the transition from prison life to civilian life. CoreCivic, a for-profit prison conglomerate, owns the franchise above. The facilities’ market based philosophy to healing decades of psychological trauma is curious. Inside are banal motivational posters -- “God Hears You,” “Prayer Works,” “Make better Decisions” -- that run counter to Cheyenne Mountain’s reputation as a site of inmate violence and blasé drug use. During the late Aughts, prisoners described a fake library and sham educational programs set up for the benefit of state audits, not inmate rehabilitation. CoreCivic suggests this reputation is misplaced and doesn’t reflect current standards of operation; however, an inmate died of assault as recently as 2017. As with inmate healthcare, for-profit prisons only stand to lose by offering adequate security (staffing) for the lives in their hands. 

By Samuel Shaw                 



Limon Correctional Facility: (Publicly Owned)

Prison Population: 960

Notable Features/Incidents: In Colorado we like to imagine the plains teeming with buffalo and  cowboys in rippling fields. The buffalo are gone and Instead, hidden from public view are warehoused human bodies, usually caged for felony drug possession, usually black and brown; always out of sight and out of mind. 

By Samuel Shaw

Colorado State Penitentiary: (Publicly Owned)


Prison Population: 756

Notable Features/Incidents: Colorado State Penitentiary (CSP) is the primary execution site for death row inmates. It is also one of 11 prisons in the Cañon City/East Complex, the largest carceral archipelago in the state and at 7,600 inmates, one of the largest in the country. Cañon City is colloquially referred to as “Prison Valley” by residents. 

By Samuel Shaw

Sterling Correctional Facility: (Publicly Owned)

Prison Population: 2,585

Notable Features/Incidents: Besides being the largest single prison facility in the state, Sterling Correctional has also paid the largest settlement in Colorado history. In March of 2018, Inmate Mitchell Mullen was awarded $6 million dollars after being paralyzed by a prison guard while suffering a seizure. Three Sterling Correctional officers are now facing charges after allegedly tricking three muslim inmates into praying in a cell which they had fumigated with tear gas

By Samuel Shaw

Bent County Correctional Facility: (Privately Owned)


Prison Population: 1,466

Notable Features/Incidents: Owned and operated by CoreCivic, a publicly traded private prison corporation. In 2016, inmate Dennis Choquette died by wrongful neglect, with prison health staff refusing to treat fatal complications related to his diabetes. Over the course of two years, Dennis’ right leg was rapidly disintegrating, leading to sepsis and heart failure. Wrongful neglect and preventable death are common results of the for-profit economization of prison. It is expensive to staff prisons with enough healthcare professionals, a problem now reproduced in for-profit immigrant detention centers

By Samuel Shaw

Centennial Correctional Facility: (Publicly Owned)


Prison Population: 604

Notable Features/Incidents: Centennial Correctional Facility (CCF) is one of many prisons in the East Cañon Complex in Colorado’s “Prison Valley.” In 2016, CCF staff and guards were implicated in a “heinous” and racially motivated use of excessive force against Shawn Lovett, a black inmate. Amidst slurs of “monkey” and “boy,” Mr. Lovett “was lifted by leg shackles and slammed head first onto a floor” according to the Denver Post.  

By Samuel Shaw

Crowley County Correctional Facility: (Privately Owned)


Prison Population: 1,894

Notable Features/Incidents: Multiple riots do to understaffing and mistreatment. Prisoners won $600,000 class-action settlement against the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), since rebranded as CoreCivic. “Inmates said they were cuffed, dragged through water and left to sit in their cells that were then flooded with water,” according to Denver CBS news

By Samuel Shaw

San Carlos Correctional Facility: (Publicly Owned)


Prison Population: 250

Notables Features/Incidents: San Carlos Correctional Facility (SCCF) is used for warehousing the mentally ill. In 2014 The Colorado Department of Corrections payed a $4 million settlement after the preventable death of Christopher Lopez. In six hours of footage, guards and clinicians observed Christopher’s health condition deteriorate without intervening. According to the Denver Post, “thinking he was refusing to respond, [guards] removed [Christopher] from his cell, placed a spit mask over his head, and dragged his limp body into a restraint chair. The camera recorded him suffering two grand mal seizures as guards and nurses casually chatted. He died lying half-naked on a concrete floor.”

By Samuel Shaw