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Report: Denver's jail incorrectly handles inmate complaints

8:20 AM, Dec 3, 2013   |    comments
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DENVER - 9Wants to Know has obtained a report exposing several problems with how the jail is handling inmate complaints, including allegations of excessive force and sexual misconduct among deputies.

The Office of the Independent Monitor reviewed nearly 6,000 inmate complaints over a two-a-half year period. The OIM is responsible for insuring citizen complaints in Denver are heard and reviewed properly.

Some of the report's key findings:

  • 45 out of 54 complaints of "serious deputy misconduct" were not reviewed by the Denver Sheriff's Department Internal Affairs Bureau, as required by ordinance. Complaints include allegations of excessive force, bias and sexual misconduct.
  • Out of 788 complaints alleging deputy misconduct, 16% involved just four deputies (out of a force of 700).
  • The DSD is not routinely notifying the OIM of deputy misconduct complaints, as required by ordinance.

The report cites a memo that instructed jail staff not to report serious complaints to internal affairs; however such a memo has not been turned over to the Office of the Independent Monitor.

OIM's report also lists several recommendations the DSD could follow to fix inmate complaint issues.

A jail spokesperson sent the following statement to 9Wants to Know in reaction to the report.

"During the two-and-a-half-year review period of our grievance process conducted by the Office of the Independent Monitor (OIM), approx 94,000 inmates were booked into the Denver jail system and approx 6,000 grievances were filed. It is reassuring that the OIM found that over 99 percent of the grievances that were reviewed by his office were handled properly. We will consider his recommendations as well as conduct a second investigation through our Internal Affairs Unit of the less than 1 percent of grievances that he has highlighted in his report. The DSD has always welcomed review of our policies and practices by outside organizations as evidenced by our voluntary participation in three separate accreditation awards. We look forward to working with the OIM to improve upon our goals of the inmate grievance process."
- Director of Corrections Gary Wilson

Read the full report here:

Have a comment or tip for investigative reporter Jeremy Jojola? Call him at 303-871-1425 or e-mail him

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