Federal Prison Camp in Colorado Accused of Cruelly Applying Furlough Policy
Denver, CO -- (ReleaseWire) -- 04/26/2019 --The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) authorizes Wardens to approve bereavement furloughs (authorized absence) to non-violent inmates at 'out-custody' federal prisons camps where there are no fences, bars, walls or barbed wire. Many of the prison camps are former military bases. In the last six months numerous 'campers' at the federal prison camp in Florence, Colorado have experienced the death of immediate family members, including sisters, sons, daughters, fathers and mothers but the Warden has repeatedly denied furlough requests by inmates to grieve and bury their loved ones. The reason camp inmates are housed at minimum security, out-custody facilities where they can simply walk away into the local community is because they present no danger to the community. Many camp inmates were trusted by the courts and probation to self-report. The Florence Warden overseeing the camp can't provide a single penological reason or security justification for arbitrarily denying or severely limiting bereavement furloughs to campers, especially when the BOP authorizes up to 30 days.
David Banks, one of six men (the "IRP6") widely known on the Internet and in the Washington Post (http://wapo.st/29jXqSC) to be wrongly convicted and imprisoned, is housed at the Florence camp. In November 2018, Banks was denied a six-day furlough after his sister suffered a massive stroke and suddenly passed away.
"If not for experiencing a wrongful conviction, I would have no idea of just how cruel federal justice officials are or would have become aware that prison camps are nothing more than a front for a slave plantation," says Banks. "From my experience, Wardens couldn't care less if I live or die and the death of my sister had no more value than the death of one of the prairie dogs that roam outside our housing units. My heart broke when I was denied an opportunity to grieve and bury my sister, and it breaks further as I watch the pain and suffering in the eyes of these men who have lost a loved one as they hopelessly apply for a furlough from a Warden that is going to deny them just because he has the power to do so," laments Banks. "It doesn't matter if you're a model inmate, you are still treated as undeserving scum and never given a reason why your furlough request is denied, but the Warden and staff don't mind enslaving you for pennies per hour and granting daily furloughs for inmates to serve other masters in the local community," muses Banks. "On the rare occasions the Warden approves a furlough, it only amounts to a few hours," adds Banks.
The new Florence FCI Warden overseeing the camp has started approving 24-hour bereavement furloughs for inmates traveling out of state. Two inmates were recently granted overnight, 24-hour furloughs. One inmate requires 18 hours of travel time, which leaves no time to sleep and just enough time to walk by the casket before heading back to the prison. The other inmate needed 12 hours of travel time and 8 hours to sleep, which left only and 4 hours to attend the funeral and spend time with the family before expending time to get back to either an airport or bus terminal for the return to prison. According to a Florence official, the Warden overseeing the camp is "conservative" and "concerned about the big picture" of him setting a precedent for approving furloughs.
"Trying to put together a travel itinerary with such a small window is a nightmare for a person and family grieving the devastating loss of a child, parent or sibling," says Lisa Stewart of A Just Cause. "It appears the Warden approves 24-hour furloughs to make it so difficult on the inmate that it will discourage others from requesting furloughs. Such a sad, inhumane state of affairs," says Stewart.
A Just Cause is reaching out to the Trump Administration, specifically Senior White House Advisor Jared Kushner and concerned members of Congress to ask for their compassion and a legislative change to BOP policy or an executive order to mandate a minimum of 7 days furlough for camp inmates to bury and grieve an immediate family member.
In the 1984 case of Hudson v. Palmer, the U.S. Supreme Court said that the way a society treats its prisoners "is evidence of the essential character of that society." "What's happening at the Florence federal prison camp doesn't speak very highly of the character of this nation or the character of a Warden who doesn't want to set a precedent for being humane," says Stewart. "What's happening at Florence is microcosm of the behavior that occurs with prosecutors and the courts in the federal justice system as evidenced by the horrendous injustice done to David Banks and his codefendants. That is why A Just Cause and former federal appeals judge H. Lee Sarokin continues fighting for the release of Banks and his IRP6 codefendants by publicly exposing the prosecutorial and judicial misconduct in an online dossier at http://bit.ly/2wBaCyJ ," concludes Stewart.
A Just Cause continues to ask the Trump Administration to confine camp-level inmates at home and to close the 76 expensive, useless and wasteful federal prison camps as a part of prison reform. See info in press releases at: