Colorado Inmates Sue Prison Warden

Being convicted of breaking Colorado law doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be serving time in the state. Inmates now serving time in Oklahoma are suing their prison warden for the right to be incarcerated in Colorado.An article that appeared in The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel on Sunday reports that nearly 380 inmates have united in a lawsuit against North Fork Correctional Facility Warden Fred Figueroa, head of the Oklahoma lockup run by private prison firm Corrections Corporation of America.

At the beginning of 2007, the Colorado Department of Corrections (DOC) suddenly transferred approximately 480 inmates to the privately run prison in Oklahoma. Since then, families of the inmates have sharply criticized the move, raising concerns over inmate isolation from loved ones.

Now state inmates are taking their cases to court, operating under the logic that convicts have a right to be incarcerated in the jurisdiction where they committed the crimes. The case will be heard in the Oklahoma court system.

DOC Director Ari Zavaras will be joining state legislators in a visit to the facility tomorrow.

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at

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