Salazar demands answers on Florence prison riot

Today U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar called for the federal Bureau of Prisons to publicly disclose the results of an investigation into a deadly April riot at a Florence penitentiary that left two inmates dead.

No new details have been released from the bureau about what led to a massive riot on the high-security prison’s recreation yard that forced correctional guards to empty hundreds of M-16 rounds from the facility’s towers and left two inmates killed in the gunfire. The incident happened on April 20, a day when some white supremacist inmates celebrate Adolf Hitler’s birthday.

Colorado’s Democratic Senator issued a release today, saying that he wants the bureau to disclose more findings to him and the public about what happened “in response to the increasing levels of violence” in the federal prison system.

Sources working at the facility have said that inmates were drinking home-brewed alcoholic beverages on the yard when a racial spat turned violent, but the bureau has not confirmed that information.

One guard close to the prison who spoke on an anonymous basis fearing repercussions from the bureau, says he has not heard of any investigation findings being released by the agency.

“They would publish it. I haven’t heard anything about it,” he says. “I have a feeling that what they did was brush it under the table.”

The bureau has not returned an immediate request for comment.

Also see:

Before Prison Riot: A Warning Of Rising Inmate Violence, Staffing Woes

Federal Prison Riot A Long Time Coming, Guards Say

Federal Prison Melee Was About Race, Sources Say

No Quick Fix For Federal Prisons Budget Crisis

Internal Memo: Federal Prisons Facing Budget Crisis

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 erosa@www.coloradoindependent.com.

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