Colorado prison: Three inmates killed in less than four months

A disturbing fatality rate has been confirmed at a federal prison in the southern region of the state, where three prisoners were killed in less than four months.

The high-security United States Penitentiary in Florence, overseen by the Bureau of Prisons, has been on lockdown for more than two months following inmate-on-inmate stabbing that was recently reported by The Colorado Independent to have left one prisoner dead in August.

Two inmates were also killed by guard gunfire when a massive 200-person riot reportedly broke out on the outdoor recreation yard of the prison in April.

To put the numbers in perspective, 12 inmates in federal prisons lost their lives due to inmate-on-inmate violence in 2007, and the number has already reached at least 10 in 2008, according to federal data and media reports.

No data currently exist relating to deaths by retaliatory guard action.

In July the prison’s warden, Sara Revell, was given the annual Excellence in Prison Management award from the bureau for overall management of staff and inmates.

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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