Families hold vigil for inmates inside Colorado’s largest prison, home to the state’s biggest coronavirus outbreak

Family members of inmates at the Sterling Correctional Facility hold a candlelight vigil just outside the prison walls June 6, 2020. (Photo by Sam Brasch/CPR News)
Family members of inmates at the Sterling Correctional Facility hold a candlelight vigil just outside the prison walls June 6, 2020. (Photo by Sam Brasch/CPR News)

The Sterling Correctional Facility sprawls across the prairies of Northeast Colorado.

After a storm passed through last Saturday night, the families of a handful of inmates lined up facing the razor-wire fencing. About a dozen women waved signs and electric candles toward the cell blocks in the distance. Kids blinked lanterns off and on.

And after a few minutes, the windows of the prison started flickering, too.

Raeleen Woodbury, who arranged the vigil, said those flashing windows made her drive from Tennessee more than worth it. Her son is one of the about 2,200 inmates inside the Sterling Correctional Facility, which is both Colorado’s largest prison and the state’s largest known coronavirus outbreak.

She hasn’t seen him since just before the pandemic ended visitations in early March.

Read more of the story on CPR. 

Sam Brasch covers the state legislature for Colorado Public Radio. Sam came to CPR in 2015 as the recipient of the organization’s first news fellowship.

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