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Inside the Kill Fence Facts

Corrections officer takes handcuffs off of inmate entering Sterling Correctional, Colorado's largest and most dangerous prison.

Corrections officer takes handcuffs off of inmate entering Sterling Correctional.

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  • As of 2008, the Colorado Department of Corrections supervised over 32,000 offenders, including 22,424 inmates, 9,567 parolees, and 213 youthful offenders.

  • The offender population in Colorado increased by 38% between 2002 and 2007.

  • The most dramatic change to corrections policy in Colorado was made in 1985, when House Bill 1320 doubled the maximum penalties for all felony cases. The average length of prison sentences tripled as a result.

  • After enacting stricter sentencing laws, the Colorado legislature authorized the expansion of seven existing prisons in 1995 as well as the construction of two new facilities: Sterling and Trinidad.

  • Level V facilities such as Sterling have double-perimeter fencing with razor wire as well as towers and/or sun-lethal fencing. Like IV facilities, their perimeters are patrolled at all time.

  • Sterling Correctional Facility is the largest prison in Colorado, with the capacity for over 2,500 inmates.

  • In 2007, there were 174 violent incidents at Sterling Correctional, including 25 inmate-on-staff assaults, 45 inmate-on-inmate assaults, and 79 fights.

  • There were more violent incidents at Sterling Correctional Facility in 2007 than at any other prison in Colorado.

  • Some 40% of inmates in Colorado return to prison within one year of their release.

  • Sterling Correctional has four segregation units, in which 286 inmates are locked down for 23 hours per day.
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