El Paso County Jail, Colorado Springs, Colorado
April 2, 2020

In an effort to try and quell the spread of COVID-19, Sheriff’s deputies have imposed a new set of restrictions on prisoners at El Paso County Jail. The new rules come as COVID-19 has continued to spread in jails, detention centers and prisons across the United States. Currently in El Paso County Jail, there are at least 17 prisoners in isolation out of precaution. None have tested positive for COVID-19. Eight El Paso County sheriff’s deputies have tested positive for the virus, including three deputies who work in the jail.

After being informed of the restrictions, an argument and disturbance between deputies and prisoners ensued around one of the new restrictions that forces prisoners to eat on their bunks, instead of in the usual common areas.  In response, deputies made an “all-hands” call for help, activating the Special Response Team. They claimed that prisoners were covering their faces and hands with cloths, an indication, they say, of potential rioting. After about two hours, the situation calmed down. No prisoners or deputies were injured. Nine prisoners who were labeled instigators were given in-house disciplinary charges of attempted riot and deviant or delinquent behavior and transferred to a different ward in the jail.

According to jail Deputy Kevin Cross, who reported to work the next morning, “I could visually see the tension in the ward…The common consensus between the inmates was they felt they were being punished for doing nothing wrong and felt disrespected for being told they need to eat on their bunks, and they would ‘turn up’ [acting disruptive] if they had to eat on their beds.”

Citations:

Riot threatened at El Paso County jail to virus restrictions“, Colorado Springs Indy, April 6, 2020

 

Article published: 4/9/2020
Header photo source: Colorado Springs Indy