According to a report by the Inspector General's Office (IG) of the Colorado Department of Corrections (DOC), a parole officer may have changed the arrest dates on documents to keep people arrested on parole violation warrants locked up longer than permitted under state law.
When a person is arrested for a parole violation in Colorado, parole officers have ten days in which to file paperwork. If the paperwork is not filed within ten days, the parolee is to be immediately released. The IG report suggested that Parole Officer Jeffery Wells changed the arrest dates to extend the deadline for filing the paperwork.
"Parole Officer Wells' conduct is egregious. He took away a huge portion of these people's lives," said attorney Siddharata Rathod, who represents four of the parolees. "He is committing the crime of forgery and false imprisonment. And this is not just our client saying this. This is the Office of Inspector General saying Parole Officer Wells and the Department of Corrections have falsely imprisoned our clients."
Those four parolees filed a civil rights action in federal court alleging false imprisonment, deprivation of liberty and violation of the constitutional right to due process. According to Rathod, one of them was illegally held for six months because of the falsified paperwork.
The DOC refused specific comments on any action taken against Wells, citing privacy concerns. However, Wells is still working as a parole officer in Grand Junction and was recently named employee of the quarter.
In a statement, the DOC said that it "has implemented short-term measures to address the issues raised through the investigation."
As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.
Already a subscriber? Login