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Wednesday, May 29, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Colorado Accused of Illegal Imprisonments

DENVER (CN) - Colorado incarcerates prisoners beyond their release date after miscalculating their good-time benefits, 154 inmates and former inmates claim in a federal class action.

Lead plaintiff Arlene Rosetta-Rangel sued Colorado, Colorado Department of Corrections Executive Director Rick Raemisch, and six other directors and former directors on March 13.

Prisoners' mandatory release dates are supposed to be monitored by the CDOC. But the plaintiffs claim the CDOC denies that it is required to credit prisoners' good-time days (Time Comp) to their release date. They claim that parole eligibility dates and statutory discharge dates also are calculated in an inconsistent.

Rosetta-Rangel claims her May 5, 1999 release date was not honored because the 180 days she spent in jail before sentencing was not credited. In fact, she says, she was forced to serve 839 days longer than she should have under her properly credited statutory discharge date.

"Time Comp as a department of CDOC acts without any meaningful monitoring by any agency other than CDOC," the complaint states. It claims that the state and its prison directors have been "responsible for the willful, malicious, and reckless conduct of Time Comp from 1993 to today."

Plaintiff Brian O'Connell claims he is scheduled to be released on March 17, 2016, but with good behavior properly calculated he should have been released in October 2011.

Plaintiff Gregory Rutschman, who has served 92 months in prison, says he should have been released in July 2011 for good time compensation, but will be in prison until November.

The plaintiffs compare their case to Randall Ankeney v. The State of Colorado, in which Ankeney claimed that CDOC intentionally refused to calculate his release date fairly and correctly. It is pending before the Colorado Supreme Court, and could affect thousands of other state prisoners.

The plaintiffs in the new case seek credit for good time served and damages for willful and wanton neglect, violations of the 4th, 8th and 14th Amendments, emotional distress, and costs of suit.

They also seek a rehaul of the Time Computation Department's calculations for all prisoners' mandatory release dates.

They are represented by Blake Embry.

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