Letter to the Editor – Prowers County Jail

Letters to the Editor (1)

Dear Editor and People of Prowers County,

I am writing to let the citizens of Prowers County know what is going on in their county jail. Everyone should be aware of the injustices that are kept silenced in their community. I was recently an inmate at the Prowers County jail for a minimal amount of time. The treatment I and other inmates experienced in the few days I was there was frankly unbelievable. This disrespect is not only directed towards the inmates but towards their families that visit this facility as well.

Inmates are allowed visitation twice a month for 30 minutes. My brother, who is currently incarcerated in Prowers County jail, and I received visitation on Monday, September 16, 2013. I was visiting my mother who is a victim of Alzheimer’s. The jail was made aware of her condition prior to our incarceration. My brother was visiting his wife and children. Our visitation was ended early with the jailer’s untimely interruption for no other reason than to boast control. The jailer was rude to the children and belittled them when they asked what was happening. My mother, in her condition, was made to feel confused and distraught because the jailer felt it necessary to abuse her authority. Another inmate was also receiving visitation with his mother during this time. This inmate’s mother is disrespected at every visit. She is confined to a wheel chair. Yet her wheelchair is not allowed in the visitation room.

Our elders are our foundation and our children are our future. They are meant to be cherished and valued not mistreated. Especially not by those in positions of power who are supposed ot be leaders in our community.

My brother and I filed a grievance letter (formal complaint) to the Sheriff regarding the jailer’s behavior and disrespect to our family during visitation. We asked for nothing more than an apology to our family and to be able to finish our visit that ended so abruptly. I am no longer incarcerated, by my brother still awaits even an acknowledgement that the grievance letter was even received by the Sheriff. My brother, I, and other inmates faced retaliation for filing this complaint.

On Wednesday, September 18, 2013 (the day the Sheriff should have received the grievance letter), the inmates were served spoiled tuna and a slice of bread for dinner. The portion would not have been enough to feed a small child. The food smelled sour and appeared rotten. The inmates would have become very ill or worse had they eaten this meal. The inmates refused dinner and consequently were put into lockdown not for a specified amount of time but until the Sheriff decides to let them out. The jailer on duty was asked if he would feed that meal to his dog. The jailer’s response was NO. So how to the jailers expect the inmates to eat a meal even they consider unfit for an animal? Inmates are either paying their debt to society or are waiting, presumably innocent, for court. They are human. The punishment by brother, I, and the other inmates endured for refusing a meal unfit for consumption is completely ridiculous and inhumane.

Today is Monday, September 23, 2013. My brother and a few other inmates are still in lockdown for refusing a meal. They are being accused of conspiring not to self induce food poisoning. They are being labeled as ring leaders. How asinine is that?

This letter is not intended to speak for my brother and myself alone but to enlighten the citizens of Prowers County to the simple fact that our elected officials are condoning the violation of civil rights to inmates and their families. The incident is one of many that has occurred and has been kept silent in fear of retaliation to incarcerated loved ones.

My family stands together refusing to keep silent. Our elders taught us to stand for our beliefs to make a better future for our children, which in turn better our community as a whole. The Prowers County jail is not above the laws of Colorado or the constitution of the United States. I implore our community to keep this in mind at the upcoming elections and to no longer turn a blind eye to what is going on.


Elmer George Encinias Jr.

Filed Under: Letters to the EditorProwers County


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