Today, I spoke with a client after we successfully finished his Petition to Deregister as a sex offender. We discussed his recent experience with the Colorado Department of Corrections (Prison), Parole and sex offender treatment. In summary, my client reaffirmed my experience that everyone in the criminal justice system in Colorado is concerned with: #1 protecting their job, and #2 finding the easiest route to take in performing their job. Public safety is not top priority as rhetoric might suggest.
Prison, Parole and sex offender treatment in Denver, Arapahoe and Douglas County is staffed by many people who just want to earn their living, enjoy life, and get by. So, if you don’t provide them with a level of career safety, don’t expect their help. On many occasions, we just want to obtain a quick letter from them concerning a client’s progress in the prison or sex offender system, for a judge. At first, we get no response at all as they try and duck the issue. We then recontact them several times. Next, with some slight pressure, they will minimally comply with our request for information on our client. Anything they put in writing is seen as a potential job killer, so they offer brief, statistical information only. They refuse to offer any opinions on a client’s attitude, progress or risk level. They carefully chose their words to avoid making any commitments or opinions which might later land them in hot water with a boss. For a judge looking for insight into how a defendant is performing behind bars or in sex offender treatment, the information is barely more useful than nothing at all.
The “take away” from this information I am providing to families of those incarcerated in Adams, Jefferson and Bent County, is that government workers follow the path of least commitment and will always do as little work as possible. If a DOC employee offers no opinions, no one can ever come back and criticize them. When making a request of them, ALWAYS offer them a way to “CYA” themselves. Give them a way out of trouble. One good way to do that is offer them an idea on how to pass the buck if they are going to say something. You can do this by giving them someone else, like a therapist, on which to base their opinion. Of course, this raises the question of whether a therapist will make a commitment in writing. Many in the system will not. Private therapists are more willing, because they get paid by you and want to please you. Prison officials don’t care if you are unhappy with them.
In the end, have low expectations for government workers. They are generally there because they want high job security, and are not motivated by a greater salary for quality work. While there are some great people in government, most are simply coasters with little motivation to do exceptional work. And, since there is no private competition for prisons, they can get away it.
Call our experienced criminal defense lawyers 24/7, at 303-731-0719, if we can ever be of assistance with your criminal case. Together, we can protect your future.