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Independent Monitor Finds Inmate Grievances Not Being Investigated

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Nicholas E. Mitchell (credit: Nicholas E. Mitchell)

Nicholas E. Mitchell (credit: Nicholas E. Mitchell)

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Investigator Brian Maass

DENVER (CBS4) – Denver’s independent monitor has found that the Denver Sheriff’s Department has routinely failed to investigate “serious allegations” from inmates related to their jailers using inappropriate force, sexual misconduct and racial or ethnic slurs.

In a semiannual report released Tuesday morning the Independent Monitor’s Office analyzed 2 1/2 years of data from the Denver Sheriff’s Department and concluded 45 complaints of serious misconduct, including allegations of inappropriate force, non- consensual sexual touching and biased behavior by deputies did not result in internal affairs cases.

“This deviates from both DSD policy and national standards on law enforcement accountability,” according to the report.

Nicholas Mitchell, Denver’s independent monitor, is tasked with overseeing the Denver police and sheriff department’s disciplinary process. The monitor is supposed to oversee investigations into complaints and critical incidents involving sworn officers and deputies.

The monitor’s report also noted that the sheriff’s department has not been notifying the monitor’s office of allegations of officer misconduct as required.

According to the report, Director of Corrections Gary Wilson “has indicated that he plans to make changes to the grievance process in response to certain recommendations in this report.”

The report notes that only 6 percent of the serious grievances filed by inmates between Jan. 1, 2011 to June 30, 2013 triggered Internal Affairs Bureau cases. According to the lengthy report, the sheriff’s department now plans to open internal affairs investigations into 47 grievances.

“To be clear … we are not suggesting that the allegations made by inmates in these grievances are true,” the report says.

The report goes on to say that the grievances should have been officially investigated and shared with the Independent Monitor’s Office.

LINK: Read The Report

Director Of Corrections Gary Wilson Response To OIM Report

Director of Corrections Gary Wilson has issued the following statement regarding the Report of Denver’s Independent Monitor, Nicholas Mitchell:

“During the 2 ½ year review period of our grievance process conducted by the Office of the Independent Monitor (OIM), approx 94,000 inmates were booked into the Denver jail system and approx 6,000 grievances were filed. It is reassuring that the OIM found that over 99% of the grievances that were reviewed by his office were handled properly. We will consider his recommendations as well as conduct a second investigation through our Internal Affairs Unit of the less than 1% of grievances that he has highlighted in his report. The DSD has always welcomed review of our policies and practices by outside organizations as evidenced by our voluntary participation in three separate accreditation awards. We look forward to working with the OIM to improve upon our goals of the inmate grievance process.”

- Written by Brian Maass for CBSDenver.com

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