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Denver Detention Center a user’s guide

eric verlo denver detention center sheriff county jail
The Denver Detention Center came under scrutiny after the county had to pay out over $6 million to the family of street preacher Marvin Booker who was killed by sheriff’s deputies while in custody. Reforms may or may not have been implemented; the deputies were neither charged nor dismissed; and the facilities remain defiant about disrespecting your rights. I had the opportunity to visit the DDC recently and I can report the experience was miserable. While the public often thinks that inmates deserve the worse the better, a county jail houses suspects not convicts, protected by the 14th Amendment from punishment before a fair trial.

As a detainee not an offender, you are not supposed to suffer handcuffs tightened like tourniquets, left fastened for hours as you wait in isolation cells. Those innocent until proven guilty should not be made to endure sleep deprivation in the booking area as you wait between EIGHT OR TWELVE hours for your fingerprints to “clear”, waiting supposedly for Interpol in another time zone to pop a new roll of thermal paper into their fax machine.

Although a bond may be listed next to your charges on your public file viewable through the Sheriff’s online inmate search, your do not become bondable until your fingerprints clear.

If you become bondable, but someone hasn’t reached the bonding desk one hour before your scheduled court appearance, you must wait not just until court, but until after the entire docket has cleared and the paperwork is put into the system.

Once your bond is posted, the release procedure can last up to eight hours. If the magistrate checked a box on your documents requiring “pretrial services” your release will be delayed until the next morning. County workers explain that these delays are not unlawful detention but are due to regular computer inefficiencies.

I haven’t even started on the jail experience.

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