Colorado: Parole officers accused of forging documents to illegally lengthen parolees jail sentences

From the Westword:

Jeffrey Wells, a Department of Corrections parole officer based in Grand Junction, is well regarded by his fellow employees, who recently named him top employee of the quarter. But he’s less venerated by John Morgan and three other parolees, who are currently suing him for allegedly forging documents in order to keep them behind bars longer than is allowed by law. And their attorney suspects the problem may not stop with him.

“From the documents we’re getting, it seems like a bigger issue,” says Siddhartha Rathod, who also represents four alleged victims in the Denver Diner police brutality case. “I can’t prove this yet, but I think through discovery we’ll be able to prove this has been going on across the board — that parole officers are routinely holding people beyond the allowable time.”

Such accusations are fairly common, Rathod concedes. “I typically get a lot of calls from inmates, but more so from mothers, wives, brothers, fathers saying, ‘My child has been unlawfully revoked on parole.’ And parolees are often on the fringes of society: They’re in custody, so they don’t have a lot of money, and some don’t have a lot of support services. They’re a group of people who, when they’re on parole, can easily be abused.”

Rathod believes that was the case with Morgan and fellow plaintiffs Dustin Cook, Paul Stark and Jerrod Thoele. And he’s got a report from the DOC’s Office of the Inspector General to back up his assertions.

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