- Associated Press - Friday, April 28, 2017

DENVER (AP) - Colorado prison officials have been transferring inmates to other states without informing victims or their families.

An investigation launched by KUSA-TV has found prison officials are refusing to tell victims where inmates are despite the U.S. Crime Victims’ Rights Law and a state law both designed to guarantee that information, the station (https://on9news.tv/2ppvHFu ) reported.

The investigation found more than 100 inmates, some of whom are convicted killers and rapists, are being held in a “secret prison system.”

“I do not understand how a bureaucratic decision can override a victim’s constitutional rights,” said Jeanne Faatz, a longtime Republican legislator who was the prime sponsor of the victims’ rights law.

Prison officials have said they do not need to disclose the inmates’ locations because the transfers are temporary. But 23 inmates have been held out of state for more than a decade, the investigation found. One killer has been in another state since the 1980s.

Another reason Colorado can’t release the whereabouts of prisoners in the Interstate Corrections Compact is because it’s not allowed by the agreement with other states, Gov. John Hickenlooper said. But other states in the program tell the inmates’ whereabouts, the investigation found.

The Aurora theater shooter James Holmes is among the inmates transferred. Victims of the theater shooting have not been told where Holmes is being held.

“They’re just lying, the Department of Corrections is lying,” said Rich Orman, one of the prosecutors of the Aurora theater shooter. “In fact, according to their definition of any prisoner being held anywhere in DOC for any placement, it’s always temporary. If they were right, they would never have to notify of any movement anywhere for any purpose.”

Both Hickenlooper and Department of Corrections Director Rick Raemisch have declined the station’s requests for on-camera interviews explaining their interpretation of the victims’ rights law, but the governor has been interviewed in other settings.

“We’re not doing this because it’s fun,” Hickenlooper said. “These are people’s lives. Our prison guards, they’ve got families and wives and we take it very seriously to keep them safe.”

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Information from: KUSA-TV, https://www.9news.com

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