James Holmes is shown in this September 9, 2015 handout photo provided by the Colorado Department of Corrections September 11, 2015. REUTERS/Colorado Department of Corrections/Handout via Reuters

Even in the freaky world of criminal justice — where the high standard for transparency and open records is regularly turned on its ear — squirreling away Aurora theater shooter James Holmes in some secret state prison hidey hole is just too much.

What it does is bode ill for all of Colorado.

Colorado prison officials confirmed Jan. 20 that Holmes had been furtively sneaked out of a prison cell in a Pueblo facility created to deal with very mentally ill, very bad prisoners. In a clandestine move similar to sneaking around the likes of Al Capone, Holmes was taken to a prison that might or might not be in Colorado.

Oh, officials are talking, but they’re just giving out doublespeak.

“The move — which might have sent Holmes out of state or to a federal prison — was part of an exchange agreement with another prison,” Colorado Department of Corrections spokeswoman Adrienne Jacobson told AP reporter Sadie Gurman. “Such exchanges can happen for a variety of reasons, and revealing Holmes’ new location would ‘thwart the purpose.’”

The purpose wasn’t provided. That’s just being snide. The whereabouts of one of the state’s most notorious criminals is no game.

State prison officials say they have the right and need for such antics, but that’s a load of criminal justice junk.

It’s hardly surprising that folks representing the criminal justice system — cops, courts and prisons — regularly say they can’t reveal anything to “preserve the integrity of the case” sees how they can do what they damn well pleases with the worst of the worst that no one really cares about anyway.

Unless state prison officials say otherwise, it’s clear that Holmes has been tucked away where Colorado corrections folks don’t want anyone to know because Holmes’ life is at risk, and he may be risking the lives of other prisoners. He’s one of the most despicable criminals in the country, whose life was barely spared after a months-long, grueling trial.

Given that there are plenty of folks inside and outside of state prisons who want to do what an Arapahoe County jury could not last year, prison types should have every reason to worry.

But what this kind of spurious secrecy says loudly is that state prisons are unable to keep inmates safe — from themselves or from others.

If security is so bad that they can’t keep people inside or outside of the prison walls from killing him, what else is unsafe about Colorado prisons? Holmes is in every way a very bad hat, but he’s hardly the only one. Are others’ lives equally in danger?

If it turns out that they’ve moved Holmes secretly for some reason other than to keep him alive, it points to an even more egregious abuse of Colorado open records and meetings laws that are critical to the state’s good government.

I’m not the only one that sees this is bad news for everyone.

“The system is set up to be so secretive on the back end, where the only focus seems to be the preservation of this guy’s life above and beyond any concerns of the community and the victims,” Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler told Gurman. He raised the specter that Holmes could be sent to a state where a Aurora theater shooting victim now lives, potentially escape and go after someone.

It’s only bad news for state corrections officials. Either they’re misusing secrecy for a wholly inappropriate reason, or state prisons are so insecure that the wellbeing of prisoners and the public is clearly at risk.

Sounds to me like corrections officials and Gov. John Hickenlooper have some explaining to do. Now would be a good time.

Follow @EditorDavePerry on Twitter and Facebook, or email him at dperry@aurorasentinel.com.

12 replies on “PERRY: Are Colorado prisons so unsafe they have to put Aurora theater shooter in a hidey hole?”

      1. Have you ever complemented anyone in your miserable life? You and Dave Perry show about the same lack of common sense. Did it ever occur to you that we have enough folks in Colorado that threaten others all the time, just as you do with your remarks, and even shoot other folks, or run over them on the sidewalks, or when they see their targets crossing street for a hit and run.
        Why do you or Dave think the Judge sealed the names and addresses of those who served on jury? Ever occur to you that evil folks would follow anyone coming to Colorado to visit Holmes, and harm them? And I hope you don’t think his parents will disown him, and not visit him? Think for once in your life, and try to join the human race. And don’t bother calling me any stupid names, as you have used up your vocabulary before.

        1. frank. You’re stalking me again. Just can’t get past your morbid fascination for Dave Perry and myself. Life’s a bitch! What can I say gramps.

        2. frank. What is your problem? My miserable life? Stupid names? Threatening remarks? Really frank. You should get some help before it’s too late.

          1. Then read your post, and quit projecting that attitude to the world. You may not think that way, but when you pick on individuals, calling others names like goo man, and others you are too similar to Nancy Pelosi seeing guns, swastikas, and negative shirts among tea party groups. Try complementing some folks who agree with you, with their postings.

          2. Hmmm. “Try complementing some folks who agree with me”!
            And who might those “folks” be? Certainly not you or goo man. Right?

            Wasn’t aware of Representative Pelosi’s visions. “Negative shirts”? What color are those shirts and who makes them. I might like to buy one.

            Have a nice day.

  1. Placing blame are we? Then, in your infinite wisdom, tell me why the Chucky Cheese murderer of 4 innocents, was scheduled, after 20 years of appeals, everything from dirty clothes to poor food, your illustrious governor, that bum, would not sign off on his execution. I wonder if this governor mutt, would like to tell the families and survivors of this murdering bum, the why’s, and explain to them why this murdering bums life was more important than their innocent loved ones?

    1. More infinite gooey “wisdom” the type you find in a dime store paperback. What a noisy “mutt”! That’s the goo man talking!

  2. Gertrude’s back with a new alias, the usual trash and junk heap McLarens. Learn more? I’ll bet.

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