National Advocacy Group for Mentally Ill Recognizes Work by Colorado Prison Chief

Colorado has moved mentally ill inmates out of solitary confinement

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The National Alliance on Mental Illness has honored Colorado prisons chief Rick Raemisch for improvements he spearheaded in the care and treatment of mentally ill inmates within Colorado’s prison system.

NAMI officials gave Raemisch the Sam Cochran Criminal Justice Award, an annual honor given to  someone each year who has dealt “fairly and humanely with people living with mental illness.”

“It is an honor for me as the executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections to accept this award on behalf of our professional and dedicated staff led by Dr. Jill Lampela,” Raemisch said in a news release.

The department has been successful working together and “I am eager to see what we will do moving forward,” he said.

Raemisch spearheaded widespread reforms in the use of solitary confinement in Colorado’s prisons, with particular focus on eliminating its use for inmates with mental illness. Prison employees also have improved the treatment and rehabilitative options for mentally ill inmates, the news release says.




Kirk Mitchell

Kirk Mitchell is a general assignment reporter at The Denver Post who focuses on criminal justice stories. He began working at the newspaper in 1998, after writing for newspapers in Mesa, Ariz., and Twin Falls, Idaho, and The Associated Press in Salt Lake City. Mitchell first started writing the Cold Case blog in Fall 2007, in part because Colorado has more than 1,400 unsolved homicides.