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Jan 4, 2011 3:29 PM by Andy Koen

Prison murders tie record last year

The Colorado Department of Corrections recorded a record tying three murders of inmates in one year last year.

The most recent murder was that of James Schneider, 34, of Lamar. He who was killed by another convict on Thursday at the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility, also known as Old Max, a medium security prison in Canon City.

Schneider was serving a 3 year sentence for forgery and escape and would have been eligible for parole in April.

"It is unusual that we've had, in the last fiscal year, we had 3 homicides in the department," said DOC spokesperson Katherine Sanguinetti.

She believes the increase in violence is due to the fact that the state needed to house higher risk inmates in lower security prisons because of a lack of space.

"Last year we had a lot of close custody inmates, that is the step below maximum custody, that were in medium custody facilities because we don't have enough close custody facilities."

She went on to say that the opening of the new maximum security tower at the Centennial Facility at the East Canon Correctional Complex allowed the department to move their most violent and destructive inmates into higher security cells.

That change is expected to lower the rate of violence acts within the prison system as a whole over the next year.

A suspect has been identified in Schneider's murder and he is currently segregated from the rest of the prison population. The man's name will be made public once charges are filed by the Fremont County District Attorney.

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