Buena Vista Correctional Complex has been recruiting staff from Puerto Rico and other places outside Colorado to fill high vacancies. While this program is an admirable effort to make facilities safer, its execution has been problematic.
Staff living in the facility have faced a number of challenges, including poor living conditions, invasions of privacy, and discrimination against Spanish speaking staff.
Recently, a WINS member spoke out about how he was being treated living in the facility. Upon seeing the news, CDOC Executive Director Stancil reached out to Colorado WINS about what was going on in BVCC.
Colorado WINS members met with Director Stancil about the state of facility living conditions, and he committed to address the situation.
Since then, shakedowns have stopped, privacy and maintenance has improved, and an investigation is underway by the Office of Inspector General. Bay doors have been added, but workers don’t have keys yet. It’s clear we need a more sustainable long term solution.
Director Stancil’s commitment to address workers’ treatment within the facility is promising, and we hope he continues to work with Colorado WINS to improve living conditions and fill staffing shortages.
The bigger picture of long-term housing for workers recruited from out of state is still a work in progress, but with proper resources, CDOC and Colorado WINS can collaborate on a fair solution.
We hope the state legislature will see how critical it is to invest in long term fiscal solutions for our public services. We need to recruit and retain state employees, or we can’t serve the public properly. But we also need to treat staff fairly, and make sure they have decent living conditions.