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Located in Canon City, the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility, shown here in a Dec. 9, 2020, photo, is the state’s oldest prison. Built in 1871, it preceded the state’s admission to the Union by five years. (Mike Sweeney, Special to The Colorado Sun)

Four Colorado prison inmates have died since Wednesday after apparently contracting COVID-19, bringing the total number of prisoners in the state whose deaths have been linked to the coronavirus to 24. 

The new fatalities come even as active coronavirus cases in Colorado Department of Corrections facilities are decreasing after a spike that matched the worst period of COVID-19 in the state. 

The new deaths linked to the disease include:

  • A 62-year-old inmate who was being housed at the Bent County Correctional Facility. The prisoner died on Wednesday at UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central in Colorado Springs where they were taken on Dec. 6 with COVID-19 symptoms.
  • A 57-year-old inmate who was being housed at the Four Mile Correctional Facility. The prisoner died on Thursday at the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility infirmary after being treated for their COVID-19 symptoms at two different hospitals starting on Dec. 7.
  • A 62-year-old inmate who was being housed at the Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility. The prisoner died on Thursday at Kindred Hospital Aurora where they were taken after being treated at Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo.
  • A 57-year-old inmate who was being housed at the Arrowhead Correctional Center. The prisoner died on Saturday at Penrose Hospital in Colorado Springs where they were taken on Dec. 12 with COVID-19 symptoms.

The latest from the coronavirus outbreak in Colorado:

  • MAP: Cases and deaths in Colorado.
  • TESTINGHere’s where to find a community testing site. The state is now encouraging anyone with symptoms to get tested.
  • VACCINE HOTLINE: Get up-to-date information.


The Colorado Department of Corrections has declined to say whether the inmates who died with suspected COVID-19 infections ever tested positive for the disease, citing federal health privacy laws. But a state outbreak database indicates they all have tested positive for the disease.

Prison officials have also declined to release the names and genders of the inmates who have died. 

More than 7,000 Colorado prison inmates have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic reached the state in March. As of Monday, 844 of those inmates had active infections. 

There were more than 1,500 active coronavirus cases among Colorado prison inmates at the beginning of December.

Colorado’s prison population capacity is 17,621.

More than 1,200 CDOC staff have also tested positive for the virus.

Gov. Jared Polis and his Colorado Department of Corrections have been sued by the ACLU of Colorado over coronavirus conditions in the state’s prisons. 

While the Polis administration’s initial vaccine distribution plans called for prisoners to be moved toward the front of the line, prison inmates are now considered to be the same as the rest of the state’s population and won’t get preferential access because they are incarcerated. 

The Colorado Sun —

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Jesse Paul is a Denver-based political reporter and editor at The Colorado Sun, covering the state legislature, Congress and local politics. He is the author of The Unaffiliated newsletter and also occasionally fills in on breaking news coverage.

A Colorado College graduate, Jesse worked at The Denver Post from June 2014 until July 2018, when he joined The Sun. He was also an intern at The Gazette in Colorado Springs and The News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware, his hometown.

Jesse has won awards for long form feature writing, public service reporting, sustained coverage and deadline news reporting.

Email: Twitter: @jesseapaul