Since I live in Colorado most of the year and know some men in the prison system, I was sickened by the news of Tom Clements’ cold blooded murder.
In her Denver Post article Susan Greene captured the ironic nature of this crime.
“Clements learned about the effects of long-term solitary confinement from almost two decades spent in probation and parole at Missouri’s Department of Corrections. Clements was hired and mentored there by a man named Gail Hughes, who believed that, given the right opportunities, prisoners could be rehabilitated and live normal lives upon re-entering society. Given that about 97% of prisoners are serving sentences that make them eligible for release some day, his job was to make sure the system was helping them more than harming them. For Clements, it wasn’t just a question of redemption, but of public safety — to protect the public from the vast majority of prisoners who one day would be released.
“George Lombardi, the director of Missouri’s DOC and Clements’ former boss, said, ‘We realized that we had to do something with those individuals and help them live within society. What you saw with Tom Clements was our philosophy of trying to get those people out of administrative segregation as much as possible.’
“Clements had long conversations with a friend about whether he should stay in Missouri and build on his progress there or, if hired by Governor Hickenlooper, try to create a larger legacy elsewhere. Clements landed the job in Colorado.
“Clements’ fears were justified. Evan Ebel, a Colorado parolee, walked directly out of solitary confinement into society” and killed Clements two months later.