Exec Dir of Colo Prisons Murdered Last Night

A truly visionary man, Tom Clements, is dead. Tom was known for many things, including his anti death penalty/anti solitary confinement stances. No one knows yet who murdered him at his own front door.

A gunman shot and killed Tom Clements, the executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections, at his home in Monument, Colorado last night.

Police said the shooting took place after Clements opened the front door of his house at 17420 Colonial Park Drive at approximately 8:30 p.m.

A suspect had not been apprehended as of the moment.

El Paso County Sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Jeff Kramer said they are looking for the public’s help in their search for a car that was spotted near Clements home by a neighbor, at Colonial Park Drive and Scarsborogh Park. First it was empty with a light on inside and then someone apparently got in and drove away. Those observations were made before and after the 911 call came in about Clements’ murder. The car was described as an older model, boxy-type car like a Lincoln, but not necessarily a Lincoln. It was either black or dark in color, very shiny and had 2 doors.

Mr. Clements, father and husband, was not active in the recent small steps to better gun control in Colorado, and was insistent on helping to overturn the mandatory death penalty in certain cases, was insistent about the inhumanity of keeping people in solitary confinement for months and years on end, {for instance, one Co prison has nearly 1000 solitary confinement cells– the general public often thinks of s.c. cells as maybe a handful in a prison. That is not the reality].

Mr. Clements was also a tender to many of the families of the incarcerated, often speaking with them, giving them encouragement to wait for their loved one who was incarcerated. He supported real programs for work and education that would truly serve a person once they were released from prison. He made sure that people released from prison during his less than two year tenure in Colorado, were prepared for how it would be ‘out there’ and that those with mental illness were well supplied with contacts pre-made and the medicines they needed.

His many many staff people were weeping and weeping in disbelief today. Mr. Clements by accounts was gifted in speaking across what was often a divide in prisons, between those incarcerated and those who were staff.

Governor Hickenlooper and others wept on camera speaking today about the murder of Mr. Clements.

There is much speculation as to who did this, including the relatives of someone denied parole a few weeks ago. We’ll have to wait. So far, little is for certain other than that a good and gifted man is dead.

Here is the Governor’s letter to all staff across the State of Colorado

Letter From Gov. John Hickenlooper

The following is the complete statement emailed by Gov. John Hickenlooper addressing the case:

March 20,2013

To: Employees of the Department of Corrections

Last night, Tom Clements was killed at his home in Monument. I can hardly believe it, let alone write words to describe it.

As your Executive Director, he helped change and improve DOC in two years more than most people could do in eight years. He was unfailingly kind and thoughtful, and sought the “good” in any situation. As you all know, in corrections that is not easy.

We have no more details than that. I am so sad. I have never worked with a better person than Tom, and I can’t imagine our team without him.

Tom regularly spoke of your professionalism and dedication to the department. It is during times like this that we must stand together to meet the Department’s public safety mission and to honor Tom’s memory.

I know that you all join me in sending prayers and support to Tom’s wife, Lisa, their two daughters and their family. For the next few days, please allow them to grieve with their family in private.

With all our heart,
John

Author: DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

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