Search Site

Colorado Prison Whistleblower Awarded $280,000

A former employee of the Colorado Department of Corrections was awarded $280,000 in a settlement after filing a whistleblower complaint accusing officials in state prisons of fudging figures about mentally ill and/or violent convicts.

The whistleblower is Maureen O’Keefe, the former director of the Colorado DOC’s Office of Planning and Analysis. In her complaint, she alleged the state attempted to silence and punish her when she reported the wrongdoing, twice placing her on administrative leave.

Exaggeration of statistics

The department was accused of exaggerating results of reforms put in place after the 2013 murder of Prison Director Tom Clements. An investigation after the murder occurred revealed a number of flaws within the system when Clements was attacked by a prisoner out on parole after being in solitary confinement for the better part of eight years. After the attack, new Director Rick Raemisch implemented a publicity campaign nationwide that emphasized the dangers of isolating prisoners.

O’Keefe accused Raemisch of exaggerating the results of this program. She says prison officials vastly understated the number of prisoners who suffered from serious mental illnesses while in solitary confinement, along with the number of inmates who were sent directly from solitary confinement to the streets. She also said the department understated exactly how much time inmates spend outside their cells.

Raemisch and the department admit to no wrongdoing as part of the settlement. O’Keefe, however, receives $262,468, plus accrued leave time of approximately $20,000. She resigned from her position in December 2015.

Businesses and organizations today need to have strict policies on how to handle whistleblower complaints internally. For further guidance on this important issue, consult an experienced Dallas lawyer at Whistleblower Law for Managers.

Awards & Honors
Our Office
  • Dallas Office
    4514 Cole Ave
    Dallas, Texas 75205
    Phone: 214-306-8045
    Fax: 469-729-9926
As Seen In
In his new book, "Standing Up to China: How a Whistleblower Risked Everything for His Country," former client & Author, Ashley Yablon, quotes Attorney Steve Kardell about Whistelblower Law.
  • "Steve Kardell was terrific in representing me in some very adversarial discussions with Citigroup and also later represented me in my testimony before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission."  -Richard Bowen, Citigroup Whistleblower

  • "Incredible knowledge of employee related concerns and equally brilliant knowledge of health care regulations, standards of practice. I would recommend this firm to anyone."  -V.B.

  • "Reaching out to Steve Kardell was the best decision I made. His ability to provide immediate insight and direction was very powerful, and a huge relief during a very stressful time period. For anyone struggling with a whistleblower situation, I would highly recommend at least speaking with Steve. After a 10 minute call with him, I had a better understanding of what I was dealing with. Even better, he gave me some immediate hope. In the end Steve did a better job than I thought was possible. Steve was able to get in contact with people in my organization, that I didn’t have access to. Because of his years of experience, he already has contacts in many organizations in Dallas. The entire situation was handled peacefully. I was impressed by his ability to “keep the peace”–rather than creating a battle with the organization. The reason I didn’t reach out to a lawyer initially, was because I thought it would mean an immediate end to any hope of a positive relationship with the company. Steve was able to address my concerns, and in the end I was able to continue to work for them."  -KS

  • "Never thought my career would end like it did after 30 years of service. I was part of the first round of the so called reduction of force. I asked myself how can I be part of this with 30 years of seniority. How did they pick these 90 plus employees? Now, the culture of this organization made you question every decision they made. It wasn’t what you knew it’s was a culture of who you know. Nonetheless, I did not accept their severance package. I immediately starting looking for an attorney who would take on my case. After the initial call to Steve I had hope again. He was open and honest about everything and reassured me he would do his best for me, and he did. I had an awesome outcome. Thanks Steve you’re the best."  -S.S.