Inside Story: Prison pay story brings about change

DENVER - It's difficult to get the chance to cover a story beyond a day. To follow a story from it's beginning to end is rare. It's even rarer to see policy changes made over a story.

This is such a story.

The Colorado Department of Corrections changed its inmate-banking policy once victims and 9NEWS raised concerns after a man convicted of murder-for-hire was able to save thousands in his prison bank account while behind bars.

Christopher Wells was convicted in a murder-for-hire plot that left his soon-to-be-ex-wife Amara Wells and brother-in-law Bob Rafferty dead.

We first did stories with his sister, Tammy Rafferty, in August of 2013. Back then, we outlined the concerns she shared about her brother amassing money in prison.

Rafferty said she was concerned the man convicted of using money as a weapon, was saving up a large amount of money in prison.

9NEWS aired a two-part series in August of 2013, outlining Raffety's concerns. Rafferty also expressed her worries to the Colorado Department of Corrections. We interviewed CDOC in 2013 as well.

DOC's outgoing Interim Executive Director Roger Werholtz told 9NEWS, "As an inmate accumulates larger and larger amounts of funds over time, I think it's reasonable to take a look at increasing the amount of those funds that are withdrawn and direct it towards restitution and child support in particular."

Almost a year later, 9NEWS got to report on DOC doing just that, making a change to their banking policy to take more money towards restitution from inmates who have over $2,500 in their accounts.

Rafferty pushed for changes since 2013. 9NEWS kept checking with DOC for nearly a year as well, until there was indeed change to report on.

This wouldn't be possible without Rafferty and her family being brave and strong enough to tell their story and ask the establishment to change the way it does business.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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