Tom Clements: Did the System Fail? Or Was Failure Built Into the System?

By Dianne Frazee- Walker

Tom Clements was the Colorado Corrections Chief that was gunned down and killed by suspect Evan Ebel, on March 14, 2013. Ebel was the parolee who prompted the Colorado parole director to create a new policy that would reduce the response time for ankle bracelet tampering alerts after he allegedly removed his ankle bracelet and went on a shooting spree, killing Clements and a pizza delivery man, Nathan Leon. Ebel was later killed in a shoot-out with police after fleeing to Texas.  Refer to: http://www.prisonlawblog.com/blog/colorado-cuts-response-time-bracelet-alerts/

One would wonder how Ebel, a convicted felon could acquire a gun. Tom Clements / Image courtesy nydailynews.com

According to Normando Pacheco, Stevie Marie Anne Vigil’ s defense attorney, Vigil, the 22-year old woman accused of purchasing a Smith & Wesson hand gun for Ebel, says she was threatened by Ebel to buy him the gun or else…..

The handgun was purchased March 6 and Tom Clements was shot on March 14.

Vigil is out on $25,000 bail and charged with illegally purchasing a gun and enabling Ebel to obtain a gun. She is scheduled for a four day trial Aug. 12.

Clements would still be alive if it wasn’t for a clerical error and an ineffective bracelet monitoring procedure. Ebel known as “Evil Ebel” in prison was released four years early. Clements was killed five days later.

Before the incident, Evil Ebel spent most of his adult life in prison and much of that time was spent in “the Hole.” He was a member of a White supremacy gang – called 211 – and had the word hateful tattooed all over his body. Ebel had even threatened a female guard with her life while incarcerated.

 The young man was probably angry at the system and retaliated by killing the Colorado Corrections Chief.  

During Ebel’s period of incarceration, he had many complaints about the prison’s method of discipline. He claims he was retained in administrative segregation for most of his remaining sentence because of his status as a gang member. Refer to: http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_23149337/evan-ebels-prison-complaints-lost-laundry-music-selection?source=pkg

Tim Hand, the Colorado Parole Chief has been placed on a temporary leave of absence by the Colorado Parole Division for the excessive number of dangerous parolees who have been released early and the shoddy way the Ebel case was handled.

Simply put:  too many mistakes were made:  Ebel’s case was mishandled from the word ‘go.’  A clerical error resulted in his early release.  Then when Ebel removed his ankle bracelet, the Colorado Correctional Department’s reaction was delayed by systemic overload. 

One question that no one seems to have the courage to propound is this:  does the Colorado Correctional Department engage in any type of rehabilitative efforts?  One wonders if Ebel might have benefited from education and rehabilitation rather than just being warehoused.