COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo - Supporters of Private Kimberly Rivera say she is living in deplorable conditions in the El Paso County Jail. Rita Ague talked with her in the jail, "She was so upset. Her voice didn't nearly make it. She had tears in her eyes when she spoke with me about the conditions." Ague says Rivera is pregnant and in the medical unit. She says the lights are on all the time in this medical unit and the food is terrible.
Undersheriff Paula Presley confirmed that Private Rivera is in the medical unit but as far as deplorable conditions, "The lights are on in the medical unit and all of the other wards all the time. It is dimmer during the night but the lights are always on." I asked Undersheriff Presley about the food for everyone and if there are special allowances for pregnant women, "They do receive the same food as other inmates and sometimes the doctor can order extra dietary supplements or other food as needed to increase their nutritional level while they are in jail. There is nursing staff in the medical unit 24 hours a day and the doctor is there 40 hours a week."
Undersheriff Presley also says there is a protocol when it comes to inmate complaints about food or anything else. They have the opportunity to verbally tell staff or write a grievance. According to Undersheriff Presley, these complaints are answered quickly. She also says to the best of her knowledge Kimberly Rivera has not written or told any staffer about her complaints.
Private Kimberly Rivera was sentenced April 29th by a military tribunal at Fort Carson. She will spend 10 months behind bars. Private Rivera deserted the army in 2007 and took off for Canada after she was ordered to serve a second tour in Iraq. She says she became disillusioned with her military career. Private Rivera also said she was never told that she could become a Conscientious Objector and not have to serve because of her concerns about the war. She was deported by the Canadian government back to the U.S. after five years.
Rita Ague says the fight isn't over to gain Rivera's freedom.