When Summit County, Colorado jail inmate Ray Wolfe reported a hair in his beef stroganoff he wasn’t prepared for what occurred next. He now faces a possible 24-year sentence for 3 felonies and a misdemeanor.

Complaining about a hair in his food could get an inmate over 2 decades in prison. Wolfe claims when he lifted up the lid from his tray and was confronted by long black hair, all he wanted was a new tray, not a longer sentence.

Prison authorities are accusing Wolfe of planting the hair in his own food. Their accusation is documented by a surveillance camera that captured a window reflection of Wolfe near the drinking fountain in the chow hall moving his hands and arms for about 8 seconds after he receives his tray.  

Could Wolfe have purposely magically shifted himself to the drinking fountain to pull out his own hair to taint the food? Was 8 seconds just enough time to pull off this ridiculous stunt without knowing the reflection in the window and the surveillance camera was recording his hand movements? If so…..what was Wolfe’s motive for the deed?

Wolfe claims he did not plant the hair. Even if he did plant the hair, does this act warrant three felonies and a misdemeanor punishable by an additional 24 years?

Wolf is being charged with a variety of offenses. His attitude is rather flippant about the entire incident claiming, “All I wanted was a new tray, then next thing I knew I was being charged with tampering of evidence.”

Wolfe’s hair-raising experience earned him three felonies, including tampering with physical evidence, false reporting, attempt to influence a public servant and a bail bond violation.

Summit County District Attorney Bruce Brown has a personal explanation of why Wolfe deserves to be punished to the fullest for his alleged hair-brained scheme. Brown’s theory of why Wolfe’s offense is serious is because Wolf’s allegation insults the integrity of Summit County government. He believes Wolfe committed a fraudulent crime that should be swiftly disciplined. Brown argues the real crime is not the actual feat of placing the hair in his meal, he affirms, “It’s making up the story that there was hair in the food that is the real crime.”

Breckenridge, Colorado (CBS4) is questioning if the cost of an investigation into the case and a three-day trial is financially practical. Brown insists it is critical because he believes reprimanding Wolf is about justice and not money. He also feels strongly about the significance of prosecuting behind-bars offenses. Brown’s main objective of harshly addressing false allegation crimes is to prevent recidivism. He also takes into account Wolf’s five previous mischievous incidents during his stay at Summit County jail.

Wolf continues to defend his innocence, but admits, if he had to do it over, he would have chosen to skip dinner.   

About Christopher Zoukis, MBA

Christopher Zoukis, MBA, is the Managing Director of the Zoukis Consulting Group, a federal prison consultancy that assists attorneys, federal criminal defendants, and federal prisoners with prison preparation, in-prison matters, and reentry. His books include Directory of Federal Prisons (Middle Street Publishing, 2020), Federal Prison Handbook (Middle Street Publishing, 2017), Prison Education Guide (PLN Publishing, 2016), and College for Convicts: The Case for Higher Education in American Prisons (McFarland & Company, 2014).

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