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Safety a constant concern for prison guards, wardens, who sometimes confront ex-cons in public

The recent shooting death of Colorado's prison chief has focused attention on dangers faced by those who oversee prisons.

Prison guards, wardens and correctional system administrators have been targeted in the past, mostly by convicts freed after serving their sentence.

Authorities say a former Colorado inmate killed in a gun battle Thursday with Texas authorities is a suspect in the death of Colorado prisons chief Tom Clements. But officials stressed investigators had not yet confirmed a link between the crime and the suspect Evan Spencer Ebel.

It remains unclear whether Clements was targeted and why he was shot.

Correctional professionals interviewed in the aftermath of the shooting say the growing influence of prison gangs, their ability to communicate with affiliates on the outside and other factors have made the job even more dangerous.

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