Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Incarceration Nation

It's not just Colorado, all though we are definitely part of the problem, and not part of the solution. The Nation magazine explores the reality of the growing nationwide problem of throwing money and lives into a hole called corrections, in their article "Incarceration Nation" Although there is nothing corrective about the way our prisons, probation or parole systems are run.

Laws have been passed since the time that "tough on crime" began without a lot forethought to what that would look like fiscally in the long run. Bricks and mortar have always had a solid dollar figure attached that slick politicians could sell to the public. Selling solace to a fear-fed society with smoke and mirrors. It was all an illusion.

What wasn't figured into the big picture was operating and health care costs for those prisons, which have ballooned, or the impact on families and individuals whose lives have been destroyed because of "policy". Our children and elderly are paying the costs of continuing to try and make something work that is obviously NOT WORKING.

California's governor was given an ultimatum to reduce the prison population and the first thing he does is try to reduce the funding to the only thing that has been successful. Proposition 36 has solid research that backs up it's five-year track record of success.

We visit the successes and failures of other states to try and find what will work. We watch in rapt attention the train wrecks that are happening in other states, not just because it's impossible to look away, but because we know that we can become that train wreck if we don't identify and try to solve our own problem. Our job is to apply pressure to those who have the ability to make changes in the system and keep the pressure on.

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