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.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Life After Prison? Maybe...maybe not..

By Karen Augé
Denver Post Staff Writer

If there is anything more risky than going to prison, it may be getting out of prison, a new study shows. In the first two weeks after release, former inmates die at a rate 13 times that of the general population, a University of Colorado researcher has found.

The leading cause of death among former inmates is - by a whopping margin - drug overdose. And the most common deadly drug is cocaine, according to the study by Dr. Ingrid Binswanger, which will appear in this week's New England Journal of Medicine.

Heart attacks pose the second greatest risk to the newly freed, followed by homicide.

"Clearly there is a period of high vulnerability in the first two weeks after release," Binswanger said..

Some experts said the results don't surprise them, because inmates have more physical and mental health problems than other citizens and often get little help making the transition to freedom after a highly structured life.

"I don't know how anybody makes it," said Christie Donner of the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition.

"One day they are in a secure facility where life is completely dictated," and the next they are on their own, Donner said.

"There is a perception that there is a transition period. But that handoff doesn't exist," she said.

In 2005, there were 784,400 people on supervised parole from prison nationwide, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Read the entire article

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