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.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Only One Out Of 23 Prisons Followed the Law (Or, why I love audits.)

In 2002, the legislature passed a law requiring the Department of Corrections to help soon-to-be-released people in applying for Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid. The Legislative Audit Committee requested an audit to see how that program was working out.

Not very well, apparently.

Only one out of all 23 state and private prisons could prove that they started to help those getting ready to get out. Gary Golder, state director of prisons, blamed budget cuts for lack of compliance. According to the Department of Corrections over 5 thousand of the the people housed in their care had moderate to severe medical and mental-health conditions who could possible qualify for support upon release.

People who had to wait until they were released to apply for these programs have to wait months for those programs to kick in and few have the capacity to take care of themselves until help is approved. By then it is usually too late.

To deal with those budget cuts, DOC cut the amount of medications that people are given upon release. People with medical conditions are only given enough medication to last for ten days. Those who have severe mental health conditions are only given enough to last for 30 days. The lack of aftercare and accountability is just as much a public safety issue as it is a moral issue.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What if I don't have one?