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.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Prison Reform on the Radar Screen (Press Conference Report)

Representative Terrence Carroll, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee spoke to reporters after our press conference yesterday.

"We will make a significant attempt at some kind of sentencing reform," Rep. Terrance Carroll D-Denver, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said Friday. He said his committee would be looking at a recent report from the Colorado Lawyers Committee that called for creation of a sentencing reform commission to propose changes.

Carroll said the state's new Democratic governor, Bill Ritter, is interested. Evan Dreyer, the governor's spokesman, said Ritter, a longtime prosecutor, "is interested in taking a closer look at many aspects of the criminal justice system," with emphasis on reducing recidivism....

....According to Christie Donner, director of the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, the reasons for the rise in inmate population include:

Many prisoners serving longer sentences.

Prisoners not being released early on parole.

Prisoners returning to prison on parole violations and on new charges .

Ritter has said reducing recidivism is a primary goal for his administration, to both reduce new crimes and prison costs.

Carroll called state sentencing laws "byzantine" because they are so complex. Lawyers and judges often debate in court how indecipherable laws interact to mandate a particular sentence, said Maureen Cain of the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar.

Full Article here

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