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.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Put SB 318 On Your Radar Screen

Reprint from the Colorado Justice Reporter- December 2006 edition.

In 2003, the Colorado Legislature overwhelmingly passed Senate Bill 318 by a vote of 29-6 in the Senate and 62-3 in the House. SB 318 was sponsored by Senator Ken Gordon (D-Denver) and representative Lynn Hefley (R-Colorado Springs).

SB 318 had several components, which fall into two different categories: felony/sentence reductions and increasing funding for drug treatment. However, the legislation also set a "sunset" date of 2007 if theLegislature did not actually increase funding for substance abuse treatment. Since its enactment in 2003, the Legislature has not increased the funding for treatment and therefore, if it doesn't do so in the 2007 session, the sentencing reform will be automatically repealed and go back to the law that was in effect pror to the passage of SB 318. This is something that would be a huge backslide for Colorado and we do not want to see it happen. CCJRC will work very hard during the next session to make sur ethat SB 318 isn't repealed.

Description of bill: changes use of a schedule I or II substance (currently class 5 felony) to a class 6 felony; changes simple possession of 1 gram or less of scheduled substances to class 6 felony (currently class 3-5, depending on substance); changes a second or subsequent possession offense of 1 gram or less of schedule 1 through IV controlled substances to a class 4 felony; allows offenders—even those with prior felony convictions—to be sentenced to probation for drug use or possession of 1 gram or less, upon recommendation of the district attorney.

Requires that at least $2.2 million in cost savings (resulting from reduced incarceration) be allocated to the drug offender treatment fund for community based treatment by FY 2008. Contains substantial provisions on how money will be distributed.

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