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 29, 2007

Shipping Them Away From Home

A crack team of correctional officers, dressed in black and armed with Glock handguns and assault rifles, stood ringing a prisoner-transport plane on a Pueblo Memorial Airport runway.

Handcuffed, shackled and chained at the waist, the inmates boarded a Champion Air passenger plane. They were heading for a privately run prison in Sayre, Okla., North Fork Correctional Facility.

"Welcome to Con Air 2007," an employee of the contractor transporting the prisoners joked after inmates boarded the plane.

Colorado convicts are being flown by the hundreds to Oklahoma to serve their time far from their families here.

The Sayre prison, which can hold 1,440 inmates, will have 720 Colorado prisoners when a third transport arrives within a few months.

"At this point, we don't have an option," said Gary Golder, director of prisons for the Colorado Department of Corrections.

Colorado's prisons are filled to capacity, with the inmate population growing by 100 every month.

Checking in for $54 a day

Operators of Sayre's prison are willing to take Colorado's inmates for $54 a day, but only the best-behaved and healthiest offenders who don't require costly medical care. Others stay in Colorado.

Prisoners shipped far away from loved ones say they're being punished for good behavior. There is some truth to that complaint, acknowledged DOC officials, who don't like sending offenders out of state.

"We're not trying to penalize them," Golder said.
The entire Denver Post article

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