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 31, 2007

"The Parole System is Broken"

Yesterday DOC presented at the House and Senate Judiciary Committee. Ari Zavaras, the new Executive Director of DOC, told the committee members that they needed money restored to programs in order to reduce recidivism.

By the numbers:

$41 million: Estimated cost savings to the Department of Corrections if recidivism can be reduced by 1 percent.

2,173: Number of new prison beds state will need in six years if prison population trends continue.

Source: Prison director Ari Zavaras in testimony Tuesday to the House and Senate Judiciary committees.

Can we quote you on that?

"I kiddingly refer to myself

as part of Gov. Ritter's

recycling effort."

- Prison director Ari Zavaras, introducing himself to lawmakers Tuesday. He his returning to the Department of Corrections for his second tour of duty as executive director.

State lawmakers were skeptical, saying the parole system needs to be fixed first or eliminated. They said a large number of people now in prison are avoiding parole because there are no incentives to get out of prison early and avoid the intense supervision.

"It seems apparent that the parole system is broken," said Sen. Brandon Shaffer, D-Longmont.

Rep. Debbie Stafford, R-Aurora, said lawmakers need to find ways to provide incentives for inmates to take the training and classes they need to return to a
productive life. Zavaras said he would welcome any program that would give him another tool to reduce repeat offenders.

AP article here

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