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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.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Mesa County Funds Meth Project

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. — A regional study of methamphetamine use and related crimes is under way that will help quantify the problem in Garfield County. Results will also direct the efforts of a newly formed task force headed up by the District Attorney's Office.

Students from Grand Junction's Mesa State College are combing through court records in Mesa, Delta, Garfield and Montrose counties to determine just how much the courts are impacted by meth. The data will be used by the task forces to determine the extent of the meth problem, said Assistant District Attorney Jeff Cheney. Data collected from court records and interviews with jail inmates will identify the frequency of meth-related crime in the counties.

Monday, the Garfield County commissioners voted to contribute $2,200 to the study. The District Attorney's Office has already contributed $800. Cheney has also applied for a $3,000 El Pomar Foundation grant to fund the study.

"There's ample anecdotal information that it's a problem here, but we don't have empirical data," Cheney said.

Cheney estimated 50 percent of the cases in felony court in the 9th Judicial District, which encompasses Garfield, Pitkin and Rio Blanco counties, "have meth as an ingredient."

Michael Gizzi, associate professor of criminal justice and political science at Mesa State, who is in charge of the study, said meth-related crime in Mesa County is about 86 percent of the felony cases that come up in District Court.

Gizzi's students will provide data and analysis "to measure the impact of meth on the criminal justice system and the community in general," he said.
Glenwood Springs PI Article

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