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.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

New Drug Court in Denver

Easing populations in the jail is the goal, but is there going to be money for treatment? The hardest thing for people to do is pay for all the dictates from the court. Mandatory urinalysis and good treatment is very expensive especially in Colorado, because we have very few treatment options available for people, especially for women. If you don't give people the tools they need to complete their court mandated program this just becomes a slow road to prison.

Denver officials today will tout a new version of drug court with hopes of unclogging the city's jails and getting treatment to addicts.

The new program, expected to cost $1.2 million annually, will speed up the sentencing of drug defendants, which currently can take up to six weeks, said Larry Naves, the chief judge of Denver's district court.

Details will be announced at a news conference today.

Naves said that under the new program, which started March 9, sentencing for those defendants could take place within three to five days.

The re-emergence of drug court is aimed at reducing crowding in Denver's two jails. Currently, the jails average up to 2,500 inmates on a given day, but they were built for 1,711 inmates, said division chief Gary Wilson of the Denver Sheriff's Department.

Officials hope the new drug court will move inmates out of the jails and get them into treatment programs that will help them break free from a life of crime, he added.

About 41 percent of felony cases in Denver involve defendants with drug issues, Wilson said.

In 1994, Denver started one of the first drug courts in the nation. Under that program, a single judge handled all drug cases. Low-level offenders avoided prison by enrolling in drug treatment.

Denver Post article

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