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, March 19, 2007

OP-Ed -- Engage the Public in Criminal Justice Issues

This in from Ft. Collins. Last year, CCJRC helped to educate voters on what building a new jail would cost the citizens of Larimer County. We still contend that there are no available beds for in-patient substance abuse treatment. Tackling that issue from a long term public safety perspective instead of just building a bigger jail would relieve some of the pressure. Another factor that hasn't been addressed is the need for significant bond reform.

The sheriff and county commissioners have been wrestling over a very real need in our community - jail beds. However, the issues are much broader than what may appear in newspaper headlines. Sheriff Jim Alderden is absolutely correct when pointing out the risk to deputies and inmates when a detention facility is under staffed. However, the commissioners are also correct in stating that this is not an uncommon problem state and nationwide and they must balance the needs of all requests that come to them with very limited financial resources.

The question isn't who is right or wrong or whose position is the most reasonable or enlightened, but rather, how does the community want to address public safety issues? If the jail is capped at 450 when the population is consistently more than 500, many who are now determined to be appropriately incarcerated will have to be released. Larimer County has instituted innovative programs such as pretrial release, work-enders, midweek work details and work release. These programs have been effective in reducing the jail population without significantly jeopardizing public safety.

Ft. Collins Coloradoan

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