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, April 12, 2007

Bill Of Rights For Children of the Incarcerated

More than 2 million children have a parent in prison, and statistics say they're up to six times more likely to go down that same road than other children. These are big numbers that help explain overcrowding, outdated prison buildings, overworked staffs and shockingly high recidivism rates that plague corrections systems nationwide.

But there may be a way out of the hole: the Coalition for a Bill of Rights for Children of Incarcerated Parents. Founded in San Francisco in 2003, the Coalition created an eight-point bill of rights meant to protect, educate and care for children whose parents have been incarcerated. This effort has been adopted with gusto in Philadelphia, especially by the Pennsylvania Prison Society, which led a forum last week for advocates, caregivers and people involved in the correctional system to discuss how to care for and protect the rights of these children.

"A lot of what we're doing is raising the issue," says Ann Schwartzman, Prison Society policy director. "These kids really end up being invisible."

The discussion ranged from training law enforcement officials on how to act when there is a child present during the time of the arrest (Right No. 1) and allowing contact visits in prison (Right No. 5) to providing programs to educators and caregivers about how to reduce the stigma or embarrassment that a child with a parent in prison faces (Right No. 7). Read the Article Here

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