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, April 16, 2007

Maine Prisoners To Oklahoma?

It appears that Oklahoma is going to be the catch-all for overflow from prisons around the country. Recidivism rates are going to continue to skyrocket when we continue to treat symptoms and ignore the real causes of overcrowding in our prisons.

Maine corrections officials want to ship 125 medium-security offenders out of state to relieve overcrowding in state prisons. But civil-rights groups and defense lawyers say the plan is unfair to prisoners and their families, and could boost the likelihood convicts will re-offend once released.

The Maine Department of Corrections wants to employ a series of temporary measures to house an overflow of 245 prisoners. The plan calls for opening an empty housing unit at the state's Charleston Correctional Facility and leasing cell space from Cumberland, York, Lincoln and Sagadahoc county jails, which have excess capacity.

But the part of the plan drawing the most concern calls for shipping 125 prisoners to a for-profit prison in Oklahoma.

"It's immediately available, it's appropriate for that security level and length of incarceration, and it's also a less expensive option," said Denise Lord, associate commissioner of Maine's corrections department.

The plan is being criticized by the Maine Civil Liberties Union, the Portland branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the Maine Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

"If Maine has a serious criminal justice problem, it shouldn't be in the business of exporting that problem to other states. We should work together to solve the problem here," said Zachary Heiden, legal director for the MCLU.

Sending prisoners far from home would cut off the community support they need to avoid re-offending when they're released, he said.
Real Cost Of Prisons


Anonymous said...

Commentary was printed in a local Maine newpaper by me on the Friday before this article in the Portland Press Herald appeared. See Bath Brunswick Times Record Friday 4/13 Oppinions. "The Greatest Prison Wall: Community Ignorance.
Mary-Ellen Pecci

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