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.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

No Death Penalty for Prisoner

A Denver federal jury's decision last week to spare the life of a convict who killed and gutted a prison cellmate is the latest example of a national trend: U.S. prosecutors increasingly seeking the death penalty, with juries usually saying no.

Under President Bush, prosecutors have pushed for death sentences more often. Yet since the federal death penalty was reinstated in 1988, juries nationwide have decided on death in 56 of 416 cases where prosecutors sought it, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, an anti-death-penalty group in Washington.

Instead, defendants in death-penalty cases usually wind up sentenced to life in prison without parole.

"Juries and the public in general now have an option of life without parole, and that causes many jurors to hesitate," said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center.

On Friday, a U.S. District Court jury said it could not agree on whether William Sablan should be put to death for the 1999 murder of Joey Estrella, a fellow inmate at the U.S. Penitentiary in Florence.

The same jury had convicted Sab lan of first-degree murder last month. While most on the panel favored a death sentence, one held out, jurors said.

"There was no strong-arming or arguing," said juror Brent Zimmerman, 25, a materials engineer interviewed Friday.Denver Post

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