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 22, 2007

Oregon To Spend More on Prisons Than Higher Ed

Sound familiar? The budget in Oregon for prisons will be over a billion dollars in the next five years which will decimate their higher-ed budget. The trend is desperately similar to the landscape in Colorado. The Governor's plan to reduce recidivism is a good start but it is a package deal, not a silver bullet. There has to be a change in the culture in how we think about what returning to a community looks like for people getting out of prison.

Giving people on parole the opportunity to vote or having their records sealed after years of demonstrating a crime-free, productive life are just parts of the package that will have a longer term effect. It took us a long time to get to the situation we are in and it's not going to fixed overnight. There has to be a commitment by policymakers to create solutions that are based on facts and data and they must be willing to give those solutions a chance to get a foothold and create real change.

Oregon is on the verge of a milestone: In the next two years, the state will spend tens of millions more tax money to lock up prison inmates than it does to educate students at community colleges and state universities.

The trend results from more than a decade of explosive prison growth largely fueled by Measure 11, the 1994 ballot initiative that mandated lengthy sentences for violent crimes. Since then, the number of inmates has nearly doubled and spending on prisons has nearly tripled.Oregon News.

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