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.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Colorado Kids Doing Life Without Parole

Pendulum Foundation is presenting this at Regis University tonight. If you would like to attend it will be at 7 p.m. in the Cafeteria. Also, in a follow up event there will be rally on the Capitol steps on Sunday for the forgotten 45. That event will be at 2:00.

THE DENVER POST -Colorado was once considered progressive in matters regarding juvenile court. But in a gut-wrenching documentary tonight on "Frontline," cases of minors sentenced to life without parole illustrate how backward Colorado can be.

The system tends to operate without consideration of age or youthful circumstances.

In the wake of Denver's so-called summer of violence, in 1993, state policymakers endorsed a $45 million tough-on-crime initiative, saying youths who commit adult crimes should be treated as adults, including life without parole.

"The whole identity of children got lost," says attorney Maureen Cain. It was "very reactive."

The matter was taken out of the hands of judges. Denver Juvenile

Court Judge Karen Ashby notes the district attorney's office simply makes the call about trying the defendant as an adult based on the charge; the juvenile court hasn't seen a transfer to adult court in years.

Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey confirms that in cases involving first-degree murder by minors, "Most of the time we treat them as adults. ... These are egregious crimes."

The harsh aftermath is demonstrated repeatedly in Ofra Bikel's 90-minute film, "When Kids Get Life," at 9 tonight on KRMA-Channel 6.

There are 46 people incarcerated in Colorado without hope of being released, for crimes they committed before their 18th birthdays.

"All my conscious life I've been more in prison than out," says convict Jacob Ind, now 29, who was 15 at the time of his crime. The Denver Post

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