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.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Judges Need Discretion in Sentencing

Des Moines --Two years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down federal criminal sentencing rules as unconstitutional. Some in Congress, fearing bleeding-heart federal judges would go soft on criminals, vowed to override the ruling. They needn't worry - if all federal appeals courts behave like the one that covers Iowa, at least.

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals based in St. Louis for the second time ordered that an Iowa man convicted of distributing methamphetamine be sentenced to a term at least twice as long as the two years set by U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett in Sioux City. Just to be safe, the court reassigned the case to a different federal judge in Iowa, because it didn't trust Bennett to follow its dictate.

The result, in this case, is that Jason Pepper - now working and going to school in Illinois, after completing is original two-year sentence - will be going back to prison. He will likely serve at least two more years, perhaps more. Federal prosecutors in the case recommended a sentence of nearly seven years.
Read the Article Here

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