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, May 14, 2007

Put Prisoners To Work Building Affordable Housing

Here's a new twist: Using prisoners to build affordable housing. Does that mean that we can give them someplace to live once they are released as well? Forty percent of people released from prison in Colorado are released homeless.

The state budget can only grow 6 percent a year. That sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t when you’re staring at a zillion hands asking for money like so many Ethiopians lusting after a Big Mac.

“The state will have to have a discussion about this. Six percent won’t be enough,” said Sen. Johnson, in a “the-end-is-near” tone of voice. “Money is tight.”

Pothole, paving, prisons and prisoners are all expensive.

Those incarcerated in state prisons cost $27,000 per year, and the judicial system is locking away 1,000 new prisons every year.

One suggestion solution is to put those prisoners to work building affordable housing. Prisoners get to help solve a problem they’re indirectly helping cause, plus they can learn skills for which people will pay money. But is that really a solution or even part of a solution? Do you really want people locked away for various violent crimes handling power tools on your property?

“Colorado must balance its budget every year, unlike the federal government,” Johnson said, stopping short of saying that it’s also unlike most people swimming in a sea of credit card debt, which is beginning to be most people.”

Vail Trail

No comments: