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.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Use Cost Of Prisons To Fund Education - MA


Here is a cost-effective plan to fund Governor Patrick's proposal to make community colleges tuition free. Downsize jails and use a portion of the more than the $450 million spent annually to operate them to fund tuition. The average cost of incarcerating someone in a jail in Massachusetts averages more than $35,000 per person a year. Students pay approximately $3,500 a year to attend a Massachusetts community college.

The majority of men and women in the Commonwealth's jails are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol. Their addiction has caused them to become involved with the criminal justice system.

A report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration(SAMHSA) calculated that in 2002 the average cost for treatment of alcohol or other drug addiction in outpatient facilities was $1,433 per treatment and residential treatment cost $3,840 per admission. Rarely does one course of treatment for drug addiction succeed.

When we calculate the cost of five residential treatments and a year of rent and utilities, only then do we approximate the cost of a year in a Massachusetts jail. The difference is treatment and housing represents a formula that can break the cycle of addiction and incarceration.

This year, a National Institutes of Health study found "that society earns $7 in benefits for every $1 spent on addiction treatment." Researchers found that the average stay in treatment cost $1,600. For each person studied in a nine-month period, treatment yielded $7,500 in savings on crime and incarceration related costs and $3,400 in increased earnings.

Real Cost of Prisons