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, July 31, 2007

Missouri Has It Right

Thanks to Michael at Corr Sent

Here's an article about how Missouri is building re-entry centers and using their sentencing commission to really look at how they are sentencing people based on a risk assessment tool.
They have reduced their prison population dramatically in the first year.

FARMINGTON — The supervision center is across a narrow road from the double
fence and looping razor wire of a state prison. Out the back door, a garden
sprouts with cantaloupe, zucchini and watermelon.

All of the center's residents are on probation or parole, and most have
violated the terms that gave them freedom. They could have been ordered behind
the razor wire, but the state is giving them a supervised second chance and in
the process reducing the state's inmate population. One thing they do is tend
the garden.

"I enjoy helping the plants grow," said Michael Goesmann. "It gives me peace."

He could use it. Goesmann, 54, served 15 months for a drug offense and said
he'd been an addict for years. He was released from the prison in St. Joseph,
Mo., in March and wasn't ready for the outside world.

On Tuesday, he was one of 23 men and five women assigned to the Farmington
Community Supervision Center, which opened in January 2006 — the first of two
such centers in Missouri. The state plans to open five more in hopes of keeping
stumbling offenders away from prison's revolving door.

Such stumbles have fed a decade of explosive inmate growth that required the
state to double its number of prison beds. But thanks to alternatives,
officials say, Missouri is leading the nation in reducing its inmate population.

In the year that ended June 30, 2006, the number of people behind bars in
Missouri declined by nearly 3 percent, the largest percentage in any state.

Only eight states reported a decline, according to the Department of Justice.
Illinois reported an increase of 1.7 percent.

When Gov. Matt Blunt took office in January 2005, Missouri's prison population
was growing by about two a day, said Commissioner of Administration Mike
Keathley. At that rate, the state would have had to build a new prison every
two years.

Missouri officials point to the community supervision centers as one key factor
in the state's decline in inmates.
St. Louis Article

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