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 24, 2007

NY Times Review of PBS "Prison Town"

NY TIMES: The “before” debates tend to get plenty of news coverage: some town in New England or the Midwest or wherever is torn apart over whether to allow a dump or power plant or mega-whatever to come in. Rarely, though, does the “after” get much attention. Once the project in question went forward, did the promised economic benefits accrue? Was the social fabric shredded?

“Prison Town, USA,” a smartly constructed documentary tonight on the PBS series “P.O.V.,” explores the “after” in Susanville, a small city in Northern California that a decade ago underwent a substantial makeover with the construction of three huge prisons. The hopes were that the complex would take the place of lumber and other major businesses that were fading. The fears were — well, myriad.

The film, made by Katie Galloway and Po Kutchins over two years, looks at the big-picture issues Susanville now confronts through a collage of small stories. There are no documentary-style talking heads or charts here, just some very ordinary-looking people trying to find their places in a changed community.

A man who has lost a good lumber job tries to make it through correctional-officer training. A recently discharged prisoner struggles to find work and support his wife and children. The owner of a local dairy tries to fight a state decision to cancel his prison contract, which he contends would violate a pledge that the prisons would buy locally whenever possible.

The film is light on specifics, beyond the intriguing factoids interspersed in stark white-on-black lettering between scenes. (“Nearly half the adults in Susanville, California, work at one of the area’s three prisons.”) But the impact of the prisons is more subtle than numbers can capture. It’s in how neighborhood dynamics change when the population includes many women and children who have moved to Susanville while Dad does time. (Can the children of prison guards play with the children of inmates?) It’s in how domestic life is affected by the militarylike training a corrections officer goes through


Anonymous said...

I am part of a family that works in a (Maximum) State Correctional Center.

My husband has been there 19 years, I have been there 2, and my daughter started working there last fall.

This is the best place to work in town, and for me.... knowing the facility and inmates and their issues make it easier to understand what he goes through on a daily basis.

The institutional politics and attitudes make it hard to work there..... dealing with the criminals is easy. We all know they are trouble. on the hoof It's the backstabbing and rumour mill among co-workers and the administration that causes the tension here.

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