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.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Recidivism Reduction Program - Oklahoma

This is a great start to stopping the recidivism problem that Oklahoma has. Which is comparable to the recidivism problem in Colorado. Perhaps we might want to take a look at it.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Hardened criminals often walk out of prison in Oklahoma unsupervised, with $50 in their pockets and bus tickets to cities where they last broke the law.

Most often they wind up back behind prison walls after committing another armed robbery or other serious offense against the public.

Now the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, through a contract with Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel, is launching a program to give hard-bitten inmates 90 days of intense attention before their release. The hope is to steer them away from their criminal ways, thus increasing the public's safety.

Corrections Director Justin Jones says that under the novel program, so-called ``flat-liners'' will get help with mental illness, substance abuse, reconnecting with their families, finding a job and a place to live and honing educational and technical skills.

Flat-liner is a term used by prison officials to describe an inmate who serves out his or her full term and goes free without any kind of supervision, such as requirements that bind someone who gets a parole.

Ninety-eight secure beds are being made available at the county jail in Oklahoma City for the pilot program. Inmates will begin arriving this month.

``To us, this is a win-win,'' Whetsel said. ``They are going to hit the (Oklahoma City) streets, no matter what.'' He said the help they will get at the county jail is something they would not have gotten during their last days in prison.

Jones said a team of specialists will assist inmates. ``If they choose, a mentor will be assigned to them from a faith-based organization,'' he said.

Inmates with anger problems will get counseling and psychotropic drugs, if appropriate.

Jones said the program is unique because the usual emphasis is on helping low-risk offenders, such as those convicted of minor drug crimes.

In Oklahoma, many of those inmates go to halfway houses, or community corrections centers or work-release centers, which have been shown to reduce recidivism.

Some of the more hardened criminals choose to waive paroles and serve out their full terms so they can escape supervision, Jones said.

``They are going to get out, whether we like it or not,'' Jones said. Why not try to use proven methods to reduce their high recidivism rate? he asks.

``We believe one of the best ways to provide public safety is through successful re-entry of inmates into society. Therefore, you don't have future victims. You don't have future increases in taxpayer money going to incarcerate someone over and over again.''

He said evidence-based research shows things can be done to curb by 30 percent the recidivism rate of the type of criminals who will be part of the project.

Article Here


Anonymous said...

Flat-liners 90 days of intense attention before their release. The hope is to steer them away from their criminal ways, thus increasing the public's safety. Maybe the intense attention should have been during the long months & or years these flat liners were incarcerated, 90 days at the end is simply wasteful & I'll bet not worth 50 cents. Sounds like someone trying to CYA before another scumbag is released.

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