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.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

We Don't Need a New Maximum Security Prison

By John C. Ensslin, Rocky Mountain News
July 26, 2007

Colorado's first new maximum security prison in 14 years will be built this year following years of legal wrangling.

But even before ground is broken on the 948-bed prison near Cañon City, a public policy debate is raging on the wisdom of spending $102.8 million more to lock up the state's worst offenders in 23-hour-a-day solitary confinement.

Colorado State Penitentiary II will be built across the street from the original Colorado State Penitentiary, which was the last maximum security prison built by Colorado when it opened its doors in August 1993.

Corrections officials have argued that building the facility is a matter of public safety because it will house the most dangerous prisoners. There is a waiting list for inmates who are now housed in less secure facilities, DOC spokeswoman Katherine Sanguinetti said.

But prison reform advocates such as Christine Donner, executive director of the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, contend that Colorado - which confines about 6 percent of its male prisoners in "administrative segregation" - is housing nearly twice as many inmates in that category as the national average. Plus, the state's inmate population has soared 400 percent between 1985 and 2005, taxing the DOC's budget of $534 million in 2005-06.

"It isn't that we have so many bad prisoners," Donner said. "It's that the people who are sent to administrative segregation never leave."

(the average is nearly three years to keep people locked up for behavior problems while they are in prison. 23 hours a day, 7 days a week. They will be released, but they will far more traumatized then when they went it. How does that possible serve public safety? And we know that may are released homeless from CSP)

Dubbed CSP 2, the new prison was approved by state lawmakers in February 2003. However, construction was stalled by litigation over the way the project was to be financed.

The prison is to be built through certificates of participation, a lease-purchase agreement.

That means the cost of the new construction will be paid by investors through a type of bonding arrangement. The state will enter into a lease, and at the end of the lease, it will own the structure.

The coalition filed a lawsuit in 2003 challenging the constitutionality of the financing. The group lost at the district level and before the Colorado Court of Appeals.

Snapshot of system

Colorado's male inmate population


Security classification

Administrative segregation 1,152, or 5.9 percent*

Close security 3,099, or 15.8 percent

Medium security 4,795, or 24.5 percent

Minimum-restricted 4,962, or 25.4 percent

Minimum security 5,394, or 27.6 percent

Unclassified 157, or 0.8 percent

Rocky Mountain News


Anonymous said...

Well, just think about what you based your statistics on....
The DOC's classifications are horribly wrong. They routinely mis-classify and intentionally report bad statistics in order to keep the DOC expanding!
Basically, they don't care and think of inmates as free-loaders on society.

My friend, Daniel Clark #116663, convicted of drug possession, was a 19 year old scared teenager when he was put into Limon because Gov. Owens cut drug rehab money in 2003. He was promised by the public defender in Jefferson County, in a plea bargain, to go to necessary drug rehab, which he never received, then or since. Limon has much more severe felons. He got tattoos and tried to fit in, rather than being raped. He got written up many times for getting the tattoos. When he was diagnosed with HIV he got drugs, inside the prison, and overdosed. He was sentenced to another 18 months and re-classified and put into CSP. He was locked down for 23 hours a day at age 20, and put on two anti-depressant drugs. He was then diagnosed, by CSP, with mental problems. Last December, he was released and could not find a job, and fell back into drugs. He was revoked and was determined to not be in any gangs, so he was sent to CTCF for 100 days. He volunteered, during his revocation hearing, to go to the Alamosa CIRT drug rehab program and was approved by all agencies. Late in May, he snapped a dish towel at another inmate, in play, and was charged and internally convicted, but put on internal "probation". He had volunteered to take courses for his GED, which they shoved under his cell door. He received the highest GED score in 8 years at CSP, receiving a commendation letter from the CO board of education. He signed up for two college level courses in Economics and US History and got an A and a B in the courses. The Parole Board member Leslie Waggoner, ONLY looking back at his mis-classifications and past violations from 4 years ago, re-sentenced him, on the same charge of snapping the dish towel (double peopardy - but the DOC says this is not a criminal proceeding, so they are not entitled to have legal defense nor to speak at their hearings, conducted inside the prisons), to remain in prison, to be reviewed in March 2008.

Alien Dulce said...

pibas amateur

bearjett said...

im an ex-convict of this state and the things they do to inmates are beyond real ,the hearings are all one sided and no one cares ,just like a couple guards and counselors told me ,that inmates are job security and it would not be in there best interest to help a convict suceed upon release ,we are there meal ticket and we support there families ,while they make sure we fail and come back over and over just like cattle....

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