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, July 14, 2007

We Want Pardons!! Stop the Drug War

This petition was sent to me by an alert reader and it was also picked up by Doug Berman at Sentencing Law and Policy. This is directly from Stop the Drug War's website.

(Please click here to send a copy of this petition in your own name to President Bush, Vice-President Cheney, and your US Representative and Senators if you live in the US.)


Don't just pardon Scooter Libby and
Thanksgiving turkeys, President Bush!

We, the undersigned, ask you to save your legacy by releasing thousands of nonviolent drug offenders from federal prison before you leave office. Short of taking such a measure, you will be doomed to go down in history as a hypocrite.

Unlike President Clinton, you cannot point to a record of mercy toward people caught in the criminal justice system. While the overall Clinton record in criminal justice was not lenient, he did commute the sentences of 63 people, most of them neither wealthy nor powerful, including 29 nonviolent drug offenders.

You, by contrast, commuted only three prisoners' sentences prior to helping Scooter Libby, one every two years. You have pardoned four times as many Thanksgiving turkeys as people you've released from prison.

Even worse, in 2003 your attorney general, John Ashcroft, issued guidelines requiring federal prosecutors to always seek the maximum possible amount of prison time for defendants, with only limited exceptions permitted.

The measure we've called for will undoubtedly be controversial, but you will have defenders from across the political spectrum. Advocates will assist your staff in finding appropriate cases -- reopening cases you've previously rejected would give the project a good head start. Clemency petitions will undoubtedly start to pour in once you put the word out. You can answer critics by saying we need to redirect our resources toward national security instead. And it will be consistent with the sympathy you've expressed in the past, based on your personal experiences, for people who have struggled with substance abuse.

In the nation that is the world's leading jailer, which incarcerates a far greater percentage of its population than any other nation yet calls itself "land of the free," the president who helps to reverse that pattern will ultimately be recognized for it. Indeed, the "tough-on-crime" laws that have led us to this situation were mainly enacted for political reasons. Please pardon or commute the sentences of thousands of nonviolent drug offenders; please rescind the aforementioned Ashcroft directive; renounce your support for the drug war (at least in its current form); and call on Congress to repeal mandatory minimum sentences and authorize downward revision of most federal sentencing guidelines.

You have a year and a half left to prove that justice is for everyone -- not just for your friends. Will you rise to the occasion? History is watching.

(Please click here to send a copy of this petition in your own name to President Bush, Vice-President Cheney, and your US Representative and Senators if you live in the US.)