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.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Targeting Gang Life

Gilberto Juarez said he almost lost his son to gangs.

The 54-year-old father of three said he learned of his son's gang activities only after the boy was arrested on robbery charges.

His son was 14 years old.

"He had joined the gang when he was 8 years old," Juarez said. "He was heading in the wrong path."

Juarez's son, now 24, no longer is in a gang. He is married with children, has a steady job and has joined a local baseball team.

On Sunday, while Juarez's son played baseball in another area of Garfield Lake Park, Juarez took his 4-year-old grandson to The Rock the Block Neighborhood Outreach Ministry. The faith-based initiative uses the "block party" concept to build community ties to tackle gangs, drugs and violence, and to listen to the music and see the clowns.

Juarez said he supports any community effort to curb gangs and drugs in Denver.

Angel Barrientos, the organizer, said faith-based groups and churches share an equal responsibility, along with others in the community, to get young people away from drugs and gangs and to provide alternative activities.

"Drugs and violence are affecting negatively the quality of life for the family," he said.

Rocky Mountain News