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, October 28, 2007

Oklahoma Prisoners Sue To Come Back To Colorado

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Nearly 400 Colorado inmates being held at a Sayre, Okla., private prison have sued their prison warden in an attempt to return to Colorado.

In a lawsuit filed earlier this year, 34-year-old inmate Jeremy G. Gardner, a convicted thief, argues because his crime was committed in Colorado and he was convicted in Colorado, he should be imprisoned in Colorado.

According to Beckham County, Okla., District Court records, at least 380 Colorado inmates have joined in his lawsuit against North Fork Correctional Facility Warden Fred Figueroa, filing nearly identical complaints with the county court between May 14 and Oct. 19.

Colorado transferred 480 inmates, including Grand Junction man Stephen Dallas Peck, to the private prison in December 2006 and January 2007. Inmates’ families have since complained that the move was not only unfair but also hindered their abilities to help rehabilitate their relatives.

Peck’s complaint, which mirrors that of his peers, argued he has committed no crimes in Oklahoma; therefore, he “has been deprived of all constitutional due process rights.”

Peck argues that the contract the Colorado Department of Corrections entered into with the Corrections Corporation of America is illegal, and therefore moot.

“(Figueroa) should be ordered to release the petitioner … due to his complete lack of authority to detain him,” Peck’s complaint states.

Officials from the North Fork Correctional Facility could not be reached for comment last week.

Beckham County Associate District Judge Doug Haught consolidated the inmates’ cases last week into a single case, “because the petitioners are located at the same confinement facility, and because of the similarity of claims, the court finds that consolidation is appropriate.”

Colorado Department of Corrections Director Ari Zavaras, Rep. Steve King, R-Grand Junction, and Rep. Buffie McFadyen, D-Pueblo West, are scheduled to visit the Oklahoma prison today and Monday.

King and McFadyen have expressed interest in bringing Peck and his peer inmates home to Colorado.

“With proper oversight, a private prison is a way of leveraging tax dollars, a way of having adequate bed space and so forth,” King said. “From a policy standpoint, that adequate supervision part, in my mind, means that those prisons are in Colorado, not in Oklahoma.”

The Sentinel


Anonymous said...

What these politicians fail to realize is that there is a far bigger problem with the mis-classification of inmates and the problems caused by an out of control department of corrections and parole board. These people are filling prisons in Colorado with drug addicts, some 8,000 by their own count, that need to be in rehabalitation programs. If they would classify inmates correctly and put them into rehab programs, and put present inmates through re-entry programs that are more than a video...they could start CLOSING prisons in Colorado, and putting the money to work on keeping the inmates from returning to prisons. Presently the DOC has the mentality to imprison for life, at all costs...to the taxpayors, the safety of the public, and the inmates and their families.
The appointment of the puppet committee to "study" the issue is not going to resolve this crisis.

Anonymous said...

have another riot and tear the place apart ,then the prisoners will be coming home......this works and its a fact if the place isnt useable then colorado has to take them back....

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