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, November 11, 2007

Hard to rebound

Hard to rebound
I have resided in Colorado Springs since 1982, when I was 10. There was a period of time I was incarcerated, totaling just under seven years. Since being released in October 2002, I have struggled financially.

I have the option of returning to the criminal lifestyle to achieve financial security, but choose to live a noble life for the rest of my time on this earth. Returning to criminal activity is not an option for me, by choice.

I notice a trend with thousands of local companies, which I will refer to as "legal discrimination."

I fully understand the need for pre-employment screening to isolate applicants that have a history of deceptive behavior; yet it seems as though no one is willing to overlook the past (in excess of 11 years for myself) mistakes and choices of individuals who have actually learned from the experience of incarceration and who have not re-offended in any capacity.

I will discharge my parole Feb. 28, and then my plan is to seal my felony record. Perhaps then I will be deemed a worthy candidate for the countless businesses to which I have submitted applications for employment.

Is there not anyone who understands that while people do make self-destructive choices, they are not themselves doomed to remain destroyed? Is there such a thing as equal opportunity employment?

I, along with thousands of others who are struggling, yet doing so willingly rather than commit crime, would be prone to say no! I hope this letter will open a few doors for a few people. Celebrate diversity!

Christopher E. Helton

Colorado Springs

1 comment:

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