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.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A Major Victory and A Major Fight Ahead

First, the good news. Congress killed an amendment by Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) that would have denied federal funding to cities that establish Supervised Injection Facilities to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and reduce drug overdose fatalities. This is a major victory for the right of cities to reform their drug policies without federal interference. We recently asked supporters in certain Congressional districts to take action. Your phone calls and e-mails woke up Congress and made the difference between victory and defeat!

Now, the bad news. Congressional Democrats are backing away from their promise to repeal the HEA Drug Provision that denies student loans to people convicted of drug law offenses. Senate Democrats sold out reform earlier this year. Now it looks like House Democrats might too.

Don't let them get away with it! Call Congress today and urge your Representative (Democrat or Republican) to repeal this stupid law which has already denied student loans to more than 200,000 people. We believe Congress will do the right thing if they hear from thousands of Americans like you.

Click to make the call and tell us how it went.

We now have an easy way for you to find your Representative's number, get talking points, and let us know what they said. Just follow this log-a-call link.

Phone calls to legislators make much more of an impact than emails or faxes, but if you would rather e-mail or fax you can look up your legislator's contact info at http://www.house.gov/.

Thank you,

Bill Piper
Director of National Affairs
Drug Policy Alliance

Background on the HEA Drug Provision:

In 1998 Congress passed an amendment offered by Representative Mark Souder (R-IN) to the Higher Education Act (HEA) that bars people with drug law convictions -- no matter how minor -- from receiving student financial assistance for specified periods of time (a year to life depending on the severity and number of drug law offenses). More than 200,000 people have been denied student loans and other assistance because of the law.

In 2006, Congress passed a partial reform of the penalty. This change amended the HEA to allow some students with past offenses to receive aid, but it still retains the penalty for those whose offenses were committed while they were enrolled in school, and receiving aid. In other words, tens of thousands of students are still being kicked out of college for minor drug law offenses like marijuana possession.

Earlier this year House and Senate Democrats indicated they would make repealing the HEA Drug Provision a priority when considering legislation to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. Senate Democrats included major reform language in their version of HEA Reauthorization. When the bill got to the floor, however, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) offered an amendment killing the reform. Senate Democrats accepted the amendment without any opposition whatsoever. Now we’re hearing that House Democrats may not include repeal language in their HEA Reauthorization bill that will likely be introduced next week.

It is vital that all members of Congress - Democrats and Republicans - hear from you. Congress needs to know that the American people want this law repealed. People shouldn’t be discriminated against for simply what they choose to put into their own bodies, and people convicted of drug laws offenses shouldn’t be denied opportunities to get their lives back together.

Background on the DeMint Amendment:

A few weeks ago, the Drug Policy Alliance, along with the San Francisco Department of Public Health, the Harm Reduction Coalition, and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, cosponsored a full-day symposium that examined the needs, feasibility, support, and various options for a legal Supervised Injection Facility for homeless and marginally housed injection drug users (IDUs) in San Francisco. No U.S. city currently has a Supervised Injection Facility, but at least 27 cities around the world do, including Geneva, Zurich, Hamburg, Frankfort, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Madrid, Barcelona, Sydney, Oslo, Luxembourg, and Vancouver.

Apparently even talking about treating drug use as a health issue instead of a criminal justice issue was too much for some members of Congress. Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) offered an amendment to the federal Labor-HHS-Education spending bill that would deny federal funding for education, job training, disease prevention, and health care to cities that establish Supervised Injection Facilities. The Senate adopted his amendment at the last minute and without debate through the unanimous consent process, which means no Senator was even willing to offer public opposition.

Fortunately, the Drug Policy Alliance, the Harm Reduction Coalition and other groups jumped into action. With the help of our supporters we were able to kill this amendment in a special conference committee designed to iron out differences between the House and Senate versions of the Labor-HHS-Education spending bill. The conference committee killed the amendment last week, but it just became public yesterday (there was no recorded vote). This is a great victory for drug policy reform. At stake was keeping the federal government from blocking cities and states from pursuing alternatives to the war on drugs.

Drug Policy Alliance

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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隨著股市、房市 暑假打工的熱絡氣象,外界預期一些辛苦經營的精品店面、 酒店PT商圈,將順勢而起,不過,熟悉大台北商圈的欣元商仲總經理焦文華直言,目 禮服酒店前精品業者的經營還相當艱困,景氣反轉的力道並不如外界預期。

焦文華分析,精品商圈 兼差的經營,確實還是面臨消費力不足的困境。目前消費者物價指數已連續兩個月負成長(六、七月份),具體反映出消費力衰退的現象,高檔的珠寶、手錶、服飾等精品市場感受更深,部分店家業績 打工,更是過去高峰期的三分之一,業者稱得上是「苦撐待變」。

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徐佳馨表示,從空置率數據來看,與去年狀況極差的第四季相比 酒店,精品商圈的空置率都出現明顯的下降,但由於各界對於景氣是否反彈仍有疑慮,因此就算租金與售價已開始蠢動,但是否能夠真實反映市場實況,仍存有許多變數。