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, January 23, 2008

State Of Sentencing 2007

The Sentencing Project released this report today which looks at states that took steps to review, reform and revise policies in their states. Faced with the incredible growth in prison budgets, lawmakers in 18 states took steps to make significant changes in policy in order to divert money back into education, roads and health care. For Colorado that meant to legislate a sentencing commission and a juvenile clemency board. Below is a portion of the summary and a link to the website and report.


"State criminal justice policies that continue the trend of prison expansion
are subject to increased scrutiny from policymakers," said Ryan S. King, Policy
Analyst at The Sentencing Project and author of today's report. "Large
corrections budgets divert government resources from important state budget
items like education and infrastructure. The financial burden facing public
officials has led to fresh ideas and new approaches in criminal
justice."
Today's report, The
State of Sentencing, 2007: Developments in Policy and Practice
, highlights a
number of important state criminal justice policy developments that occurred
during 2007. These include:
Nine states created oversight committees to
examine sentencing laws, prison overcrowding, indigent defense, and/or reentry
services;
Seven states amended parole policies and enhanced reentry
preparation;
Four states eased policies that treat juveniles as
adults;
Three states relaxed sexual offense laws related to consensual acts
conducted by teenagers; and
Two states reformed mandatory sentencing
enhancements.
Nevada and California implemented some of the most significant
criminal justice reforms in 2007. The Nevada legislature established an advisory
commission to comprehensively study sentencing policy, including the impact of
mandatory minimum sentencing on drug offenses. It repealed mandatory sentencing
enhancements for certain offenses and expanded "good time" eligibility for
people in prison and on probation. For some violations of parole and probation
supervision, the state has also reduced the prospect of readmission to prison.
In California, jail administrators were granted expanded authority to
release certain persons convicted of misdemeanor offenses early in order to
relieve overcrowding. The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
implemented a program to discharge early from parole individuals deemed
low-level and unlikely to reoffend. Finally, a new law passed in 2007 is
expected to reduce the number of persons in state juvenile detention centers by
half over the next three years. Instead, juveniles will be supervised locally
where they will have increased access to community-based services.
The
advances highlighted in The State of Sentencing, 2007 reflect a pattern in state
criminal justice policy that emphasizes effective public safety measures that
control government expenditures. These developments continue a promising trend
of "smart on crime" initiatives. Between 2004 and 2006, 22 states enacted
sentencing reforms targeted at reducing the prison population.
Today's report
concludes with several recommendations for enhanced reforms:
· Repeal
mandatory minimum sentences;
· Implement policies to reduce parole
revocations to prison;
· Invest in reentry and oversight of the criminal
justice system; and
· Expand options to reduce the amount of time served in
prison.

Sentencing Project