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, February 10, 2008

Colorado's Prison Dilemma

As a state we need to think about how we lock people up, how long we lock them up for and what the payoff is. We have over 9,000 people who are eligible for parole. Hundreds of them are just waiting for their mandatory release date. We could simply reassess those and let them out a few months earlier, which would help up to free up space. The judiciary and prosecution needs to employ more alternatives to prison. We have many options available to us. Those options would require a funding stream from the state. It's certainly better to fund them than to write checks to CCA. By implementing an import ban that would stop CCA from bringing prisoners from other states we would certainly quiet their rant.

Firm says without 5% hike in daily per-inmate pay, it will clear Colorado inmates from 1 prison

February 10, 2008 - 12:54AM

DENVER - A standoff between a legislative committee and a private company that houses 4,023 state inmates is raising serious questions about the future of Colorado’s prison operations, namely: Should the state continue to contract with private prison companies?

Or should more public prisons be built and, if so, should state spending on nonprison projects be put on hold?

The issue surfaced late last year after Corrections Corporation of America requested a 5 percent increase in daily per-prisoner payments from the state for each year of the next decade.

The company operates five private prisons in Colorado and has said it will have to clear inmates out of one of them if it does not receive more money. With Colorado’s 23 publicly owned prisons filled almost to capacity — three of them with doublebunked beds in many cells — and with CCA housing 19.4 percent of Colorado inmates, legislators find themselves in a bind.

The Joint Budget Committee has proposed a 1.5 percent increase in payments for all private-service providers, including CCA. Agreeing to the Tennessee-based company’s request for an additional 3.5 percent would cost the state an additional $3.7 million. The money might be found, but doing so would be unfair to groups such as Medicaid providers and home-based health-care providers, who would get a far lower raise because they do not have the negotiating power of CCA, said committee Chairman Bernie Buescher, D-Grand Junction.

Refusing the request — or threat, as some legislators have termed it — would mean the state must come up with hundreds of new prison beds soon. This could be done by building another facility, reducing the prison population or contracting with another company that is looking to build a prison in Hudson, about 35 miles northeast of Denver.
Grand Junction Sentinel

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

This representative knows that the DOC has 542 prisoners waiting for community corrections, by the DOC's own stats. Of course all the classification systems of DOC need to be revised. We can close all the private prisons and reclassify PROPERLY the remaining prisoners and have plenty of money for the necessary rehabilitation.

Robin Paris said...

I couldn't agree more. The real root cause of the problem is the excessive harsh sentences that are imposed compared to other states with the same statistical data. This may be a radical approach but perhaps accessing objectively the current population, as I know for a fact that you are unnecessarily caging and bearing the expense for many genuinely self-reformed, honorable, upstanding and prospective law abiding and potential tax paying citizens who are caught in the travesty of overzealous and extreme lengths of sentencing, which in and of itself is an injust travesty. The problems that Colorado is facing is unfortunately self-imposed at the tax payers and the rehabilitated inmates life expense. I do not advocate in any way the release of any potentially risky inmates for the sake of public safety. However, I strongly believe that Colorado should look real hard at their excessive sentences and recognize that the time does not fit the crimes. Especially when the main objective is to reduce recidivism and the safety and well-being of the community at large.

Building more prisons is not the answer for that is just throwing bad money at worse. Get creative and do your homework and you may discover that the reasonable, logical and responsible things to do for all concerned is not in that black box answer but in fact, by answering the question "But for our decision to impose extremely harsh and inhuman sentencing, would we be where we are. Perhaps we might want to re-evaluate the existing prison population who idolly sit by awaiting the opportunity to lead a productive, law-abiding, constructive and successful life outside their Colorado cage.

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