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.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Overtime in Prison

California prisoners doing overtime...
SACRAMENTO -- The counselor at Salinas Valley State Prison paid a surprise visit to Nicholas Shearin's cell with good news: He would go home in two days, after a decade behind bars.

She did not mention that he should have been freed eight months earlier.

Shearin was among as many as 33,000 state inmates whose sentences may have been wrong because they were not given all the time off they earned for good behavior and for working in prison.

Records obtained by The Times show that in August, the state sampled some inmate cases and discovered that in more than half -- 354 of 679 -- the offenders were set to remain in prison a combined 104 years too long. Fifty-nine of those prisoners, including Shearin, had already overstayed and were subsequently released after serving a total of 20 years too many, an average of four months each.

Shearin, 38, who is living with his parents in Hawthorne and looking for a job, went to prison for armed robbery. He received less than a third of the good-behavior credit he was due on a second crime, assaulting another inmate.

Shearin said he had told the corrections staff that he was entitled to more time off his sentence.

"I argued that point," he said. "I put in all the paperwork."

But "they did what they wanted to do at the Department of Corrections," said Shearin, who learned from a reporter that he had stayed in prison too long. "They just told me no."

The errors could cost the state $44 million through the end of this fiscal year if not corrected and more than $80 million through mid-2010. But California's overburdened prison agency waited more than two years to change its method of awarding credit for good behavior after three court rulings, one as early as May 2005, found it to be illegal.
LA TIMES

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