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.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Save Money and Cut Crime

DENVER - The Colorado Parole Board has started releasing some inmates from prison early — about 115 more last month than in January 2007.

The board is banking that treating such inmates for drug and alcohol abuse will do more to keep them from committing new crimes than the old policy of simply warehousing them, and then releasing them, without any such treatment.

The Post supports the policy, which began in the waning days of Republican Gov. Bill Owens' administration and accelerated after Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter's appointees became a majority on the parole board.

The policy has its roots in a 2003 law by Sen. Ken Gordon, D-Denver, that increased treatment for drug and alcohol abuse for prison inmates and paid for such treatment by a slight reduction in some sentences.

We backed the 2003 law, but we also urge Ritter to monitor the new program closely and to focus primarily on non-violent offenders to reduce the risk of a violent offender re-offending. That would quickly undercut any public support for treatment programs.

Gordon supports Ritter's actions to ease the pressure prison costs have placed on the state budget.

"This is the first year since 1992 that prison budgets haven't gone up by double digits," Gordon said. "Ritter only asked for a 6 percent increase for prisons this year. If we'd been able to limit prisons to 6 percent a year since 1992, we'd have $255 million more to spend on other things this year."



Denver Post Editorial

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

The DOC lies again. January report shows an increase of 98 inmates. The Parole Board and DOC continually uses a system where decisions are made based upon long past behaviour and not current efforts for reform. A system that recycles non-violent drug and mental cases back into prisons and not in and out of community corrections. The DOC returned funds for 542 prisoners that they could not send to rehabs. A total performance and financial audit is necessary to bring this department into the real world.

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