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, March 10, 2008

JOHNSON: Stupid Mistake At The Heart Of Record Sealing

DENVER - It would be more understandable, he says, if he were actually the violent monster some prospective employers fear he might be.

He has lost the hard count of how many companies have turned their back on him but believes the number has to be well over 200 since January of last year.

So, yeah, if he could rethink or - heaven please! - redo that stupid shoving and wrestling match of 12 years ago, William Britt would do it in a second.

Yet there are few do-overs in life. So every afternoon the 37-year-old man dresses in a security guard uniform and works the late shift stopping cooking, design and art students to ask for their IDs.

"It is a tough thing to do, knowing I can do full economic regressions and statistics, map an entire company's economic future," William Britt said Friday, as he dressed for work. "I made a stupid mistake, one that today still haunts me."

He wants me to tell his story to Gov. Bill Ritter, who last year vetoed a bill that would allow people convicted of certain misdemeanors to have their records sealed.

William Britt spoke with me in an effort to get an almost-identical piece of legislation, House Bill 1082, unstuck this year.

Sponsored by Rep. Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, it would do virtually the same things as last year's bill, only exempting the records of sexual predators and other such violent offenders.

Mark Ferrandino has said he believes as many as 1,200 people a year might apply to have their records sealed, a request prosecutors can argue before a judge to reject.

William Britt's story goes directly to the legislation's intent.

It was Valentine's Day 1996, and he was rooming at the time in an apartment with another man.

William Britt and his then-girlfriend went out to dinner then were having a nice, romantic evening back at the apartment when the roommate suddenly appeared, exhibiting totally inappropriate behavior.

A shoving and wrestling match ensued. Police were called. William Britt was arrested, charged with simple assault, a violation of city ordinance.

It was a break. The city attorney did not charge him with a misdemeanor but, rather, the legal equivalent of getting a parking ticket. Read the reat at the Rocky Mountain News

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