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, March 25, 2008

Lawmakers Debate Budget

As the shortfall realities of the budget come true what will be left standing at the end of the day?
Higher education and revolving prison doors are priorities in the proposed 2008-09 budget, which "expresses what we as a state, as a Legislature, feel is important," said Democrats who introduced it Monday.

But Republicans say the $17.6 billion budget plan, which includes funding for 1,335 new employees, increases the size of government at the wrong time - with Colorado entering a recession.

"I am concerned that with this budget we have in front of us, we are manufacturing a fiscal crisis," Rep. Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch, said. "It expands programs that we won't be able to keep up with in the future. It creates services that we won't be able to continue."

JBC members proposed a roughly 20 percent increase in funding for mental-health and substance-abuse programs and for the state's parole division in an effort to reduce recidivism. Half the inmates released from prison return within three years, Buescher said. While recommending $12.5 million for prison construction, they also proposed a general-fund increase of just 8.3 percent for the corrections department - the smallest increase in years.

The budget for higher education, meanwhile, is expected to jump a larger-than-usual 8.6 percent, with maximum tuition increases at public colleges and universities ranging from 5 percent to 9.5 percent.

Nearly $30 million is set aside also to get about 1,000 developmentally disabled Coloradans off a waiting list for state services after a bipartisan group of legislators pushed for increased funding.


Colorado Springs Gazette

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