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 18, 2008

Video Visiting

Since she was 3, Amy Anderson's mother has been in and out of jail. She has no contact with her father, who also is locked up.

So, at the age of 12, the Broomfield middle schooler knows all about jailhouse visits.

Still, she and her mother were taken aback when they learned that a recent Sunday visit at the Denver County Jail would be conducted through a computer screen.

Amy could not hug her mother or sit on her lap, as she once did at the Boulder County Jail.

Instead, the skinny, talkative tween awaited instructions from a front-desk deputy in the jail's lobby, plunked down on a stool attached to a black computer terminal, and waited. Her 82-year-old grandmother, caregiver and confidante sat on a plastic chair next to her. Other families did the same.

At the stroke of 3 p.m., the deputy pushed a button and 44- year-old Jane Anderson appeared on the screen. At least part of Jane Anderson. At many points during the 30-minute conversation, Amy could see only her mother's forehead.

Welcome to the brave new world of jailhouse visitation. Across the country, jails are embracing technology to solve age- old logistical problems such as contraband sneaking into cells and the high cost of security.

In metro Denver, Douglas County is the latest jurisdiction to open a video visitation terminal. Arapahoe and Adams counties already have them. Elsewhere, Weld, El Paso and Mesa counties do, too.

Rocky Mountain News


Anonymous said...

Video *visitation* is, simply put, ICY COLD.

It is a fundamental fact that all beings require nurturing touch. For the inmates and their families, every hug, every kiss, every touch of the hand is crucial for all aspects of healing and personal progression. To deny the parent/child, husband/wife, etc. the occasional warmth through contact visitation, is crumbling the very claim the D.O.C. says is imperative for the inmates rehabilitation. Also, there is no empathy for the family members. Now, without that very critical human contact, it will inevitably create more imbalance. This imbalance will exhibit itself in physical, emotional and mental illnesses. The inmates are at great risk. The family members who support and love them will fall victim to these issues also.

Just when I think the people in the D.O.C. can't sink any lower, I must brace for the next AND the next atrocity against humanity; the citizens of Colorado/USA.

Where are the psychologists when it comes to the cold hearted system? Do they care? Will they speak up for all of the people abused by a system disguised as a 'great' institution? Will any psychiatrist give an honest input connecting the lack of contact to health deterioration? Is there anyone with fortitude, or are all of these professions only about their personal gain/money?

For the most part, the low-lifers are not in prisons behind bars. They stalk us from every angle and walk free amongst all of us.

These low-lifers work, drive and shop among us without conscience, in every area of the judicial system. They are FREE to do more harm rather than reverse the pain and stop the barbaric practices.

I know where the true narcissism awaits. The next narcissistic cruel and unusual punishment being thought out with glee.

For Amy, her mom, and all others now being denied the love, warmth and touch, the criminals have exposed themselves to be in law and in the judicial systems.

Safety for the public is priority #1. They walk free amongst us as heartless detectives, prosecutors and judges.

I, for one, feel cheated and extremely unsafe and have lost a significant amount of trust in what I once thought was a system to do justice for the people. In truth, I have lost trust in general. It is a feeling of hopelessness.

Anonymous said...

The stated objective is for inmate and staff safety. Unfortunately, in this corrupt jail system, it is usually not the visitors that bring in the drugs, which are available, it is the DOC corrupt staff!! Look at the cases that have been discovered around the state. It is the guards, not the visitors that bring in the most drugs! They jangle their keys and think they need to show their power over the inmates, shame on them!!

Anonymous said...

I so agree with you both!!!

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