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.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

DOC Wants To Be Paid To Stay In Colorado Springs

The Gazette wrote their incredibly unflattering opinion on DOC asking for perks to stay in Colorado Springs. The DOC is currently looking for new office space. The Gazette tells them to keep looking.

They have to be kidding. They absolutely cannot be serious at all. It must be some kind of a joke.

The state Department of Corrections is either joking, or it fancies itself on par with the United States Olympic Committee. The agency wants more space - with free new furniture and such - and it's threatening to move from Colorado Springs unless public and private entities pay money to entice it to stay.....The Department of Corrections, is a bureaucracy that oversees Colorado's growing and embarrassing blight of excessive incarceration. It's the hub of a public/private racket that somehow tries to pass off the financial drain of incarceration as economic development, when it's nothing of the sort.

The DOC operates out of a 65,000-square-foot office in southeast Colorado Springs which houses about 240 employees. Agency officials say they're outgrowing the building, and they want something more like 100,000 square feet. It has requested proposals from locations in El Paso, Fremont, Pueblo and Douglas counties. It wants reduced rent, free furniture, help with moving and employee relocation expenses, a "cash allowance" for building improvements, and a host of other public/private goodies.

James Ramsey, a DOC buildings official, argues that a community should pave the way for the agency because "Wherever the central office is located, we've got salaried employees living and spending money."

Wowwee! State employees, spending money right here in Colorado Springs! Well, certainly we should just ante up and give local money to a state agency that has outgrown its britches. Or, we could just quote former presidential spokesman Hodding Carter III: "I'm not going to tell a master politician how to suck eggs."

The indecent proposal calls into question whether our Department of Corrections serves the interests of society, or the interests of the Department of Corrections itself. If DOC officials had the public interest at heart, they would seek the most logical, strategically advantageous location. Instead, they're seeking the location that comes with nice furniture, and "cash allowances" - paid for by the little people - aka a subsidy package to enhance the comfort of state employees.

Even Mike Kazmierski, executive director of the Economic Development Corporation, isn't buying this embarrassing pitch. He questioned the wisdom of a local government subsidizing a branch of state government. El Paso County Commissioner Jim Bensberg characterized the solicitation as a "threat" by DOC to move to another town.

If so, then take your toys and go on down the road. Incarceration is supposed to protect society from dangerous predators. It's not supposed to be some growth venture to be pimped out to the highest bidder.

But the DOC, entangled with the for-profit private prison industry, views caged flesh as a source of cash to dangle like a carrot during tough economic times. Incarceration is the opposite of economic development, because it's an industry that uses tax money to keep people caged and unproductive. It's an industry that thrives when the number of humans living as state liabilities grows.

Colorado Springs Gazette


Mary-Ellen said...

PERFECTO!!!!! "a growth industry pimped out to the highest bidder"
could not explain this better...love it!

Anonymous said...

Governor Ritter should take a lesson from private corporation, when the going gets tough they downsize. Is it mot, about time to downsize the DOC operation???
Why is Colorado incarcerating about 4,500 NON VIOLENT offenders??? DJW

Anonymous said...

So how is this new approach by the DOC any different from what CCA or any of the other privates have been doing around the state.
The most interesting line in the article is how Colorado Springs politicians seem to understand the real role of the DOC as an agency designed to protect the public but only when they feel they are being held hostage by the DOC but seems to think that private prisons are a great economic boom to the area when local developers and other “community leaders” stand to make some money on inviting private prisons into the community or other parts of the state.
The Colorado Springs politicians and media should be ashamed for even thinking that those of us that follow this type sort

Anonymous said...

of sorted activity are too stupid to notice their two faced response to the DOC.

Anonymous said...

I think it’s a great idea that Colorado Springs picks up more of the tab for housing state and federal agencies. Why should they get all the state and federal employees living and spending money in their community and not have to pitch in and help reduce some of the cost for the rest of the taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the last post. Colorado Springs has lived in a cocoon for many years because its economic base is built mostly on federal and state spending program (mostly from the DoD) which allows them to support all the failed conservative policies from Ragan through Bush. When confronted with the reality of what these bankrupt ideologies brings such as having to spend local money to entice tax payer supported activities to stay in the community like so many other Colorado communities are forced to do, they want to cry foul and act like they are being put out.
Come on Colorado Springs, buying chairs for a few big bottomed DOC execs is cheap compared to what other communities in this state had to offer to get private prisons in their home towns.
Would you like some cheese with your wine?

Anonymous said...

You have got to be kidding me? Don't you see the bigger picture? (last 2 blogs). This is a perfect example of the arrogance that the DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS displays, and more of a reason to now call it the DEPARTMENT OF MANIPULATIONS. That's what they are all about, make no mistake about, and if this example of it doesn't raise some serious eyebrows, it'll continue to get worse. HELLO!

Anonymous said...