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.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Social and Economic Costs Of Drug Prohibition

Guest Commentary

David Harsanyi's May 13 column "The government's sorta-kinda-maybe logic" really nailed it.

He clearly laid out all of the important issues regarding drug prohibition: the costly, self- perpetuating bureaucracy that feeds on the war on drugs (and people), the massive incarceration of non-violent drug offenders, paramilitary operations in the name of public safety, holes the size of Colorado in the governments new "report" and the relationship of that report to Walters' recent tour of the country trying to scare school systems into drug testing their students.

Perhaps Walters' didn't read about the recent Washington State Supreme Court ruling prohibiting these tests as illegal searches. In fact, one of their school districts wasted nearly $300,000 tax dollars randomly testing students with a positive test rate of "maybe 2 percent."

I suppose we could look at Walters with a little compassion, considering the reality of this failed war on drugs is finally hitting mainstream consciousness. His job (and a bazillion others) is on the line because we now have people like David Harsanyi helping bring common sense to this problem. It's only a matter of time before Americans finally understand the impact of our U.S. Prohibition style drug policies.

We know there are more smart-thinking, mainstream people like David Harsanyi. Last year, 225 of our country's mayors — at their annual U.S. Conference of Mayors' meeting — unanimously passed a resolution saying end the drug war and find a better solution focused on harm reduction. And discrediting those folks will be hard for Walters, et al to do.

I especially appreciate this line from Harsanyi's column: "Children shouldn't use drugs, and even if drugs were legalized, no one is advocating children should be able to use them."

Individuals and organizations that believe legalizing and regulating drugs is the best way out of this madness regularly answer many illogical questions—the result of the massive brainwashing of folks exactly like Walters. However, we're patient and we continue to educate the public as to how legalization would look in practice. We combat fear-based thinking and hysteria.

The Denver Post