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, July 11, 2008

Too Many Prisoners: States Should Stop Warehousing Prisoners

Washington Post editorial h/t to Doc Berman for this great catch.

TWO REPORTS by the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics show that the rate of growth in the prison and jail populations of the United States has slowed slightly but that the country still has the dubious distinction of being the largest jailer in the world. As of June 30, 2007, the country held roughly 2.3 million people behind bars, either in local or state jails or in federal prisons.

The cost of housing and caring for inmates has been astronomical, an estimated $55 billion annual expense for taxpayers, according to the Pew Center on the States. The bloated number of inmates has been particularly painful for states, some of which have been forced to cut spending for higher education to fund corrections programs. As a result, California is considering an overhaul of its prison policies, as are Kentucky, Mississippi, Rhode Island and South Carolina.

This fiscal crisis should be a wake-up call for all states. Tough sentences for murder, rape and the like are unquestionably necessary and contributed to a drop in such crimes over the past two decades. But prisons should be focused on holding the most dangerous criminals rather than on warehousing nonviolent, first-time offenders.


Anonymous said...

I couldnt agree more.djw

Anonymous said...

Quote: "But prisons should be focused on holding the most dangerous criminals rather than on warehousing nonviolent, first-time offenders."

Minus the brutal, pathological crimes:

I have great admiration and respect for the people who do serious, heartfelt work for CCJRC. What I do not comprehend are the actions of the judicial system in the state of Colorado. For the most part, it falls upon deaf ears; particularly with those who are expected to perform responsible decisions such as legislators, politicians and, the judges and attorneys. Is Colorado spinning its wheels?

The blatant agenda behind the warehousing of nonviolent, first-time PEOPLE is apparent. It sounds like a broken record to bring up the profit factor in every comment. However, as long as these individuals (above) continue to rake in the financial benefits (and obvious immunity to themselves and families for equal felony offenses), the system will continue its callous practice of petty incarcerations.

Personally, I'm finding it more and more difficult to take these articles seriously. Personal experience with CDOC is the only means to understand the corruption in relation to the "law" in the state of Colorado. It is beyond pathetic. Those not involved have no understanding of the injustices. Sadly, the citizenry believes a few Hollywood *programs* is a lesson in self-education in a theater or at home watching very unrealistic weekly law programs.

For all of you working with CCJRC with dedication, thank you for your very difficult work. Changes and reform take time. In Colorado, with greed being the priority in sentencings and incarcerations, you are doing an exceptional job. It can't be easy. For the most part, it must be frustrating.

My faith in Colorado has flatlined due to the immense corruption and the pain it has caused in my personal life.

During visitations at correctional facilities, I see many good men, all ages, who are enslaved in a system that has no regard for being human. The majority are enslaved due to petty situations that could well have been handled humanely. Simple direction and guidance could have kept many of these guys from having the rest of their lives destroyed. Classes and counselors should be the first step in providing awareness for the great majority of offenses. Instead of mandatory classes and counseling, it is prison and mandatory parole - with extreme discrimination in every area of life destined to create a feeling of no hope. Hence, the revolving door.

*Reform* is a detestable word to those in power who choose to accept corrupted policies and personally gain from the income and immunity it brings to themselves and their own families.

There are some people in law enforcement, politics and the judicial system who have felonious characters. It is the norm in Colorado (and beneficial) for them to maintain their arrogant positions.

Education, guidance, compassion, empathy. The result would be productivity in a society that (now) is on the downslide economically. Prisons are a valuable resource for corporations. Prisons are the answer for a depressed economy. The prisoners are simply commodities.

Anonymous said...