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.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

DNA Not Kept In Half The States

DNA not kept in half of states

Half the states lack requirements to preserve DNA evidence, despite a series of dramatic exonerations based on the critical biological material.

Supporters of retaining DNA evidence point to a growing list of wrongly convicted prisoners who have been freed. But some prosecutors and lawmakers cite concerns ranging from cost to expanding DNA collections from individuals who have never been convicted of crimes.

Evidence preservation has been the key to freeing more than 200 wrongfully convicted prisoners, says the Innocence Project, a group that works to free the innocent based on DNA testing.

Preserving DNA also has helped secure convictions. "We're becoming more successful in identifying perpetrators in cold cases than we were when we didn't have this technology," says Scott Storey, district attorney in Jefferson County, Colo.

There is disagreement over how long and under what conditions to keep DNA. Storage space and extra costs are key issues. "I don't know if there is enough room to keep all of this evidence," Storey says. "I believe in the innocence movement, but you've got to have some common sense injected."

What states are doing:

USA Today