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.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Prison's Children

Prison’s Children: Kids and families swept up in the wake of a mother’s incarceration

by Tim Covi

photographs by Ross Evertson


July/August 2008 Denver VOICE 13

In a span of three months,

Pamela Clifton lost her husband, her children, and almost nine years of her life to a 90-day drug problem. She was 34 years old when she was arrested and sentenced to a 9 year term, 6 years in prison with 3 years of probation, for possession of 1.5 grams of meth-amphetamine.

That was the winter of 1997. Looking back at that time, Clifton openly says she needed help, but believes prison wasn’t the answer. “Oh! I had a big problem. My husband had just died and I had lost my mind. I needed to go to treatment really, really bad.”

But she said there weren’t many options for a person of her means. “I tried. I looked for treatment. Problem was I had a house. I couldn’t afford treatment. If I would have had the

money to hire someone to watch my kids, take care of my house and put myself on a sabbatical for 60 days at Betty Ford, none of this would have happened.”

Clifton said her options were a $30,000 residential treatment program, or an outpatient program available in Fort Collins. She took the outpatient program, but after missing 3 hours of classes when she had the flu that winter, was removed from the class.

She continued in a downward spiral between October 1996 and February 1997. Recounting her husband Greg’s death and the events that led up to her arrest, Clifton

said: “Greg was in Lutheran Hospital after being taken there from the Arapahoe House Detox center. I went and picked him up to take him to treatment in Greeley but we were short the $78 needed to go in. We went home so that he could make a court appearance and so I could get the money we needed to get him into treatment. All of his things were actually at Island Grove when he died at home.


Anonymous said...

Storys like this prove that the cost of treatment would be a better alternative to the criminal justice systems rush to incarceration. Would also save peoples lives, and there familys. djw

Randy said...

The article is MOVING... I relate on several levels.

my sister and a nearly lifelong friend both died within a couple months of each other (from substance abuse issues)last year

I'm currently in an Intensive Outpatient Treatment Program; and several of the women (there) have had their kids taken away, and are entangled with the 'system'

My (knowledge) and respect is growing for the kinds of endeavor published here.

Right now all I have to offer in way of support is my heart and prayer.

I hope to find my way to be more involved with these kinds of outreach and reform in whichever manner after my (substance abuse) legal and financial matters are more resolved.

I'm a nurse by training, and have experience working with opiate and etoh dependent persons

I've also a dear friend who ministers in DOC

Anyhow, I hope the Soros Fellowship is granted to CCJRC


WOW,... remarkable people!

Randy said...
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Randy said...

...p.s. God Bless Ashleigh, Your Mom's a


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