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, September 21, 2008

Competition With Correctional Industries

Competing with Correctional Industries is not easy.

That was the consensus of various business owners in the community on Friday.

Although Colorado statutes say that Correctional Industries cannot compete in the marketplace, the group said that was not the case.

However, Correctional Industries director Steve Smith said the industries would like to be a good neighbor.

“We don’t want to hurt anybody,” he said.

Business owners have complained that Correctional Industries has underpriced its products.

“Our main function is to train inmates, to keep them busy and to reduce the taxpayers burden,” he said. “For every inmate we employ, we save the taxpayers $5,000. We get no tax funds from the general fund. We pay for our staffing, capital equipment, inventory and everything else. We try to work as many inmates as we can with the most staff we have.”

Since its inception, Smith said he has started in a different direction. For instance, the greenhouse has reduced its space in half of the once 60,000-square-foot facility.

“We’ve gone into the fish market,” Smith said. “We have a joint venture company that pays us to grow their tilapia.”

However, Touch of Love owner Katie Martin-Masse said she did not understand why industries took the retail avenue.

“When I opened my shop 25 years ago, I never expected one of my biggest competitors would be the Department of Corrections,” she said. “It just seems totally bizarre to me.”

In 2001, DOC denied access to florists, which also hurt her business.

Canon City Record


Anonymous said...

Canon City would be just another dust bowl town if it were not for the soon to be 14 prisons with thousands of employees living and spending their money there. I am shocked that the local newspaper would even print an article that hinted the merchants are unhappy. With gas prices getting so high and the prison industrial complex there, they will get more homes built there, while the rest of us spend $775M on the DOC alone.mpc

Anonymous said...

mpc is right but do not go far enough. DOC needs to be run by the people not the doc employees??djw

Anonymous said...