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.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Crime Rates Fall With Decrease In Incarceration

Violent crime fell in 2007;
Prison and jails experienced less growth than previous years;
Areas with lower incarceration rates experienced greater crime reductions

Background: The FBI Uniform Crime Report was released Monday, September 15th with the news that the United States experienced a 1.4 percent decline in the violent crime rate and a 2.1 percent decline in the property crime rate in 2007. This drop in crime came at a time when the prison and jail growth rates fell from previous years. The Justice Policy Institute (JPI), a Washington, D.C.-based policy group that promotes fair and rational justice policies, cautions that no single factor can explain changes in crime across the nation, or within a jurisdiction. We have assembled a couple of key findings from these new crime and prison surveys to put the new figures in their appropriate context. For a more in-depth analysis of crime
trends, and information on effective public safety practices, please visit our website at

The number of violent offenses reported to law enforcement fell 1.4 percent in 2007.1
Both violent and property crimes fell in three of the four regions of the country. Only the southern region experienced an increase in these two categories.

While jails and prison populations continue to grow, the growth rate slowed in 2007, coinciding with the drop in crime. From 2005-2006, violent crime increased slightly (1.9 percent) while prison and jail populations increased 2 and 2.5 percent, respectively. As the growth rates of prisons and jails fell, so did the violent crime rate (down 1.4 percent), possibly indicating that lowering the number of people imprisoned can be an effective way to increase public safety.