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 07, 2008

Denver Post Op-Ed..Politics, Drugs and Bloated Prisons

OP ED - Will America's ill-starred "war on drugs" and its expanding prison culture make it into the presidential campaign? Standard wisdom says "no way."

We may have the world's highest rate of incarceration — with only 5 percent of global population, 25 percent of prisoners worldwide.

We may be throwing hundreds of thousands of nonviolent drug offenders, many barely of age, behind bars — one reason a stunning one out of every 100 Americans is now imprisoned. We may have created a huge "prison-industrial complex" of prison builders, contractors and swollen criminal justice bureaucracies.

Federal, state and local outlays for law enforcement and incarceration are costing, according to a Senate committee estimate, a stunning $200 billion annually, siphoning off funds from enterprises that actually build our future: universities, schools, health, infrastructure.

We are reaping the whirlwind of "get tough" on crime statutes ranging from "three strikes you're in" to mandatory sentences to reincarcerating recent prisoners for minor parole violations.

And every year we're seeing hundreds of thousands of convicts leave prison with scant chances of being employed, no right to vote, no access to public housing, high levels of addiction, illiteracy and mental illness.

Overwhelmed by the odds against them, at least 50 percent get rearrested within two years.

A serious set of problems, a shadow over our national future? No doubt. But do our politicians talk much about alternatives?

No way — they typically find it too risky to be attacked as "soft on crime." But let's imagine — what if major party nominees Barack Obama and John McCain were pressed to state their positions on drugs and incarceration? I've combed through statements by both men. My early reading is that with McCain, there'd be a thin chance of reform. But under Obama, much brighter prospects.

Read the rest at the Denver Post


Anonymous said...

John McCain was imprisoned by the Vietnamese. Why?? He dropped napalm and bombs on them and killed many people in a war we shouldnt have been in. Kinda like Iraq war. Is he fit to be president?? I say absolutely not.
Obama voted against the war in Iraq and secondly he graduated from Harvard law school as a CONSTITUTIONAL attorney. If he restores our rights under the constitution, he would be a great president. That alone would help all those locked away in prisons both federal and state. If he, Obama says he will restore constitutional law in this country he has my vote.DJW

Anonymous said...