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, September 08, 2008

Fines, Fees and Recidivism

The reality of "debtors prison" is something that we have to deal with. Especially when the economy is as bad as it is. Pushing people to the edge only increases the probability of a new crime as people will do anything to keep their heads above water and out of prison.

Paying a debt to society now means more than doing time. In addition to prison sentences or alternatives to incarceration such as drug programs, fees and surcharges are being imposed on criminal offenders throughout the country. In some states, offender-based revenues start to accumulate upon arrest, without a wait for conviction. These charges are in addition to any fines and restitution they may be required to pay.

Surcharges and fees are mandatory in all New York criminal cases. A felony conviction for drugs, larceny or burglary, for example, costs the defendant a statutory $300 fee plus $25 to a victims' fund. Judges have no discretion to waive them despite the defendant's likely indigence. As New York State Supreme Court Justice Gustin Reichbach says, "The imposition of mandatory surcharges, like mandatory sentencing, erodes judicial independence by tying the judges' hands even when they think that justice requires a different result."



Anonymous said...

Wonder what the founding fathers would think about the way this country has turned the "justice system" and "law enforcement" into a revenue generating machine. Maybe if a mandatory prison sentence was imposed on bureaucrats who keep their hands in the til we might start to see a swing in the other direction

Anonymous said...

This reminds me about the guy who wrote the book about the next revolution??? I think its about to begin, there are many people who have scores to settle. The public has been lied to continuosly and our rights are being violated all the time. Colorado spends 28,000 a year to incarcerate, (non-violent offenders) but only spend about 6500 per year for childrens education?? Pretty sorry stats. djw

Anonymous said...

Colorado takes 20% of any money sent to a prisoner for "restitution". If the crime was drug related, for example, there is no victim. The money simply goes back into the judicial system to be spent on bringing more people to "justice". Why not spend the money on rehabilitating the prisoner rather than lying about rehab and building more supermax prisons and contracting for another 1200 private prison beds? mpc

Samuel said...

It's not enough that the state in a false sense of moral superiority, in a blind adherence to a tribalistic pulling of vengeance and grossly disproportionate to the infraction committed takes your life, your dignity, your freedom, your identity, your independence, your spirit, your time, your opportunity, your hope, your respect, your future. The state also takes your money in immense desire to hammer that final nail into the coffin that is your life post prison and ensure that you will never leave the underclass, never be anything more than a real life modern day slave to the ruling class, and always be available to be brought back into the system if it should require your body to fill a bed to collect a profit. Again. What a joke.

Anonymous said...