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.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sentencing Commission Favors Alternatives

The U.S. Sentencing Commission plans to issue a list of recommendations on alternatives to incarceration that could include drug courts, addiction treatment, or other sentencing options.

The Wall Street Journal reported Sept. 6 that the panel, which made waves last year with its call to equalize penalties for crack and powdered cocaine, recently announced its intention to find ways to ease the strain on the nation's courts and justice system. Currently, there are 2 million people in prison in the U.S., and states spent $44 billion last year on corrections.

"We're going to be looking at what might fit at the starting point, before somebody is sent to prison," said District Court Judge Ricardo Hinojosa, chair of the commission.

The announcement received a lukewarm response from the U.S. Justice Department. "We do not believe the use of alternatives should be expanded without further rigorous research showing their effectiveness in promoting public safety," said spokesperson Laura Sweeney.

The Criminal Justice Legal Foundation also expressed skepticism; Michael Rushford, president of the crime-victim advocacy organization, said, "alternatives are generally not a good idea and particularly for certain classes of criminals," pointing to the failure of other alternative approaches to jail in prison tried in the 1960s.

Recommendations from the Sentencing Commission, comprised of seven presidential appointees, become law unless Congress votes to reject them. The commission hosted a conference on sentencing alternatives this summer.

"If the commissioners are creating materials and making recommendations to Congress that we should expand alternatives to incarceration in the federal system, that will have a big impact," said Kara Gotsch, advocacy director for the Sentencing Project.


JT Direct

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

There are multiple studies, that maybe the justice department refuses to recognize, that tell us that mandatory sentences and putting people into prison, usually for the rest of their lives, keeps the public any safer.

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