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, October 27, 2008

Felons Learning They CAN Vote

>Reporting from Baltimore -- Before Kimberly Haven set out to register voters this month, she checked Baltimore city records to find a neighborhood with a surprising feature: a large number of felons.

There, on a litter-strewn street corner, her team ran into Lonnell Burke, who was waiting to catch a bus to a local drug rehab center. With cocaine and armed burglary convictions, Burke assumed he was barred from the polls forever. But thanks to a recent change in Maryland law, he found himself signing papers to become a registered voter.

"I didn't think the doors would ever open for ex-offenders to vote," said Burke, 50, who called the unexpected encounter "a blessing."

At least a dozen states have changed their laws since 2003 to allow more felons who are no longer in prison to cast ballots, reversing a long-standing trend.

And though studies show that felons lean Democratic, states led by Republican governors have loosened their voting rules, including Alabama, Nebraska, Nevada and Florida -- where officials have learned from the 2000 presidential race just how close an election can be.
States restored voting rights to about 760,000 felons in the last decade, according to tallies by voting rights groups, but data on how many have registered to cast ballots are sketchy. Whether these voters could tip an election in a presidential swing state is a matter of speculation.
LA Times