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, October 01, 2008

Prison Riot Sparks Calls For Transparency

Here's an excerpt from Erin Rosa's article, click at the bottom to read the entire thing.

The federal government needs to be more transparent in providing local communities with information about the violent incidents that occur in Colorado prisons. That’s the message from public officials reacting to recent news that a prison in the state has been on lockdown status since August, just months after a violent yard riot in April left two inmates dead.

In a series of articles published last week, The Colorado Independent reported that the high-security United States Penitentiary in the southern city of Florence — operated by the federal Bureau of Prisons — had been in lockdown status since early August following a violent inmate-on-inmate assault.

Lockdown status means that inmates are generally confined to their housing units or cells.

The incident comes just months after a deadly yard riot in April that ended with two inmates being killed by guard gunfire, and on top of that, the prison’s warden Sara Revell was just given the annual Excellence in Prison Management award from the bureau for overall management of staff and inmates.

During the riot, guards used a heavy arsenal of weaponry, including more than 200 M-16 rifle rounds, more than 300 pepper balls and nearly 12 long-range CS gas canisters, according to documentation obtained from sources inside the prison.

Rep. Buffie McFadyen, a Pueblo Democrat whose district includes the penitentiary, said the news showed how necessary it was for the bureau to release key details about the riot to the public.

“There’s a problem with the secrecy the bureau functions in to begin with overall. They’re not a very transparent organization,” McFadyen said, noting that shes talks regularly with prison workers and officials with the correctional officers union. “I have to cultivate people to talk to. I don’t get answers back from the bureau.”

Colorado Independent