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, November 10, 2008

Criminal Justice Recommendations For New Administration

Released From The Sentencing Project last week-

"Americans of all political stripes, and especially professionals with experience in every aspect of the criminal justice system, recognize that the system is failing too many, costing too much, and helping too few," said today's report. Included among the recommendations to overcome these challenges are:

· Eliminate the crack cocaine sentencing disparity;

· Expand alternatives to incarceration;
· Fund prisoner reentry through the Second Chance Act;
· Extend federal voting rights to people released from prison;
· Restore welfare and food stamp eligibility to individuals with drug felony convictions; and
· Analyze and reduce unwarranted racial and ethnic disparity in the federal judicial system.

The policy catalogue will be distributed to the Obama/Biden transition team and key leadership on Capitol Hill. The administration's transition team has already identified the need to eliminate crack cocaine sentencing disparities as one of its civil rights agenda items.

Both President-elect Obama and Vice President-elect Biden have been supportive of criminal justice reforms while in the U.S. Senate and could aid efforts to address unfairness in the system. On the issue of crack cocaine sentencing, Senator Biden introduced, and Senator Obama cosponsored, the Drug Sentencing Reform and Cocaine Kingpin Trafficking Act of 2007 (S. 1711), which would eliminate the 100 to 1 quantity-based sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine. The legislation would also focus federal law enforcement efforts on serious drug traffickers instead of the neighborhood crack sellers frequently targeted under current law.