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, December 10, 2008

Colorado Allows Maiden Name Changes


DENVER - Public outcry has forced the State of Colorado to throw out a new rule it enacted just weeks ago to thwart identity theft.

The rule prevented newlyweds from turning their maiden names into middle names.

But because of a crush of complaints, the Governor's Office intervened and asked the Colorado Department of Revenue to adopt an emergency rule undoing the new rule. It will take effect on Monday.

One of those complaining was Robin A. Berg of Denver. She's a life coach who helps people achieve goals. But she found herself failing in a goal to change her name on her driver's license.

Robin had found her happily-ever-after on September 6. And about 3 weeks ago, wanted to use her maiden name, which is Peglow, as her middle name and take her husband, Todd Berg's, last name.

Clerks at the Department of Motor Vehicles told her a new rule doesn't allow it anymore. "I said, 'Are you sure? There's nothing you can do?'" she questioned.

So after struggling with the news for a few minutes, she made a decision. "I just decided to change it and keep my current middle name and then put Berg as my last name, but drop my maiden name. It wasn't what I wanted to do at all," she says.

"It wasn't the most popular decision of the Division of Motor Vehicles in recent history," says Mark Couch, spokesman for the Dept. of Revenue.

He says the state initially changed the rule to protect people from identity theft. "Felons who get out of prison will try to change their name to hide their bad past," he says.

That risk is still there. But the inconvenience was apparently greater. So a change of heart by the state on an issue close to the heart of Robin A. Berg.

She says saying goodbye to a name she carried for 38 years was hard--a name she'd made a name with professionally.

"I was concerned if I completely got rid of my maiden name, then being out in the world people wouldn't find me."

The Department of Revenue will soon make the emergency rule permanent.

Before this emergency action, people could change their names but they had to go through the court process to get it done. The DMV will now make people who want to change their middle name attest that they're not doing it to evade the law. Those who get caught lying will have their licenses revoked.