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.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Jeffco Gets Drug Court

Will treatment be funded....the 64,000 question...

GOLDEN — Beginning early next year, some of the people convicted of drug-related felonies in Jefferson County won't be sent to jail.

Instead, they will head to drug court, where nonviolent offenders will receive intensive substance-abuse treatment, have their cases managed and be tested for drugs.

They'll also face sanctions if they stumble — including revocation of probation and a trip to jail — and incentives if they succeed.

"I don't believe they are hopeless. Sometimes they haven't heard that," said District Judge M.J. Menendez, who will have frequent contacts with offenders as she presides over the drug court. "We can't keep putting people in prison."

Jefferson County officials believe the drug court — which initially will cost about $150,000 — will cut expenses by diverting people from jail while increasing the likelihood of breaking the cycle that has put people in the criminal justice system.

The National Association of Drug Court Professionals estimates that drug courts reduce recidivism by an average of 8 percent to 26 percent.

Jefferson County Commissioner Jim Congrove noted drug court's humane aspects, saying, "It will help them get off drugs and will keep families together."

A task force of representatives from courts, probation, diversion, mental health services, social services, district attorney's office and public defender's office developed the plan over the past year.

People sentenced to probation for nonviolent drug-related felonies will be screened and recommended to drug court by probation and diversion officers.

"These are offenders who've already been determined to be a low safety risk to the community," said Jefferson County District Attorney Scott Storey.

The Denver Post