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 25, 2008

Life Was Slipping--But Man Got Traction

This story is a testament to the Road Called Strate and the wonderful work that they do, as well as other community groups in Denver who are called upon and don't recieve the support from the state that they should.
Rocky Mountain News

Carl Anderson is home for the holidays. He was last year, too. But last year, home was a 16th Street Mall bench, or a mattress at the Denver Rescue Mission.

He was homeless last Christmas. He is homeless no more.

Now, Anderson has an apartment. His wife, Tammy, is with him. And their daughter, Kirelle.

Last year, he was alone and wasn't sure where he was going to sleep.

"I was five weeks in Jesus Saves, give or take," he said. "I was five weeks in bus stops. I didn't have no place to sleep, no bed. The mall bench - that was my house, man."

His troubles began long before last year. He moved from Louisiana to Denver about 10 years ago. Then he started messing with drugs - dealing and doing. He went to prison, lost his home, almost lost his family.

He was in a halfway house in Colorado Springs - no room in Denver - when he was released.

His wife was pregnant and in jail in Denver. So he came home, even though he had no home to come to.

The baby was due in weeks. And Anderson was sweating. He feared that when his wife gave birth, if he couldn't prove he had a permanent address, the government would take his baby away.

"In order to find a place to live, you have to have a job," he said.

So he was handing out resumes to any business that would take them.

He put up with the glares from people who were better off, tried to ignore others who looked beyond him, not seeing him.

"I was walking and praying," he said.

Thanks to a chance encounter in downtown Denver, he found hope where he had none, a job when he was out of work.

"It all came together like Super Glue," he said.

At the time, Ray Washington was working for A Road Called STRATE, a nonprofit that offers counseling and other help to guys down on their luck as well as fatherhood classes to recently discharged inmates and to single dads or those who have lost custody of their children. STRATE stands for Society's True Rehabilitative Attitude Toward Ex-Offenders. The Colorado Department of Human Services funds the fatherhood program.

"I was on the mall, recruiting dads for my program, handing out cards," Washington said.

Anderson asked Washington what he was doing.

"I handed him a card. I told him to come and see me. And he did," Washington said. "I gave out about 20 cards. He's the only one who came to see me."

Washington brought Anderson into the program.

"They gave me a lead on jobs. They have a clothing bank. They gave me bus tokens. They gave me food, and I didn't have any place to cook it. I was just thankful for the food," Anderson said.


Anonymous said...

The story is great however, why doesnt rehabilitation and help start when the individual is incarcerated??? Here in Colorado the DOC uses the word Corrections, but there isnt any!!! Colorado DOC penalizes the family's of inmates as well.
The programs of Colorado DOC are 100 years behind times.
Look at there budget, 1/3 goes to the adminstration sitting in there office's in Colorado Springs!!! Thats just the beginning of the waste that goes on all thru the system.djw

Anonymous said...

While I don't doubt there are a lot of community groups who assist offenders and parolees, I'd like to know why the help that's there isn't found until it's too late. I have found numerous groups that help offenders AFTER the fact. Why isn't more being done for outreach? Why aren't these options given to parolees by their parole officers? I have been to the parole office there is nothing there flyers or anything that give offenders somewhere to turn for help even if it's just emotional support. And we sure know that asking a PO for that is a one way ticket to a parole revocation! How do these groups get the word out???

Anonymous said...

To explain all questions about parole and probation officers just ask, who trains them and controls them??? Of course CDOC, and the rest of the corrupt system of criminal justice!!! djw

Pamela Clifton and Christie Donner said...

CCJRC gave 23,000 copies of the GO Book to DOC for free...the Parole Officers have them as well. Information is readily available in the books.

Anonymous said...