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, December 22, 2008

Private Prison To Spur Competition

The real issue is that with modest changes we can have zero prison growth in this state and the need for private prisons diminishes.

Colorado lawmakers eager to avoid another series of ultimatums from the state’s dominant private prison contractor could find some relief after a Texas-based prison firm finishes a 1,250-bed prison near Hudson, northeast of Denver.

Charles Seigel, Cornell Companies’ vice president of public policy, said his company hopes the Colorado Department of Corrections will choose to do business with his company, particularly in light of past budget tussles.

“It certainly is in the state’s interest to have more than one vendor providing this service,” Seigel said.

A contract between Cornell Companies and the state could cut into Corrections Corporation of America’s hold over the majority of Colorado’s privately held prisoners.

According to Colorado Department of Corrections statistics, Corrections Corporation of America houses 4,436, or 82 percent, of the state’s privately held prisoners.

The firm’s corner on private prison contracts contributed to a budget fight last session, when lawmakers said they felt they were being extorted when the prison firm asked for a higher per prisoner, per day reimbursement rate.

In March, the Legislature approved a “compromise” that allowed the private prison company to receive a modest increase in its reimbursement rate.

Sen.-elect Al White, R-Hayden, said Cornell Companies’ plans could lead to competition and lower per prisoner, per day reimbursement rates.

White, who sits on the Joint Budget Committee, said the firm’s new prison could “give the state more leverage in pricing discussion.”

The budget panel is expected to discuss the Colorado Department of Corrections’ budget, including its private prison contracts, Tuesday afternoon.

Seigel said his firm has not entered into any negotiations with the state but hopes to pursue a contract as soon as its new prison is completed in autumn 2009.

Cornell Companies already operates the High Plains Correctional Facility, a women’s prison near Brush, and the South Peaks Regional Treatment Center, a juvenile rehabilitation center near Canon City.

Grand Junction Sentinel


Anonymous said...

Wouldnt it be wonderful if the colorado legislatures would read the constitution. Its called slavery to use inmates for profit. Plain old involuntary servitude. They just dont get it, a private prison for profit will, cut food rations, medical, personnel, ect to be able to make a profit. It seems this issue needs to go to court and be challenged for constitutionality?? I could easily argue that the corporations primary goal of profits comes before the welfare of the prisoner!!! djw

Anonymous said...

Christine's and djw are right on this issue.
Colorado could easily close half of the prisons and convert them to medical and drug treatment centers. Unfortunately the DOC/Denver Police Department management would have to go, AND FIRE EVERY current parole officer, AND the current correctional officers whose only goal in life is to put people back into prison, AND people who really care about not busting the budget and who really care about human life need to be put into the right positions to make this happen this year. This is the year to do this!! We have a wealth of persons who need jobs that are far more qualified that the DOC management, correctional officers, and the parole board.
Unfortunately, the HAPLESS ACLU or a ballot initiative need to be brought to force the DOC and the legislature to obey the state and US Constitutions, which this system violates each and every day of the year.mpc

Anonymous said...

MPC, your right on and 2009 is the year to do it. I could easily carry a potition addressing every issue you mention. That would be change for the good for the entire state. When do you want to start? My group is organizing to legally force DOC to follow the constitution. Watch for our link. djw

Anonymous said...