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.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Treatment Resources Closing


December 26, 2008 - 10:15PM

Addiction is a word that's lost its punch.

It describes our fondness for favorite TV shows, our weakness for desserts - it's our terminology for anything pleasurable enough to be a temptation.

But with the impending loss of Colorado Springs' only detox program and a recession that's predicted to cut resources for treatment while pushing more people into addiction, substance-abuse experts believe there's a need to re-emphasize that true addiction is a public health problem, not a clever catchphrase.

"It's easy at this point for the general community to look at addiction and to kind of shrug off the seriousness of it because it is so talked about," said Michael McKelvey, who runs the Peak Addiction Recovery Center, one of the region's only inpatient rehabilitation centers focused exclusively on sobriety. "My concern is, it's a disease - it's a diagnosed illness that statistically will kill you if you don't treat it."

Yet, treatment options in the Colorado Springs area are dwindling. This week Peak Addiction found out it's losing its main source of funding, a $60,000-a-month federal grant to treat alcoholics and addicts 25 years old and younger. McKelvey said the 16-bed center will stay open but will have to shift gears to serve more private-paying and insured clients.

"It's awful. It's a horrible impact. To our community, that's a devastating loss," he said.

"Typically, people who really need help don't have money or insurance - and now, not a lot of community options."

That comes on top of two other recent announcements regarding cutbacks:

• Pikes Peak Mental Health announced a few weeks ago that it will close the 28-bed detox center The Lighthouse by the end of January because of funding deficiencies. Community organizations are scrambling to replace it but warn that any new program will likely be bare bones - perhaps just a set of beds where people can sleep off their intoxication safely.

• The Salvation Army reported earlier this month that because of funding issues, it will have to downsize its Adult Rehabilitation Center, which provides free residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation services. Capacity will be cut from 65 beds to 30.

The cuts hit a system that local homeless advocates and substance-abuse experts say was already insufficient. They acknowledge that effective, comprehensive treatment can be costly, but argue that research shows it's cheaper than the cost of not treating addicts when you factor in prison recidivism, crime, health care and social services. Still, that argument doesn't tend to go far in public policy.

"No one ever got elected on a ‘more treatment' platform," said David Friedman, co-founder and director of an addiction studies program for journalists and associate dean of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

The world of alcohol and drug addiction is complex, scientifically and socially.

Researchers continue to find hard evidence about how drugs and alcohol reshape the chemistry and structure of the brain, while treatment providers continually encounter stigmas and stereotypes as they make the case for services.

Take relapse. It is often treated as a sign of failure, even though providers say that's not the case. They compare addiction to chronic diseases such as diabetes or heart disease, where long-term maintenance might include a setback or two along the way.
Additionally, the poor choices that often lead to addiction, and the ugly impact it has, tend to make it a less sympathetic condition with the public than a physical malady such as diabetes.


Anonymous said...

Now is the time to strike. We need politicians who can step forward and make the logical difference between drug and mental illness, and violent crime.
If we shut down half the Colorado prisons we would save nearly $400 Million dollars. If we STOPPED BUILDING the new, unneeded supermax prison, that would save operating costs and millions of dollars of construction spending.
Does Ritter and Zavaras have the guts? No. Does the legislature have the guts...maybe. But we have to strike them NOW. Inform them of the issues and educate these new representatives before the administration continues to feed them outright lies.
President Eisenhower, a hero and a general in the armed forces, warned of military industrial complex that we ignored and got ourselves into 4 international and several local wars "to protect our (big business) interests".
Let us not turn our backs on the CORRUPT state/judicial/lawyer/legislature/prisons/private prison/police/sheriff industrial complex that is driving us to neglect health and education in this state.mpc

Anonymous said...

MPC, your right. Now is the time to clean up the corrupt mess here in Colorado. Eisenhower was right, yet the American voter ignored the warnings. Were rid of Busch on Jan 20th, although he isnt the only problem. Here in Colorado we have Ritter who was elected to clean up the Oens mess and hasnt. Instead he appointed Zavaras to continue building prisons and create more felons to sit in slavery.
Why dont we start a recall petion for Ritter?? Did he not lead people to believe he would stop the growth of prisons and clean up the Regime that runs DOC?? Also i believe he wanted to stop people from returning to prison??? Doesnt he realize you first have to release them? djw

Marcia said...


Interestingly, I have come across a website dealing with psychology and the narcissistic personality. While the author explains that all of us have narcisstic tendencies to lesser or greater degrees, I found the depth of her articles very enlightening.

These articles connect with everything that is going on in the justice system. The people. An imperative point to note is the degree of the inmates vs. the judges. The level of narcissism is bipolar. The judge is the "I win you lose" personality in the majority of cases. The inmate is the victim of the narcisstic power the judge abuses. In some cases, the inmate exhibits these traits also, but is trumped by the very same personality that is simply on the side of the law that permits them (judges) to use and abuse their sense of greatness upon the so-called lesser individual. Criminal minds sit on the benches as well, but are highly protected.

Please. For those interested in psychology and a better comprehension of the lack of concern for human nature, you might wish to bookmark this site for personal evaluation. It is well worth it considering the imperial attitudes of many in the political and DOC occupations.



Knowledge is power.


Marcia said...


For a more condensed reading, put this link in your browser. This information will definitely provide you with the essentials regarding the narcissistic personality traits. It is not only a man vs. woman relationship issue. Apply the traits to everyone, especially the political and DOC mentalities. It is so very evident.


The above article is easier to read and identifies the personality traits that lead to ego and lack of compassion in ANY form.

Marcia said...

OOPS! So very sorry! I wish the comments section had an edit button. The multiple posts would not be a problem. ;)

Disregard the above link (not the information). This is far easier reading and identifying.

Now...I will type this s-l-o-w-l-y. :)



Anonymous said...