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 29, 2008

Webb Sets His Sights On Prison Reform

Washington Post

By Sandhya Somashekhar
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 29, 2008; B01

Somewhere along the meandering career path that led James Webb to the U.S. Senate, he found himself in the frigid interior of a Japanese prison.

A journalist at the time, he was working on an article about Ed Arnett, an American who had spent two years in Fuchu Prison for possession of marijuana. In a January 1984 Parade magazine piece, Webb described the harsh conditions imposed on Arnett, who had frostbite and sometimes labored in solitary confinement making paper bags.

"But, surprisingly, Arnett, home in Omaha, Neb., says he prefers Japan's legal system to ours," Webb wrote. "Why? 'Because it's fair,' he said."

This spring, Webb (D-Va.) plans to introduce legislation on a long-standing passion of his: reforming the U.S. prison system. Jails teem with young black men who later struggle to rejoin society, he says. Drug addicts and the mentally ill take up cells that would be better used for violent criminals. And politicians have failed to address this costly problem for fear of being labeled "soft on crime."

It is a gamble for Webb, a fiery and cerebral Democrat from a staunchly law-and-order state. Virginia abolished parole in 1995, and it trails only Texas in the number of people it has executed. Moreover, as the country struggles with two wars overseas and an ailing economy, overflowing prisons are the last thing on many lawmakers' minds.

But Webb has never been one to rely on polls or political indicators to guide his way. He seems instead to charge ahead on projects that he has decided are worthy of his time, regardless of how they play -- or even whether they represent the priorities of the state he represents.


Anonymous said...

We commend Senator Webb and also support him. Now we need to make the Colorado DOC FAIR. Were going to get started in January. Watch for a link.DJW

Anonymous said...

The Senator is right on target. Unfortunately a lonely voice in politics of the prison/attorneys/judges/police industrial complex.

Anonymous said...

DJW. Thank you! I can't be the only one looking forward to your link and supporting it with all of my might.

I have been an admirer of Sen. Webb for years. I saw his compassion and progressive speeeches and actions. Virginia is very fortunate to have this wonderful man working for them. As a progressive thinker, he will gather more people to his experienced values. Hence, reform. The only politician that I have viewed as helpful in the area of prison reform is Rep. Buffie McFadyen, a democrat serving the Pueblo region. She has come forward on many issues with genuine concern. Rep. McFadyen took the time to visit North Fork C.F. ((Oklahoma) with Ari Zavaras several months prior to the transition to back home to Colorado. My son had the opportunity to meet her. She honors and works for all of us. Rep. McFadyen is the best we have in Colorado. She is a genuinely GOOD woman.

I'm not surprised that Sen. Webb is coming forward and shines above the rest. Watch this man carefully. If you appreciate fairness, honesty and compassion in the legal system, he is your guy. He is a genuinely GOOD man.

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