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.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Editorial- Judges Sentenced

This is just bad
The setting is Pennsylvania coal country, but it's a story right out of Dickens' grim 19th-century landscape: Two of Luzerne County's most senior judges on Monday were accused of sending children to jail in return for kickbacks.

The judges, Luzerne County President Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., 58, and his predecessor, Senior Judge Michael T. Conahan, 56, will serve seven years in jail under a plea agreement.

They're alleged to have pocketed $2.6 million in payments from juvenile detention center operators.

When a federal judge reviews their plea, though, the question ought to be whether the punishment is adequate - along with the judges being bounced from the bench, disbarred, and losing their pensions.

If the allegations are true, Ciavarella and Conahan were involved in a disgraceful cabal far worse than one that merely lined their pockets.

First, the judges helped the detention centers land a county contract worth $58 million. Then their alleged scheme was to guarantee the operators a steady income by detaining juveniles, often on petty stuff.

Many of the kids were railroaded, according to allegations lodged with the state Supreme Court last year by the Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center, an advocacy group.

In asking the court to intervene in April, the law center cited hundreds of examples where teens accused of minor mischief were pressured to waive their right to lawyers, and then shipped to a detention center.

One teen was given a 90-day sentence for having parodied a school administrator online. Such unwarranted detentions left "both children and parents feeling bewildered, violated and traumatized," center lawyers said.


Anonymous said...

Isn't it loverly; How easy it could be for our judiciary to work together to stack the odds, fill the pockets of corporate corrections; accept paybacks for the favor. How much money might it be costing the Colorado taxpayer to line the court players pockets? It might work something like this; mandatory minimum - max., they work together to give the max.; for every year over minimum the court collects $1500 and spreads out the take. For every conviction/plea bargain add 2.5 years to sentence. For every 200 warehoused humans the courtroom workgroup could collect $750,000.

Anonymous said...

what about all the colorado prosecutors who use deciet, false charges against citizens, to get convictions. Colorado prisons are full of victimized inmates. The Denver DA's office has a judge that helps them. djw

Anonymous said...

and...Lets not forget the state legislature. Lobbiest influence / corporate corrections and prison builders...Just how does that pay off work?

Anonymous said...

I so agree! Colorado seems to have an I do not care about anyone but ME< ME< ME.
Let me destroy your life!! I know I can> I know I can...
And the biggest hypocrites are Weld County!1

Anonymous said...