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.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Prison Closures And Education Cuts For Colorado

Rocky Mountain News

Colorado must close prisons, slice roughly $225 million from schools and higher education and suspend property-tax breaks for senior citizens to close its funding shortfall, Gov. Bill Ritter's budget director said Tuesday.

The proposals are part of approximately $823 million in personnel and service cuts Ritter proposed for the budget year beginning on July 1. The governor also hopes to take some $264 million out of earmarked funds to keep government services running, Office of State Planning and Budgeting Director Todd Saliman told the Joint Budget Committee.

Sales and income tax revenues, which are dropping sharply this recession, were forecast last month to be roughly $1 billion short of the expenditures Ritter proposed for fiscal year 2009-10. Saliman earlier this month announced about $201 million in cuts to be made over the next six months but warned then that reductions for the next year are going to be much worse.

Those proposed reductions include closure of the Rifle Correctional Facility and the Colorado Women's Correctional Facility in Canon City, as well as a delay in the opening of a new maximum-security prison in Fremont County. They include cuts of about $125 million to K-12 education and $100 million to higher education and the three-year suspension of the Homestead Tax Exemption for seniors and disabled veterans who have owned their homes for 10 years.

Reactions to the cuts varied.

Environment Colorado legislative director Pam Kiely praised Ritter for not cutting air- and water-quality programs deeply.

Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition Executive Director Christie Donner suggested the prison closings are not crippling because the state has enough open beds in private and public prisons to house all of the inmates.

But Sen. Abel Tapia, D-Pueblo, said the final decisions on the cuts will be very difficult to make.

"I am very aware of the deep and lasting impact this will have on Coloradans," Tapia said.


Anonymous said...

To take away the homestead exemption tax from DIABLED VETERANS as well as SENIOR citizens is about as low a blow as you jerks running state government can do. How about cutting your own salarys at least 20% till this depression is over. This isnt a little recession were in. How do you intend to fund keeping 21000 people locked up for the next 10 years. Isnt someone in State government smart enough to see what is happening with foreclosures, job losses, homeless people. If your expecting Obama's stimulus plan to bail you out forget it. That will only keep people alive for the next 10 years. djw

Anonymous said...

Yea! Call it like it is. Pass out dunce caps to the legislators wearing blinders; or are they oxigen deprived? Close all corporate operated facilities and parole the inmates eligible; 8500 of them...

Anonymous said...