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, February 15, 2009

Colorado Drug Prohibition: Good Public Policy?

The Examiner

By Frosty Wooldridge

Howard Wooldridge rode his horse from Savannah, Georgia to New Port Beach, Oregon to become the first man in the 21st century to ride coast to coast across America. He repeated the journey in 2005 to become the only man in history to ride both ways.

Why did he gallop across America? As a police officer, he attempted to stop the futile “War on Drugs” dragging on for the past 35 years.

War on Drugs! How is that working for us in Colorado? Is it reducing crime? Is it reducing rates of death and disease? Is it effective in keeping drugs and drug dealers away from our children? Since 1971 law enforcement has spent one trillion dollars in order to arrest 37 million people and fill hundreds of warehouses with dope. What progress do you see? Unfortunately, drugs prove cheaper, stronger and much easier to find and buy.

My brother, Officer Howard Wooldridge, fought on the side of the ‘good guys’ for 18 years in the War on Drugs, giving him a lot of actual experience in the trenches. After much time, consternation and out-and-out frustration in not achieving a single, stated goal in the long term, he came to the conclusion that we must be doing something wrong. No matter how many dealers police took off the streets, new ones popped up to take their places. The prices for drugs kept falling, indicating an oversupply. The purity kept increasing; heroin increased from 3.6 percent to near 50 percent purity between 1980 and 2007. The prison population kept increasing until over 70 percent of all inmates stem from drug-related charges


Anonymous said...

Its very obvious we need to legalize drugs and tax them like we have tobacco. Use the taxes for mental health, treatment centers and education. Seems like a correct policy as it would also close prisons all over the country and specially Colorado. djw

Anonymous said...

What and put all of those corrections people out of work and drop one of the only stocks that rises every day...the stock in CCA and GEO??? Common sense has no place in government! That's been proven over and over again!

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

Vice generally tends to be bad for the neighborhood, even if making it illegal everywhere is bad policy. Hence, the NIMBY politics that push for prohibition since no one wants it in their neighborhood.

Strip clubs and bars are also often bad neighbors.

But, it is an issue where local control and isolated islands of legality would undercut the harm of unregulated black markets.

Perhaps we need legal opium dens in select industrial areas, with FDA type purity control, and mandatory cab service home for patrons. Addicts would still destroy their lives, but the rest of us would be spared the drug deals gone bad, erratic drug addled drivers and impure/OD drug deaths.

Anonymous said...