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, April 21, 2009

Backing Off Of Sentencing Reform ...for now

The bill sponsors decided to have the Commission take a crack at sentencing reform..
9 news

DENVER (AP) - Facing opposition from district attorneys, Colorado lawmakers are dropping a plan to overhaul sentencing laws this year.

Instead, they hope to prod the state's criminal justice commission to tackle the issue.

Senate Majority Leader Brandon Shaffer announced the change of course on Tuesday at a news conference called by prosecutors to denounce the sentencing reform bill.

Shaffer says sponsors are rewriting the bill to direct the commission to recommend changes, with possible benchmarks or deadlines for action.

Attorney General John Suthers and DAs from across the state had assembled outside the Capitol to oppose the current version and welcomed the change.

Suthers warns that proposed changes may not be ready by the next session of the Legislature.

DENVER— Today, Senators John Morse (D-Colorado Springs), Morgan Carroll
(D-Aurora), and Brandon Shaffer (D-Longmont) announced a plan to offer a strike-below amendment to SB 286, the Sentencing Reform Bill. SB 286, sponsored by Senators Morse and Carroll in the Senate, was introduced last week and will be heard in Senate Judiciary Committee tomorrow at 1:30p.

In an effort to come up with long-term solutions to the state’s current budget problem, the Senators agreed to work closely with the Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice (CCJJ) to fix our budget problems as it pertains to the correctional system in Colorado while at the same time keeping Colorado safe. The strike-below will require the CCJJ to look into sentencing reform and come back to the legislature with suggestions by a date to be determined. More details about this amendment will be available tomorrow.

Senate Majority Leader Brandon Shaffer made the following remarks at a 12:30 rally today on the West Steps. The United States has always stood for democracy and freedom, and essential to that freedom is our judicial system. Public safety and justice are equal priorities in this state and in an effort to preserve fairness and public safety for all Coloradans, we introduced SB 286, but we realized that with a little more than two weeks left in the session this topic needs more discussion. We will ask the Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice to look at sentencing reform and come back to the legislature in a timely manner with proposed
solutions. We need the best policies and the best long term solutions
for our budget problems, including sentence reform.

Senator John Morse is the Senate sponsor of 286 and the former Fountain police chief. To be clear: sentencing reform is not synonymous with sentence reductions, said Sen. Morse. Reform means just that: making changes to our correctional system to help it run more efficiently and to keep Colorado safe. All of us involved, the Governor, the DAs, the public defender, the victims groups, and the legislators, will make sure we are doing the right thing for our citizens, our budget, for our correctional system, and for Colorado.

Senator Morgan Carroll was the Senate co-sponsor of 286. 1 in 29 Coloradans are under correctional control and 74% of the prison population is serving for non-violent offenses, making corrections now the 3rd largest segment of Colorado's budget, said Sen. Carroll. It is critical that we continue to push for sentencing reform that makes the smartest policy choices based on evidence of what actually works and keeps us safe.

Every dollar we spend in corrections means a dollar we aren't spending on early childhood education, higher education, health care, mental health, economic development, or transportation. We owe it to the citizens of Colorado to at least make sure we are spending their tax dollars wisely."


Anonymous said...

I am truly disappointed in this. My husband will not be affected by the sentencing reform but it is completely ridiculous for CCJRC and the proponents of the bill to cave to the District Attorneys! They have a VESTED FINANCIAL INTEREST in putting away as many people as possible...it's quite obvious because they have been doing it for a very long time.

Has CCJRC gotten a look at the Pre-Release Program that DOC has instituted? It's nuts and a huge waste of money and it's mostly based on juvenile justice reforms from Johns Hopkins University...which has nothing to do with ADULT prison assistance. I think a lot of families are tired of the lip service and as usual no one gives a damn about us or the people we love who are in prison.

I can guarantee the people who tabled this bill can forget about my vote and a lot of other ones in the next election.

Pamela Clifton and Christie Donner said...

It's not just backing down to the DA's. Ritter said he wouldn't sign anything that wasn't vetted. The new bill gets it through the commission and on the table for next session. It was just introduced to late. The earned time bill is good though. Please read 1351..

Anonymous said...

I've read it. How about adding getting the 10 days a month for every month they have spent in jail??? That alone would add up to 70 days off of his sentence. CCJJ is lip service. It's been dragging on for over 2 years now and nothing has been accomplished. Parolees are still being revoked left and right for technical violations. They still get no assistance from their parole officers except being revoked when they ask for help.

The earned time bill is not good any time you leave it up to the discretion of the Exec Director of DOC to "grant" something like that. It should be a given just like the normal earned time. And so that saves money how? Releasing them 2 months early? The first 3 months of this year 100 LESS people each month have been granted early parole and we are back to paroling them to their MRD.

I'm angry because putting that reform bill out there got a lot of people's hopes up and for what? Just so they could turn tail and run. The next session is a year away. What about ending mandatory parole? Has anyone even given that serious consideration? That would save a huge amount of money. Statistics have proven that if they're going to fail parole, it's within 6 - 9 months of release. 1 year of parole for everyone should be enough. Then they should be able to get a traffic ticket like everyone else and not have their parole revoked! Our judicial system is terrible and draconian in this state...that is all there is to it.

Anonymous said...

Are private prisons part of PERA? IS Nolin Renfrow the only person in this state that had or has a vested interest in the private prisons?

Anonymous said...

Its pretty bad to cave in to vested interest's. DA's, AG John Suther and corrections people. Isnt it about time for our elected people to listen to, WE THE PEOPLE or dont we count??? It seems the appropriate time for my group to step forth, (Familys Voice for Inmates) which you will all be hearing from in the coming months. There are millions of us who havent said much yet about sentencing reform and a whole lot of other corrections issues that need to be changed. Watch for our coming web site. djw

John M. Riley said...

I hope that everyone who has a problems with DOC and criminal justice system in Colorado will voice there opinion to the Commission of Criminal and Juvenile Justice. Also contact public officials and write letters to the editor, etc.
Thoughtful and effective changes to the Criminal Justice system takes input from everyone- including offenders and families.
CCJRC is dedicated to producing positive and EFFECTIVE CHANGE to the criminal justice system in CO.
In Colorado many people still fail to admit that the system is broken and ineffective. We need your help, view points and advocacy to be successful in forwarding effective criminal justice solutions the next few months. We are all on the same side with the goal of changing the criminal justice system in Colorado.

John M. Riley, President of the Bd, CCJRC

Pamela Clifton and Christie Donner said...

Thank you for your thoughtful comment John. We certainly hope that people are contacting their legislators and the CCJJ with their concerns.

Anonymous said...

After years of tail'em, nail'em and jail'em, Colorado now has a prison population that the budget can no longer support. It's a huge disappointment that the legislators of Colorado would cave to cries from DA's and the AG who are more interested in filling the citizens with fear, all in the name of public safety, and filling the prisons, rather than taking a serious look at the badly broken system and better yet, trying to fix it!!

Please contact your legislators and let them know your thoughts and let them know that they have left the citizens of Colorado down with the wasteful spending in the name of public saftey!

There are other options out there, other than incarceration that are more effective and more cost effective. Please help to end another HUGE waste of taxpayer money in Colorado by signing the petition to end mandatory parole.. a sentence on top of a sentence... a system that is set up to keep the prison doors revolving.. a system that is eating huge chunks your hard earned money.


Anonymous said...

Let's not be negative...I was incarcerated for ten years, earned two college degrees, and got to lie around reading books and doing crossword puzzles. The state paid for room and board while I collected rental income on the outside. I recommend prison for everyone who wants to further himself in life! Oh, I also wrote a book and developed an awesome hard body. I look young, whereas all my friends on the outside seem to have aged.

Anonymous said...

Obviously the last poster is either a troll or someone who doesn't mind his loved ones spending a ton of money to take care of his while he's in "paradise". Get a grip and go bother someone else.

Anonymous said...

It is pathetic and disgusting to have CCJJ connected with CCJRC. CCJJ is primarily responsible for the ineptitude and deliberate inactions. If I were a member of CCJRC I would not only be immensely embarrassed to be associated with CCJJ, I would work hard to remove them. Sorry, CCJRC. As long as CCJJ is actively in league with your organization, there will be no financial donations from me. No bluff. I was ready, willing and quite able to donate on a monthly basis until I found out about a black-robed one in CCJJ that is pompous and contributes absolutely nothing except ego/personal recognition. As for the comment from the so-called ex-felon (above), what a laugh! SOMEbody had to add some major BS in attempts to soften the righteous anger and frustrations many are feeling ... except those in the judicial system who enjoy the negative attention - CCJJ! I suggest CCJRC be honest and show some indignation. The organization appears weak and lacks the courage to MAKE them (CCJJ) do their jobs!

Pamela Clifton and Christie Donner said...

Thank you for your comments. I do appreciate it..

Anonymous said...