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, April 17, 2009

On Death Row

The Gazette

Colorado's death penalty is on death row, so to speak, as the Colorado House of Representatives gave tentative approval Wednesday to a plan to end capital punishment and use the money to focus on unsolved cases instead. It's a pragmatic and common-sense proposal, and one that deserves bipartisan support when it proceeds to the Senate.
A dead person is dead, and the outcome can't be reversed. It's an exact science.

The pursuit of truth, by contrast, is an inexact science. Typically, for example, the truth of a murder is known only to the perpetrator and God. A jury doesn't usually know for certain that that person convicted of a crime indeed committed it. A jury must be convinced beyond "reasonable" doubt, not beyond all doubt. Beyond all doubt would be an impossible standard, because all traces of doubt can seldom be eliminated. And sometimes the truth resides in those traces of doubt, even in a criminal justice system that's better than most others around the globe

For that reason alone, we should eliminate the death penalty in Colorado. Convictions get reversed. When they do, those wrongly convicted of crimes can be set free and reparations can be made - unless they are dead. Contemporary science just hasn't found a way to reverse a death sentence once it has been carried out.