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 28, 2009

Stimulus Funds Go To Treatment

Making it to treatment is not a success?

On Monday, two Mesa County commissioners squabbled over the details of a $730,074 federal grant to treat methamphetamine addicts, and a third commissioner peppered the local sheriff with questions about a grant for a $213,716 crime-fighting vehicle.

In the end, though, all the grant requests were approved, including a $3.13 million request to expand the county jail and $269,114 to train state prisoners to be janitors.

Commissioners Janet Rowland and Steve Acquafresca locked horns last week discussing what funds the county should seek as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. One of the items was “scholarships” for treatment of meth addicts who have been arrested.

The federal dollars, if approved, would be distributed through the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice and are to be used by addicts to seek treatment at a variety of locations, including the county’s Summit View treatment facility (which has 24 county beds), Hilltop and The Salvation Army.

Rowland favored applying for the financing. Acquafresca also did, but he took exception to the verbiage.

“They are calling it a scholarship,” an irritated Acquafresca said after the initial meeting on the subject.

“Scholarships are generally perceived as a reward, a reward for an accomplishment. What the heck kind of an accomplishment is it to go in for methamphetamine treatment? That is not a compliment — that is a failure. So we are rewarding people for failures.”