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, May 01, 2009

Death Penalty Passes Out Of Committee

The Death Penalty Bill has passes out of Senate Appropriation 6-4 on straight party lines. The next hearing should be on Monday in the Senate for second reading.
The Denver Post

A bill that would repeal the death penalty in Colorado won yet another vote today, but storm clouds appear to be gathering over the effort at the state Capitol.

The Senate Appropriations Committee passed the bill this morning on a 6-4 party-line vote. It now goes to the full Senate, and the bill's sponsors say they are unsure whether it will be able to survive that vote, which could come as early as today.

"My sense is it's a close call," Sen. Morgan Carroll, an Aurora Democrat who is the bill's Senate sponsor, said. "So it could go either way."

The bill, House bill 1274, would repeal the death penalty as a sentencing option going forward and would use the money saved from not prosecuting and appealing such cases - estimated to be at least $1 million a year - to fund the cold case unit in the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. The sentences for the two men on Colorado's death row would remain.

In the Appropriations Committee this morning, Republicans questioned whether Carroll could actually guarantee the saved money would be used to solve cold cases.

"Counting on good will in the general assembly is like believing in Santa Claus," Sen. Al White, R-Hayden, said.

Carroll said she would follow up to ensure the money gets to the state's cold case unit. Though Republicans pointed out that a number of local police departments already have their own cold case units and that the added money to the state's unit would likely have little impact, Carroll said it's a start. There are at least 1,400 unsolved murders going back several decades in Colorado; the state's cold case unit has a single employee assigned to it full-time.