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 29, 2009

Drug Court Provides Second Chance

The Coloradoan

Larimer County program helps people stop the cycle of substance abuse

With Colorado's jails and prisons near or at capacity and the country's war on drugs drawing widespread criticism, treatment for people battling drug addiction can be a political hot potato.

There are those who think the best treatment for addicts is to lock them away as punishment for their crimes, while others contend too much money and time are spent fighting the battle against illegal drugs and their effects.

Whatever side of the debate people choose, there's no doubt our country and our communities continue to face a serious drug problem, a problem that destroys people's lives and families.

From 1999 to 2004, the number of narcotics arrests made in the 8th Judicial District more than doubled, according to Compass of Larimer County.

In that time, most local law enforcement agencies reported significant increases in arrests, including: 67 percent for the Fort Collins police department; 284 percent for the Larimer County Sheriff's Office; and 256 percent for the Loveland Police Department.

Nationally, two-thirds of all adults arrested and more than half of juveniles arrested test positive for illicit drugs at the time of their arrest, according to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.

Certainly, these statistics detailing drug use are daunting. However, so is the road to recovery most addicts must travel.

Fortunately, there is help for Larimer County residents seeking to stop the cycle of substance abuse in their lives.

This month, 10 people graduated from the county's drug court, an intensive supervision program bringing together counselors, judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys to actively and forcefully intervene and disrupt addiction and crime.