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.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Factbox; Shrinking State Budgets


NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. states are resorting to some unusual measures to balance budgets as the economic recession decimates their revenue.

States are forbidden from running a deficit, forcing political leaders to resort to spending cuts or tax hikes during times of stress.

Forty-six U.S. states face fiscal 2010 budget deficits totaling at least $130 billion, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. During the current fiscal year, 42 states were hit with mid-year shortfalls of a combined $60 billion, according to the Washington think-tank.

That compares with the $1.8 trillion deficit run up by the federal government, which is allowed to operate with a deficit.

So far this year, 23 states have enacted tax increases and another 13 are considering similar moves.

Here are some of the measures that have been enacted or proposed:

* Prison Cuts

Colorado, Kansas, Michigan, North Carolina and Washington have closed prisons this year as a cost-cutting measure.

New York State and Kentucky changed sentencing laws and bolstered substance abuse programs to keep more drug offenders out of prison. New York expects its changed regulations to save the state about a quarter of a billion dollars a year.

The U.S. has the world's largest prison population with one in every 31 adults in the corrections system, which includes jail, prison, probation and supervision. States spent a record $51.7 billion on corrections in fiscal 2008.

* "Sin" taxes

Arkansas, Colorado, Hawaii, Florida, Mississippi, Kentucky, Rhode Island and Vermont have increased tobacco taxes.

Wyoming and Maine changed the method for taxing tobacco products to base them on weight.

New York raised taxes on beer, wine and cigars.

Kentucky ended its sales tax exemption on alcoholic beverages.

California is mulling legalizing marijuana and charging a $50-per-ounce tax on it along with the state's sale tax.


Anonymous said...

Now here, ladies and gentlemen, is a perfect example of duplicity in media:

"Colorado ...... have closed prisons this year as a cost-cutting measure."

How many prisons were closed?

How many prisons have been adding (constructing) to their existing facilities and how many are being prepared to open for corporate business as usual, including CSP and Cornell for starters? Did the state of Colorado accept Arizona inmates to occupy Walsenburg, therefore increasing their prison occupancy and causing chaos in private-run Kit Carson C.C., or are we expected to roll over and play dead instead of connecting the dots?

The answer, of course, is the latter. There continues to be far more increases in prisons and prisoners. This article is highly misleading to those who don't know the fraudulent actions of the DOC and how the media distorts the truth.

Let's talk about program, educational and health care cuts for the inmates. Let's talk THE TRUTH.

This is more than insulting!

Anonymous said...

The above writer is correct. What i wonder is how Colorado will deal with further declines in next 5 years. I dont believe there will be any more stimulous money for Ritter to use to keep all his jails, prisons and there salarys running. Will be of interest at the end of this year to see an audit which will probably show a juggeling of funds. DJW

Barney said...

What prisons has Colorado closed? The only one I am aware of is the women's facility in Canon City. However, it is my understanding that that facility will be converted, and will soon reopen and house male prisoners (much like the juvenile facility that was closed in Pueblo turned right around and began housing women inmates). Our prison population has not decreased in any way, shape, or form. That is propoganda to convince the public that something positive is being done about our prison population. Don't be duped and don't believe it!
Our prison population continues to climb, although the crime rate has plateaued or decreased over the past years. One of Gov Ritter's campaign promises was to do more early releases and to parole more prisoners. That has not happened at all. When he took office, we had somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 early releases that month. This past month, there were only 248. That is half as many, not twice as many as promised. Gov Ritter's promises are all useless where it comes to the our faulty criminal system. He made many during his campaign. He has kept NONE!!!!!