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.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

House GOP Wants To Cut Drug War

Wow....the things you hear said out loud these days.

When President Obama's drug czar declared an end to the war on drugs, Republicans were apparently listening closely.

House GOP leadership now wants to cash in the peace dividend.

Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio) and Whip Eric Cantor (Va.) released a set of proposed budget cuts Thursday that included trimming $220 million from drug war spending over the next five years.

The duo propose eliminating the National Drug Intelligence Center, saving $44 million the first year and $220 million over five years, they say.

The NDIC "has been the subject of significant public debate recently because it unnecessarily duplicates the work of other agencies and its justification seems to have more to do with its powerful patron than its benefits to the taxpayer," the leadership team offers.

The NDIC referred a call to the Department of Justice, which did not immediately respond.

The Republicans don't spell out just who that patron might be, but let's piece it together: the center is located in Johnstown, a rural piece of Pennsylvania that may seem an odd place for a drug intelligence center. The area also happens to be represented by Democrat Jack Murtha, an appropriations subcommittee chairman who directs millions each year to government projects in his district. Currently at the center of a pay-for-pork scandal, Murtha is favorite target of Republicans and a close ally of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

He's also an unabashed supporter of the earmark process and isn't backing down on the NDIC.

"I don't want to point out the obvious here, but for the past few years Republican's were opposed to the NDIC because it wasn't funded in the President's budget, yet this year they are opposed to the NDIC because the President recommended funding it. Make up your mind," said Murtha spokesman Matthew Mazonkey. "What gets lost in this Republican flip-flop distraction is the actual substance to their arguments, and that's because they have none. I don't think anyone is shocked to learn that Republicans haven't a clue what they are talking about when it comes to the NDIC."