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, July 30, 2009

Advocates Unhappy With Ineffectiveness

The Denver Daily News

Juvenile sentencing reform advocates are frustrated with what they see as the ineffectiveness of the juvenile clemency board, the program created by Gov. Bill Ritter to potentially reduce or absolve the sentences of juvenile offenders. Meanwhile, supporters of the program say the board is properly serving its function.

When Ritter established the juvenile clemency board two years ago, many juvenile sentencing reform advocates applauded the move. Lawmakers had changed the law in Colorado in 2006 so that inmates who committed crimes as juveniles but were sentenced as adults could be eligible for parole after 40 years in prison. But the new law was not retroactive, leaving 45 Colorado inmates with their original lengthy sentences and most of them without the possibility of parole.

Both sides of the issue debated the case Monday on Colorado Matters, a show on Colorado Public Radio. Mary Ellen Johnson of the Pendulum Foundation, a Colorado non-profit that serves juveniles incarcerated in the adult prison system, said she thought the board, which passes on its recommendation to Ritter who then has the final say, would have granted clemency by now because she believes there have been several good candidates.

One of those candidates who applied and was denied clemency is Trevor Jones. According to Johnson, Jones — who was sentenced for a supposed accidental 1996 shooting that occurred when he was 17 years old — has had a near-perfect record while serving his sentence.

“What more could a candidate do?” Johnson asked on the radio program.

Dietrick Mitchell has also had his case reviewed and denied by the clemency board. According to his mother, who appeared on Colorado Matters, Mitchell was 16 years old when he was in a hit-and-run accident that killed a 14-year-old boy. Mitchell, who was drunk when the hit-and-run occurred, was sentenced at the time to life without parole, though his sentence was reduced to 40 years because of an error discovered after sentencing.


Anonymous said...

CCJJ ? ? ? What will it take for people to realize that this ineffective group needs to be abolished ? ? ? They only 'sound' good, they don't 'do' good.

It appears apathetic people are dependant on politicians, expecting them to do the ethical decisions. Are Coloradans just as unethical as their most of their politicians? It seems so. Only the people are worse for permitting this group to continue with their facade.

Anonymous said...

None of Gov Ritter's promise penal reforms have netted anything of any value. He is all lip service. He promised to work to do away with mandatory parole (NOTHING). He promised more early prison releases(NOTHING). He promised to decrease the Colorado prison population (NOTHING). He promised to decrease the number of prisons in ths state (NOTHING). He is obviously a man of many words, but no follow through.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I forgot, he also promised to advocate for more rehabilitation facilities and provide more rehab as opposed to purely punitive measures with no help (that also is a big NOTHING).

Anonymous said...

I agree, Ritter is a big nothing, all talk and no show. djw

Anonymous said...

I agree also. Ritter has many people upset over his many lies. We also must question the individuals that Ritter appointed to other branches (the inept CCJJ for one) during his reign as King of Colorado.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Ritters appointments, how about Ari Zavaras as CDOC director??? Also his parole board appointment and what has he done to make the attorney regulation and or the judges judicial board accountable? All a complete failure?djw

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