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.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Ex-Con Transforming Lives

The Gazette

Weldon Long was back in a halfway house last month, but not as a client.

The ex-convict was at ComCor Inc. to talk with about two dozen of the community corrections agency's female clients about how to, as he says, "transform their lives."

Long started his speech by giving his Colorado Department of Corrections number - 57676. The number conveys instant respect among convicts because it shows he was an "old-timer" in prison - new prisoners now get numbers higher than 146500. Then, he told them his "inability to control myself" landed him in prison for the first time in 1987 and eventually cost him 13 years, including the first 10 years of his son's life.

"Nobody wants to be here. We have all promised ourselves it wouldn't happen again. I know what it feels like to promise your son that you wouldn't go to jail again and then call him from jail," Long told the women.

"I'm not here to preach to you; I'm here to share a couple of lessons. No matter how many times you have been knocked down, screwed over or had promises broken, it doesn't matter after today. Whatever got you here today, move beyond it."

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