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.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

AG Holder: Prisons Not The Answer

Chicago Sun-Times

More prisons are not the answer to America’s crime problems, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told the nation’s lawyers Monday.

“We will not focus exclusively on incarceration as the most effective means of protecting public safety,” Holder told the American Bar Association delegates meeting here for their annual convention. “Since 2003, spending on incarceration has continued to rise, but crime rates have flattened.”

Holder conceded that the massive build-up of prisons — a seven-fold increase over the past 40 years — probably has something to do with the crime rate dropping 40 percent since 1991.

“Today, one out of every 100 adults in America is incarcerated — the highest incarceration rate in the world,” he said. But the country has reached a point of diminishing returns at which putting even greater percentages of America’s citizens behind bars won’t cut the crime rate.

That’s in part because once people spend time in prison, they’re likely to keep engaging in the kind of behavior that sends them back to prison, he said.

“Most crimes in America are committed by people who have committed crimes before,” Holder said. “About 67 percent of former state prisoners and 40 percent of former federal prisoners are re-arrested within three years of release. If we can reduce the rate of recidivism, we will directly reduce the crime rate.”

Prisoners who undergo drug treatment and/or work training in prison are 16 percent less likely to re-offend after their release, he said.

Diverting non-violent drug offenders away from prison and into treatment programs, as New York State does, saves taxpayers money, better rehabilitates offenders and helps reduce the crime rate, Holder said.


Anonymous said...

Inmates need not only the rehabilitation and treatment programs, they need the transitional phase of release. Most inmates need to be allowed to transition back into society. Transitional programs give inmates housing, food, clothing, and aside from rehabilitation and treatment (which should be provided in prison), they are taught job humting skills, bill paying, and other normal day to day responsibilities that they have not practiced or learned while incarcerated.
Inmates are thrown directly from prison (where they have no normal societal responsibilities and are allowed to make almost no decisions) into a cold, cruel world with no money, no job skills, no homes, no way to survive until they are able to find a djob and get that first paycheck. Especially with the job market and economy the way it is currently, that could be some time. Gattine a job for anyone right now is difficult, but try it with felony convicitons, prison, no job history, no skills, no transportation, no proper clothing or transportation, etc. They are given a $100 gate check to survive on for however long it takes. That is good for about 1 day by the time you buy food, pay for a cheap room, buy a set of street clothes, buy a bus ticket and a way to make telephone calls, and perhaps a couple of newspapers for the classifieds. Little wonder so many parolees return to lives of crime. They are forced to do whatever it is they know in order to survive. You almost can't blame them, but rather they system that dumped them onto the streets so ill prepared to succeed. What does anyone expect?

Anonymous said...

AG Holder is to be commended for telling the nations lawyers that locking non violent people up is wrong!! I certainly hope Senator Webb stays busy and gets the criminal justice system overhauled. This country should have one of the lowest incarceration rates in the world instead of the highest. djw

Anonymous said...

Gate money is only give to first time parolees. It's a one time thing. Many of these people have been in the system before and don't get it when they're released. They also don't take into consideration that a lot of them have child support to pay...add that to the mix of fees, court costs, restitution, etc.

DOC moves people depending on their "points". I have yet to figure out how that system works, but for the most part, my husband will be in medium closed custody for his entire sentence...and DOC seems to think that's not a problem...higher security and no way to transition to a lower level because of those "points"!

It's unbelievable how little common sense DOC really has!

Speaking For Many said...

It all makes perfect sense when you consider that the political CDOC incarcerates for the MONEY for THEMSELVES. Be damned with the humanity being warehoused as commodities for personal PROFIT.

If public safety were the #1 issue as Ari Zavaras CONSTANTLY spouts, why then are many innocent people in prison while the actual criminal is free to roam among society? What about it, Ari, Ritter and foul judges? This PROVES that *public safety* is NOT #1.


Timothy Masters
Todd Newmiller
Clarence Moses
Timothy Kennedy

These 4 men are ONLY 4 that I know about in Colorado. There must be so many more that are wrongfully convicted. Some states provide financial compensation for those found innocent through years of wrongful imprisonment. Colorado is a national disgrace!!! Politicians and CDOC don't care if the actual criminal is walking among society. PUBLIC SAFETY BE DAMNED. TELL THE TRUTH!!!

All of this ties in with the judicial misconducts, including the laws that *dismiss* inmates upon release without preparing them for the culture shock.

Add to that (as the commentator above stated) the profit-making restitution, child support, discrimination in jobs and rent, and what do you have? More MONEY for CDOC. It's a recipe for hopelessness and failure, and these liars and narcissists KNOW IT.

Keep the fight going. The behavior of CDOC and certain names need to be presented to the highest level of government in the United States for their own apathy in occupations that require passion in TRUE justice. Those who falsify need to be held accountable! NO IMMUNITY!

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