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, August 13, 2009

Colorado's Prisons Structured To Fail

The Examiner

Mike peers from beneath the sackcloth he uses as a blanket, watching coldly as the other shelter residents ready themselves for sleep. The room is lined with beds and smells of body odor and unwashed clothes. Near the entrance, several men are laughing at another man’s banal, explicit clowning. But Mike is not in the mood for nonsense. Restless and desperate, he wonders how much longer he can maintain.

It has been four weeks since he was released from prison, after serving four years for a child abuse charge. While in prison he came to terms with his problem, realizing he was addicted not only to his anger, but to the adrenaline rush it gives him. He vowed to himself when he was released that he would never go down that road again. He is prohibited from any contact with his son, and he understandingly complies. Required by his parole to attend anger management classes every week, he does so dutifully.

But the roadblocks for felony offenders in Colorado are wearing him down. He can’t secure employment beyond day labor because the ID card he was issued by the Department of Corrections is invalid for DMV or Social Security purposes. And his felony conviction has prohibited him from being accepted by every apartment he has applied for.

The only place that will accept him is the Salvation Army’s Crossroads homeless shelter, which is where many newly released prisoners end up. Entrance to the shelter is limited; residents are required to leave from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, rain or shine. Life in the shelter is not unlike prison. The other day, he watched as two former DOC inmates beat down another man in the smoking area out back and took all his money. A shelter volunteer, responsible for halting such activity, laughed as he watched and then did nothing. Very much like a prison guard.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did Mike work before he went to Prison??? If so he must have been issued a Social Security number. That number stays with him for life. Now he is out of prison after serving his sentence or getting out early for good behavior. Why all the doc rules hindering men like Mike from housing and work?? Cant the Colorado legislature tell the DOC what to do. These people released from prison should be able to move forward and get on with there lives without DOC interference.djw

rozydesouza said...

good one... thanks fro sharing.....
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rozy
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PATTY WADE said...

THIS IS A PRIME EXAMPLE OF THE COLORADO CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM AT ITS FINEST. I HAVE A SSN AND HAE BEEN TO THE DMV TO GET A REPLACMENT CO ID HOWEVER I WAS TOLD THAT I HAD TO GET SOCIAL ECURITY TO CHANGE MY NAME ON MY CARD TO MATCH MY ID. I WENT THERE AND EVEN WITH ALL MY DOCUMENTATION TO SUPPORT MY NAME CHANGE THEY WOULD'NT DO IT. THEY SAID I HAD TO GO TO THE COURTS TO GET A OFFICIAL NAME CHANGE WHICH, AS A FELON I CAN'T DO. HOW RIDICULOUS! SO HERE I SIT STILL WITHOUT A COLO ID AND SS CARD. THE COLO CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM SETS PEOPLE U TO FAIL AND IF NOTHING CHANGES THEN IT WILL ONLY GET WORSE.