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

Homelessness and Parole



Carol Peeples, Re-entry Coordinator



(DENVER, Colorado) August 4, 2009 – Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition (CCJRC) released a report today that examines the growing rate of homelessness among people leaving prison. The first-of-its-kind report explores why as many as one-fourth of the parolees in Denver are homeless after release from prison.

CCJRC undertook the study of 48 homeless men and women on parole after shelter providers voiced concerns about the rising number of homeless parolees.

“This report is vital in showing the changes and challenges that need to be addressed to ensure that parolees are successful with employment and re-entry to their communities, thus reducing costs to the taxpayer,” said Deborah Ortega, Regional Services Director for Denver Human Services.

The CCJRC report found a 71% unemployment rate for the parolees interviewed. “Besides trying to find a job, parolees also struggled to find clothes, get their ID, get to parole meetings and classes, get tested for drugs, etc. And they do it all by bus,” said Carol Peeples, Re-entry Coordinator for CCJRC and the report’s author.

Some parolees described being frightened or overwhelmed. “You know when you take a cat out and dump it off?” said one parolee. “That’s what you feel like. You’re scared. ” Another parolee said, “No doors open to people. I shave, I shower every day. Still, people look at you like you’re a bucket of slime. I used to be a strong person. That’s all gone.”

“With the state looking to save money in corrections, people should start looking pretty closely at how hard it is to start over after getting out of prison, especially if you’re homeless,” said Peeples. “We are churning people back into our prisons at an untenable rate.” During fiscal year 2008, 3,353 people admitted to Colorado’s prisons were people who had been released from prison but re-incarcerated for a technical violation of their parole.

“Homelessness and Parole: A Survey of Denver’s Shelters” is the most recent report from CCJRC, a nonprofit organization that works to reduce the rate of incarceration in Colorado. The report contains eleven recommendations where changes in policies and practices may help reduce the number of people reduced homeless from corrections or shorten the length of time parolees are homeless.

The full report is attached to this press release. It is also available online at www.ccjrc.org.

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