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, August 23, 2009

The Unforgiven

Santa Cruz News

It’s a sweltering day in Tracy. July behind bars at Deuel Vocational Institution smells like sweat, bleach and old orange peels. Clifford Bair, a white-haired, goateed first-degree murderer—a lifer—perches under a barred window’s light and talks about the day 25 years ago in Bodega Bay when he tied up Theresa Aiken and Rose Fomasi with electrical wire and left them to die.

“I’d been up for three days drinking and doing speed,” says the 64-year-old convict. “After I tied her up, I couldn’t believe it but I found her keys in a bowl by the door. I took her car and I left. All I had wanted was to take her car. I remember the detective telling me Miss Aiken had died in the night. I wanted to die too. I still do.”

To hear him tell it, many decisions and circumstances led his younger self—strung-out, self-loathing and addicted to meth—to the front door of the 86-year-old Aiken, the “Mother of Bodega Bay,” that day in 1984. And since then, many more decisions have been made by Inmate Bair and by the state institutions charged with “correcting and rehabilitating” him.
Bair, according to DVI spokesman Lt. Gilbert Valenzuela, is like a majority of lifers over 40 years old: “one of the good ones.” Enrolled in classes, active in a prison-based job, he’s padded his résumé for 25 years in hopes of wresting freedom from California’s Board of Parole Hearings. Yet despite his efforts at rehabilitation, he has little chance of becoming a free man.

That’s because the Board grants parole to fewer than 1 percent of lifers who are eligible, and those that are paroled are usually denied later by the governor.


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure, its been awhile since I've been involved in any Christian experience, but, isn't forgiveness devine? Doesn't forgiveness give you power? Doesn't forgiveness release the rage and give you back your own life? Can anyone comment on what forgiveness does spiritually, as it effects the overall emotional and physical health of the one who forgives. Of course it is not "free lunch" but if these inmates have proven themselves...

Anonymous said...

Colorado cant even parole non violent offenders but rather stick them with double sentences. I refer to the MANDATORY PAROLE statute passed by people like Penry of the Colorado legislature. I suggest at the next election Colorado voters need to send Penry and all those who support Mandatory parole home. djw

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Anonymous said...

Thank you Anonymous #1. You are genuine. The great majority of people who profess to call themselves Christian work hard to create deceptions and chaos in the judicial and law areas. They have no concept of how much harm they perpetuate. Their main focus is occupational fame and the money that comes with it.

djw. I also wish people would get the idea and vote these people out. Reasonable and honorable individuals are essential for a justice system with the main focus being on Truth & Honor.

Check out: Craig Watkins - DA of Dallas County, TX. He has established a Conviction Integrity Unit designed to keep his people (in law) honest. As many of us know, honesty is not applied in Colorado, as evidenced by the many wrongful arrests and convictions.


Anonymous said...

I wish there were a Conviction Integrity Unit for Colorado and especially for DA Morisseys office. Every conviction case handeled by Joe Moralle's, an assistant of Morriseys should be looked at. Its interesting to note that right now Judge Egelhof is sitting on a case that was remanded back to Denver District court by the appeals court. I wonder why he, (Egelhof) is allowed to sit on it. Is it to cover up the wrongful conviction done by him and DA Morales? I think it unethical and despicable.djw