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.


Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Corrections Budget Cuts

the Denver Post
DENVER—Colorado officials plan the early release of 15 percent of inmates in state prisons to help slash $320 million from the state budget.

The cuts that took effect Tuesday call for the release of 3,500 of the 23,000 inmates over two years, saving the state about $45 million, Department of Corrections spokeswoman Katherine Sanguinetti said.

An additional 2,600 parolees, or 21 percent of those currently on parole, will be released from intense supervision.

Prisoners eligible for early release are those within six months of their mandatory release date. Those eligible for early parole release must have served at least half of their supervised term.

Sex offenders do not qualify. Other offenders, including those who committed violent crimes, will undergo more rigorous reviews.

No staff members are being cut. Money will be saved by reducing the number of inmates sent to private prisons, Sanguinetti said.

In addition to early release, the state is implementing several recommendations by the Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice aimed at helping inmates find housing and jobs and get substance abuse treatment.

"Predominantly, it's nonviolent offenders," Adams County Attorney Don Quick, a member of the commission, said about the types of inmates considered for early release.

"When it comes to public safety, warehousing is only good for as long as they are in custody. We need to start trying to decrease the risk factors," he said.

Colorado Attorney John Suthers, another member of the commission, disagreed with the plan.

"An undetermined number of Coloradans will be victimized as a result of these early releases," he said.

The governor's office says more than 50 percent of released prisoners return to prison within three years. Reform groups say most return for technical parole violations as they struggle to find housing and jobs with a felony conviction on their record.

"It's very expensive to be on parole," said Christie Donner, executive director of prison reform group Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition. "You have to pay for the drug classes at up to $50 a class, a drug screen that costs up to $15, an additional phone line if you're on an ankle bracelet."

That's in addition to restitution, fines and fees, she said.

Across the country, 23 states have slashed their prison budgets this year, with some releasing prisoners early, according to research by the Vera Institute of Justice.

While cutting overall corrections budgets, some states are spending money on reforms aimed at preventing repeat offenders.

4 comments:

Ahma Daeus said...

INCARCERATING PEOPLE "FOR PROFIT" IS IN A WORD....WRONG!
Even if one does not ask or pretends not to see the rope and the flashing red flag draped around the philosophical question standing solemnly at attention in the middle of the room, it remains apparent that the mere presence of a private “for profit” driven prison business in our country undermines the U.S Constitution and subsequently the credibility of the American criminal justice system. In fact, until all private prisons in America have been abolished and outlawed, “the promise” of fairness and justice at every level of this country’s judicial system will remain unattainable. We must restore the principles and the vacant promise of our judicial system. Our government cannot continue to "job-out" its obligation and neglect its duty to the individuals confined in the correctional and rehabilitation facilities throughout this nation, nor can it ignore the will of the people that it was designed to serve and protect. There is urgent need for the good people of this country to emerge from the shadows of indifference, apathy, cynicism, fear, and those other dark places that we migrate to when we are overwhelmed by frustration and the loss of hope.
My hope is that you will support the National Public Service Council to Abolish Private Prisons (NPSCTAPP) with a show of solidarity by signing "The Single Voice Petition"
http://www.petitiononline.com/gufree2/petition.html

Please visit our website for further information: http://www.npsctapp.blogspot.com

–Ahma Daeus
"Practicing Humanity Without A License"…

Anonymous said...

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Very well said, Ahma Daeus! Will do! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Wake up and smell the coffee.....our entire judicial system is "for profit". If you think otherwise, you have your head buried in the sand, and I have some beachfront property in Arizona I'd like to talk to you about.

Anonymous said...

My question is if we need to release inmates early and i think we should, why does it have to take two years??? Why not call the inmates relatives and have them pick them up at the prison. There is no public safety issue when releasing non violent offenders early. The relative will give the inmate housing and help them find a job.djw