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, September 10, 2009

Cutting Prison Treatment Program Would Be A Crime

Aurora Sentinel
The proof that Colorado officials seem to have been waiting for is in, and now it’s time to start improving lives, reducing crime and saving big, big bucks.

Last week, we stood behind efforts by the state to start releasing select prisoners early, as long as the state takes the time and resources to help these convicts get their lives back in order and get jobs one they’re back on the streets.

Clearly, just pushing untreated drug addicts, alcoholics and mentally ill people into the community six months earlier than projected will only get the half of them who always return to prison cells back behind bars about six months sooner. Under any circumstances, the deck is stacked against more than half of Colorado parolees. In this economy, where stand-up people with masters degrees are fighting for seasonal retail jobs, an ex-con with a penchant for booze and speed doesn’t have a prayer. Past studies have repeatedly shown that money invested in giving prisoners skills to stay off of drugs, deal with their mental illness and get a job, keeps these convicts out of jail.

Sadly, Colorado is cutting those programs, even as states like California are investing huge amounts of money in programs focusing on preparing soon-to-be-released prisoners for life in the real world.

Perhaps there simply hasn’t been enough local evidence to persuade Colorado lawmakers that such pitches are far from just liberal lip service. These programs save millions of taxpayer dollars in the near and short term, reduce the number of crime victims and improve the lives of convicts.

There’s plenty of evidence now.


Anonymous said...

Isn't it obvious that Colorado lawmakers do not give a shit about helping inmates become productive citizens or helping them succeed? Colorado is not about rehabilitation in any way, shape or form. Colorado lawmakers are purely punative in their mentality anf their actions.

Anonymous said...

I agree with all stated in this article. We need to address the issue that sent the inmates to prison to begin with and providing them ANY release without help regarding their alcohol and drug abuse behavior is not doing anyone a good service. Alcoholism and drug addictions need to be addressed to avoid the return of released inmates to the prison system.

My son, a drug addict and alcoholic, is an exemplary prisoner, providing cheap labor for the state, and a great person while incarcerated as he is sober and clean. Successful programs provided to him to deal with his problems when he is released from prison are non-existent. He will be expected to get a job within a few days of his release, pay rent at a half-way house, acquire clothing and food without a phone or car and no money or assistance. I am a college educated person who never had a problem getting a job until recently losing mine and with the economy as it is cannot get an new position. How can an inmate released from prison be successful given the odds stacked against him? The most sane person would have trouble maintaining given these conditions. Please, let's provide programs to give them a chance and decrease the recidivism saving us taxpayers money in the long run.