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, September 01, 2009

Early Release Saves The State Dollars


By Stephanie Wurtz

COLORADO SPRINGS - Colorado criminals may be allowed out from behind bars up to six months before their sentence is up. It's a change that's part of state budget cuts. Letting prisoners out saves the state money.

The early-release program will move offenders out of prison and onto parole. It also gets those who've been successful on parole out of the system.

"It's really up to the discretion of the parole board," says Katherine Sanguinette, spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Corrections.

Offenders must meet certain criteria. Parolees must have served half their parole sentence, have been on parole at least six months and have had no violations. Offenders in prison must be parole-eligible and within six months of their prison release date.

"It costs about $30,000/year to house an offender in prison," Sanguinette says. The state pays only $3,600 a year for an offender on parole. The parole board is now examining thousands of offender files.

"They have a standard risk assessment in place," Sanguinette says of the parole board, "they also look at thinks like, have they gone to treatment while in prison, have they completed their GED." S-5 criminals in prison, with a history of sexual violence, won't be considered.

Neither will sex offenders out on parole. Violent criminals or those serving a life-sentence with parole, go through an additional interview process. "They will carefully look at victim statements," says Sanguinette, "our primary concern is public safety."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

we all know your only going to release non violent offenders early so get off the public safety issue. Why is it taking so long to release inmates early. We know your holding thousands of people who are non violent and have already served more than half there sentence's. djw