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.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

GOP Slams Ritter's Cost Cutting Plan

I doubt that CCA will have any trouble filling those beds with people from other states.
The Gazette
More ex-cons on the street, fewer tax dollars spent taking care of them.

Fair and balanced? You decide.

Under a program being implemented by the state Department of Corrections, nearly 3,500 prisoners within six months of completing their sentences will be transferred to parole. The DOC estimates the net saving in the fiscal year that began in July at $18.9 million, filling part of what had been a $320 million budget shortfall.

An additional 2,900 prisoners will be released under the program in 2010-11, for a projected savings of $23.9 million.

Katherine Sanguinetti, the DOC spokeswoman, said the first eight prisoners released under the plan are going to walk on Tuesday. Full implementation will reduce the state’s prison population to about 22,000, a cut of 1,000, she said.

“It’s a very responsible plan, both from a fiscal perspective and from a public safety perspective,” said Evan Dreyer, Gov. Bill Ritter’s spokesman, who noted that first-degree murderers, sex criminals and “habitually violent offenders” aren’t eligible for early release.

That’s not stopping Republicans from trying to beat Ritter, a Democrat, over the head with the program.
“What occurred here is not meaningful criminal justice reform that also happens to save money,” said Attorney General John Suthers, the state’s top Republican elected official. “This is taking an axe to the DOC budget to deal with a budget crisis. While I understand it, we shouldn’t pretend it’s criminal justice reform, and we shouldn’t pretend it won’t adversely impact public safety.”

State Sen. Josh Penry, a GOP gubernatorial candidate, called the plan “ill-conceived and reckless.” Scott McInnis, a former Republican congressman who’s also running for Ritter’s job, said “the governor is overriding the decisions of judges and juries in many cases” and is making “rosy assumptions about so-called ‘non-violent’ offenders posing no threat to the public.”

Dreyer said the plan was supported by the state police chiefs’ association and that Ritter, a former district attorney; Parole Board Chairman and former Denver Police Chief David Michaud; DOC Director Ari Zavaras; and Pete Weir, director of the state Department of Public Safety, have a combined century’s experience in the Colorado criminal justice system, and all support the plan.

“There is nothing that any of them would do to jeopardize public safety,” Dreyer said.

“The governor has a great deal of respect for the attorney general,” Dreyer said. “On this issue they differ.”
As for the criticism from Penry and McInnis, he said, consider the source. “The governor says, ‘The sky is blue,’ they say, ‘No, it’s not,’” Dreyer said.


Anonymous said...

The problem is most sentences are not the result of juries and judges. They are the result of plea bargins where the D.A. hows all the power and because of manadory sentences the judge has little to say about the resulting sentences.

Anonymous said...

The sloution to the problem is simple, return to 1982 sentencing guidlines and do away with the Colorado legislators mandatory parole. The state would cut its prison population by 1/2 and could do away with all the corporate prisons and also close some of the state owned ones. Would also do away with 1/2 of the guards and DOC emplyee's. As for the public safety issue the officials all howl about, you would see no difference on the streets. djw

Unknown said...

Well put djw!!!