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.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Colorado Lawmaker Wants To Sell Prison

STEVEN K. PAULSON, Associated Press Writer
DENVER (AP) ― State Rep. Glenn Vaad said he was stunned when he learned that the Colorado Department of Corrections planned to leave a new, $208 million maximum-security prison empty because of the state's budget crisis.

"That's unconscionable in my mind. We invested $208 million of the taxpayers' money and because of the economic downturn, we can't afford to open it," he said. "Let's sell it."

Vaad, R-Mead, said the state would have to change state law to allow a private prison to buy or lease the prison because state law bars private companies from housing maximum security prisoners. If lawmakers reject that option, Vaad said it should be sold off and run privately as a medium security prison allowed under current law.

Although the state is currently in a budget crisis and opening the prison has been put on hold, Sen. Moe Keller, who heads the Legislature's Joint Budget Committee, state attorney general John Suthers and corrections director Ari Zavaras have all come out against Vaad's plan, saying it's too dangerous.

"I would not approve of allowing the private sector to operate maximum security prisons in the state of Colorado," said Suthers, a Republican. "If you look around the country, placing maximum security detention into private hands has not gone well."

Keller, a Democrat from Wheat Ridge, said the state has already had serious problems with medium security private prisons and allowing the private operation of a maximum security prison is out of the question.

"I'm vehemently opposed to selling a maximum security prison to a private company," Keller said.

However, Keller said she might be open to selling the building to a private company if some other use can be found.


Anonymous said...

When deciding to build a maximum security prison isnt there supposed to be a need for housing real bad people, (murderer's, rapists and very violent people). Why was this prison built? Its obvious that Colorado has no one to put in to the prison.
As for Suther's positions on anything, his suggestions as those of Zavaras and all so called experts, are the one's responsible for leading Colorado into the prison's mess Coloradan's fight to correct today.
Vaad's position to do something is correct but only touches on part of the problem. The bloated budget of the DOC and there outdated programs and regulations keep Colorado prisons in the dark ages. djw

Anonymous said...


djw. It gives any individual something to question. It's truly a no-brainer. These massive incarcerations for money have come back to haunt Colorado. The damage done to the many souls in those prisons for frivolous excuses is now coming full circle.

Since Suthers is mentioned in this article, I feel it's appropriate to bring to your attention a contender in the next election. Dan Slater (Democrat) will be a challenger for DA. Look him up and spread the word! Without a doubt, there will only be progressive advantages to having Slater in office vs. Suthers.



Anonymous said...

Ari has wanted to build this prison, he says, for 10 years. He says he needs it for "disciplinary reasons". He lies again. The current CSP houses many prisoners only because DOC does not have another bed to house them. This is a horrible prison. Inmates are in solitary confinement 24/7. They get out of their cell only when shackled and escorted by 2 guards.

The state borrowed $100M against "future revenues". The story is incorrect. The total cost was $162M and it takes $16M to operate it for one year. Each cell cost us $1/2M.

In order to make sure that all 6500 DOC employees are fully employed and never experience layoffs like other state departments, DOC is stopping the private prison contracts. mpc

Anonymous said...

mpc. I seriously hope you elaborate on "DOC is stopping the private prison contracts" (above). Where will the prisoners go that are presently in private prisons? I do not advocate the private prison corporations. I would guess that you believe this CSP will be used to warehouse those in private prisons. It can't remain a super-max prison (felony 1's) with the great majority of guys being minimum and minimum restrictive.

Cornell seems to be in the forefront since CCA lost the bidding for more slaves.

Anonymous said...

The damage is done. Shouldn't the people step forward with solutions. How is this for an idea. Send all CSP inmates to the new facility. Turn the old CSP into an educational facility for all the inmates that will be getting out in 3-4 years. Pull the teaching staff out of all Colorado facilities. This teaching staff will be comprise of inmates that have BA, BS, Masters in their respective fields and are serving long sentences. For their service they will see double time subtracted from their sentences. Where is the progressive revolution we need. Lets stop moaning and groaning and put this thing on fast forward. plain jane

Anonymous said...

Plain Jane, your right, we need to move forward. But how?? The State constitution says the people own the government and need to change it. Well i want to tell you its not going to happen until the people rid the state of officials like Suther, Zavaras, DA's such as Morrissey, Chambers and all others like them. There all obstructionist's and probably benefitting directly or indirectly from the sad prison system thats being run.
Our Governor Ritter knows how to put forth programs that the people endorse but they are sabotoged before they ever get off the ground by the greedy people who support Suther.
Rehab thru educational programs which would give certified Diplomas and College Credits is far cheaper than the present system of operating a prison. People like Suther and Zavaras only know one word and thats punishment. Well when you take ones liberty away for a 4 or 5 year strech for a minor non violent crime, how much do you have to punish that person.
A big step in the right direction is to replace Suther as suggested by a former writer. I am all for that. djw

Anonymous said...

I agree Jane! Let's start by using re-classification. Re-classify offenders down more than 1 point per year especially those who will be getting out in the next 3 - 4 years. Medium closed custody offenders have NO programs available to them that will assist them with getting parole or on the outside. That makes no sense to me. Transition offenders down levels and out the door. Those offenders who don't cooperate or cause problems need to be addressed in a different way. The ones who are having no problems and who are doing what they're supposed to, should get something more out of this other than just punishment.

Anonymous said...

It does not matter what their classification level is, they do not have any valuable job programs available for hardly any of the inmates. It is all a sad, sad joke. The propoganda is that Colorado offers all kinds of job training for inmates, but the truth is not there. The truth is that the job training they offer is not valuable to most on the outside, offered to an extrememly small few, and not worth the money it cost tax payers. About the only program any number of inmates are allowed to participate in and complete is "janitorial". Wooooooooooo!!!! They can learn to scrub toilet and change light bulbs. That is just to keep the prison cleaner while they are there. It's of little or no value anywhere else. Check out the stats on how many programs actually are offered, what they are, and who is actually able to participate and complete any of them (regardless of how sad they are). It's all BS.

Anonymous said...

I already know how few of them are available...approximately 4,000 offenders are eligible to participate in the programs out of 23,000. We're still waiting for the college classes to start at BV and still have no word, and that of course I have to pay for. It's amazing how accountable both the parole board and community boards hold the offender but they refuse to do the same with DOC.

Oh and let's not forget the kitchen...both janitorial and kitchen jobs are used as punishment anyway...that's what his case manager told us, that's what they consider those programs to be.

Anonymous said...

hold on everyone,take a good look ....
we are seeing a revolution in the corrections system as we have known it for the last 25 years ..its great ..they dont have the money to lock people up anymore and now they are all fighting amongst each other ..with each blaming another and all the lies are finally coming out in the wash..
there is a god ..