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, November 05, 2009

Looser Rules on Sentencing Stir Concerns Of Equity

Wall Street Journal(click here for full story)
Earlier this year, a Florida man who had been running a fraud scheme that cheated investors out of about $15 million decided to come clean.
Michael Riolo, 38 years old, offered information to the government before the case was brought and turned over his computers, records and assets.
Last month, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra of West Palm Beach, Fla., gave Mr. Riolo 24½ years in prison
In another case this fall, Michael Regan, a Massachusetts hedge-fund manager, also turned himself in and pleaded guilty to running a similar scheme that defrauded investors out of $9 million. His sentence: seven years. According to a lawyer involved in the case, U.S. District Judge Carol Amon in Brooklyn, N.Y., noted that while the 66-year-old Mr. Regan cheated several elderly investors and a widow, he deserved some leniency for disclosing his fraud.
Judge Amon imposed a sentence that was shorter than the eight-to-10-year range recommended in the official parameters for incarceration, known as federal sentencing guidelines.
The shorter sentence was possible in part because of landmark Supreme Court cases in 2005 and 2007 that gave federal judges more freedom to depart from sentencing guidelines. But this relatively new latitude has caused a thorny problem to creep back into the federal system: Defendants can receive wildly different sentences for similar crimes.


Anonymous said...

every case is differnt even though some seem the same. There are always different circumstance's involved.
Mandatory sentencing is about as unfair as Colorado's mandatory parole!!! djw

Anonymous said...

DJW is right! The mandatory sentencing is as wrong as Colorado's mandatory parole! With prison overcrowding and states busting their budgets, Colorado should eliminate mandatory parole and allow judges some discretion in sentencing -- we already have sentencing ranges but perhaps we need just a maximum number of years and judges can use discretion and sentence people to much less than the maximum.

Colorado has too many people serving indeterminate sentences. Since 1998 Colorado has sentenced over 1,200 people to sentences like "two years to life" for indecent exposure and consensual sex with underage girlfriends or boyfriends. Along with the two to life sentence comes lifetime registration as a sex offender and lifetime supervision by parole officers. Of those 1,200 people who have received indeterminate sentences, only NINE people have been paroled since 1998!! People who get a two to life sentence are spending a minimum of 10 to 12 years in a medium security prison.

Tell your kids and friends not to urinate in public because that can get them a two to life sentence. Tell your teenagers that if they have consensual sex with a girl under the age of 18, they can spend the next 10 to 15 years in prison on a two to life sentence and be forced to register as a sex offender for the rest of their lives!

When someone gets sentenced to six-to-life, he can expect to spend six years in a medium security prison before he is able to attend Phase One of the Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP). Then there is another couple of years wait to get into Phase Two of the SOTP. In the meantime, he works in prison for 48 cents PER DAY, waiting for another chance at parole. All this for having consensual sex with his girlfriend. How many of you reading this had sex while you were in high school? How old was your girlfriend or boyfriend? Had our laws been like they are now, you might still be in prison today for one night of high school sex.