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.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Prisoners Release Puts Safety First

The Denver Post
We are overseeing a measured two-year pilot program to accelerate the transition of certain eligible prison inmates to parole.
The first transitions are just now underway, but pronouncements of failure have already begun. On Oct. 18, The Denver Post editorialized about the pilot program's "problems" and "limited potential."
We strongly support this program and are fully dedicated to keeping public safety as our first priority. While fewer inmates or parolees may take part, and while we may not save taxpayers as much as initially estimated, this program allows us to modernize and improve the corrections system and achieve fiscal savings during these difficult times.
With 23,000 prison inmates and 12,000 parolees under our supervision, Colorado now spends more on corrections than it does educating approximately 220,000 college students. No matter how you analyze those numbers, this is an unsustainable set of circumstances.
Since Gov. Bill Ritter took office in 2007, he has made reducing Colorado's chronically high recidivism rate a cornerstone of his administration. These initiatives have helped slow the rate of growth in our prison population. Based on evidence rooted in research and supported by many in the criminal justice and law enforcement community, the accelerated transition pilot program is a logical step forward for Colorado's anti-recidivism initiatives.
The only inmates who will qualify are those getting out within 180 days anyway. The first group of inmates to qualify were released an average of 70 days early. And they are being released early into parole programs that will include enhanced supervision and monitoring and more intensive job-training, housing and substance-abuse services to help increase their likelihood of success.
The Parole Board has established very clear and rigorous review standards to determine which inmates will and will not be considered for an accelerated transition, utilizing three assessment tools and numerous criteria. Inmates likely to qualify are those most likely to succeed because of strong family support and a commitment to remain sober, and who are prepared for employment.


Anonymous said...

This is a modest, well thought out pilot program. In hind site, it should have been described more accurately,as in this article, from the beginning. This way it might not have taken so much criticism.

Anonymous said...

The esrly release program would not even be necessary had Governor Owens not issued his infamous edict to his Parole Board to not release anyone on parole the first time. And the current Parole Board continues to do the same thing. Ever since the make-up of the board was changed to all former law enforcement, parole and victim advocates, it has been much tougher for offenders to parole the first time. The statute regarding the equality needs to be enforced and Governor Ritter's parole board appointments need to be challenged in court. If that does work then the statute that intended that the board be equal and fair needs to be re-worded so that there is no doubt to ANY Governor as to whom can be appointed to the board! Then perhaps this madness would stop!

Unknown said...

Dreamer!!!! This madness will never stop! Madness is what our "judicial" system is based on. It is political and financial, with little or no regard for actual "justice" or improving our society.

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

I also think this is a very well thought program. Besides, the statute regarding the equality needs to be enforced and Governor Ritter's parole board appointments need to be challenged in court.