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, December 19, 2009

Cañon City correctional officer avoids prison in bribery case - The Denver Post

Cañon City correctional officer avoids prison in bribery case - The Denver Post
Over the objections of a federal prosecutor, a combat veteran was sentenced Friday to five years of probation rather than prison for selling tobacco to inmates at a Florence prison.
Prosecutors wanted John K. Brownfield Jr. to spend a year and a day in prison, but Senior U.S. District Judge John L. Kane said he was concerned Brownfield is suffering from trauma due to serving three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Figuratively speaking, Brownfield returned from the war, but never really came home," Kane said.
Brownfield pleaded guilty to bribery of a public official for smuggling tobacco to at least seven inmates in 2007 in exchange for $3,500 in bribes.
The sentence requires Brownfield to participate in any treatment and counseling ordered by his probation officer. If he violates his probation, Brownfield faces prison time.
Brownfield, 25, of Cañon City, is a decorated Air Force veteran and was an independent overseas contractor before he began his job at the Florence prison as a correctional officer.
About three months into his deployment to Afghanistan, Brownfield responded to an explosion where he had to dig out the bodies of three adults and three children, and the incident is just one of many that altered his mental state, the judge wrote in his 28-page order.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Linda McMahan said there is no evidence that Brownfield has post-traumatic stress disorder and that his abuse of alcohol began before he enlisted in the military.
"I am very sympathetic to the fact that you have a veteran in front of you, but the government has treated this veteran with honor and respect," McMahan said. "He used his prior military service for his own benefit and it allowed him to obtain lucrative contracts overseas."
McMahan also argued in court records that other defendants who committed similar crimes received a sentence of a year and a day and that granting Brownfield a probationary sentence would lead to a sentencing disparity and would not provide a deterrent to other correctional employees.
McMahan said she was not sure whether the government will appeal the sentence.
Brownfield told the judge he was sorry for what he did.
"I understand what I did was wrong and I appreciate the court is hearing both sides about all this," he said. "I hope I will have the chance to change and get help through therapy and counseling."
Brownfield's attorney, Vaughn McClain, said his client did not have an alcohol and anger problem until he returned from his tours of duty.
Kane said he suspects the same and fears prison time won't solve the problem.


Anonymous said...

why would our state put a trauma victim in a position of authority over human lives?

Anonymous said...

The bigger question is why cops and correctional officers can commit crimes and get off with no punishment? There are many military people sitting in prison for crimes committed from PTSD and combat stress. But the Judges in those cases didn't allow that as an excuse to not to go to prison.

Anonymous said...

In Colorado it seems you can commit crimes as public officials and hide behind the legislatures immunity law. Maybe the almighty Suther could explain this? djw

Anonymous said...

What about all the women who are repeatedly raped, beaten, and traumatized, but then sent to prison anyway? Why are their traumatic incidences NEVER considered when sentenced?