Longmont Times Call
A few facts will help explain why Colorado needs to reform its criminal sentencing guidelines.
It costs an average of $28,759 a year to house an inmate, and there were 23,144 people imprisoned in Colorado last year. That’s more than $665 million. The Department of Corrections budget eats up about three times as much of the state’s general fund as it did 25 years ago.
More than one in five people sent to prison in Colorado are convicted of drug offenses, more than for any other crime.
As of 2008, 29 percent of people sent to prison in Colorado were being returned for technical violations of parole.
In 2008, 85 percent of women sent to Colorado prisons were convicted of non-violent offenses.
Colorado should be tough on crime, but as these facts reveal, the punishment can be tough on Colorado.
State leaders know that, so a commission has been charged with recommending an overhaul of the state’s sentencing guidelines. Among its reasonable goals: to ensure public safety; to make sentences proportionate to the gravity of offenses; to achieve offender rehabilitation and reduce recidivism.
Changes in sentencing for drug offenses are among those being considered, to address the problem of nonviolent offenders crowding prisons.
Members of the commission don’t want to move forward without first hearing from you.
Therefore, Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett and House Rep. Claire Levy welcome your input at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 4, in the Longmont City Council Chamber, 350 Kimbark St. Regardless of your stance on reform, you should be heard.
Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?
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.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Longmont Times Call