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, January 11, 2010

Colo. bills out to get tough on DUIs - The Denver Post

Colo. bills out to get tough on DUIs - The Denver Post

More than 7,000 Colorado drivers would face mandatory jail sentences each year if legislators carry out their promises to get tough with people who repeatedly drink and drive.

It will not be an easy promise to keep when the state legislature convenes Wednesday. The price of confining that many drivers even for a month or two could run $20 million. That's bound to be a tricky proposition in a state whose government is searching for more than $1 billion to balance its budget next year.

Twice in the past three years, legislators have proposed to remove Colorado from the short list of states with no felony DUI law. Both efforts died when legislative analysts estimated the formidable costs of building enough cells to hold more prisoners.

This year, one legislator will try again to make persistent drunken driving a felony. Other proponents of tougher DUI laws are pursuing a different strategy: making mandatory sentences short enough to let offenders serve time in county jails instead. That would shift most of the costs to local governments.

"I'm hearing from constituents that they want drunk drivers off the road," said Rep. Claire Levy, a Boulder Democrat who plans to offer one mandatory-sentencing bill. "We're trying to bring some certainty and consistency to these sentencing laws so people will know what they face if they go out and drive drunk.

"We're not going to suspend sentences."

In a series of stories during the past 12 months, The Denver Post has reported that sentences in drunken-driving cases vary greatly from courtroom to courtroom.

Some drunken drivers got no time in prison for killing people while others have been imprisoned for as long as 72 years. Some judges send nearly every repeat offender to jail, while others let most wear an ankle bracelet at home.

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