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

Johnson: Colorado's number of shame: 179 kids killed from abuse, neglect over seven years - The Denver Post

Johnson: Colorado's number of shame: 179 kids killed from abuse, neglect over seven years - The Denver Post

One-hundred seventy-nine. That is the number I cannot seem to shake.

It is a number I learned last Friday at a luncheon meeting of child advocates who called together members of the media so they might process the number, appreciate it and tell others of it.

It is the number of children in Colorado killed as a result of abuse and neglect between 2000 and 2007, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Every Child Matters Education Fund.

It is a staggering total given we are talking of, well, Colorado. And it was only the nastiest headline in a series of head- scratchingly awful stories this small group told on that afternoon.

A quick sampling:

In fiscal year 2008-09, the state's 64 counties received about 76,000 reports of child abuse or neglect.

Imagine this the way I do: every last seat inside Invesco Field at Mile High occupied by an abused or neglected Colorado kid.

Of the 76,000 reports, one in three on average was investigated by the counties. And of those, about 22 percent resulted in the county providing child-care services.

Colorado's child-welfare system is in crisis, Shari Shink, founder and executive director of the Rocky Mountain Children's Law Center, told me over sandwiches. Still more abused and neglected kids are fated to fall through the ever-widening cracks of the system, underfunded for years, and with new rounds of cuts coming this legislative session.

What I learned was chilling, that money and its lack is at the root of it all, that fingers can be pointed everywhere, but that the only Coloradans truly paying the price are this state's abused and neglected children.

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