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.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Swarzenegger Seeks Shift From Prisons To Schools

NY Times

SACRAMENTO — With his state strapped and his legacy looming, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed on Wednesday to greatly reduce the amount of money California spends on its prisons and to funnel that sum to the state’s higher education system instead.
The governor said he would also push for a constitutional amendment prohibiting the percentage of the state budget earmarked for prisons from exceeding what is set aside for its public university system.
“Choosing universities over prisons,” Mr. Schwarzenegger said in his final annual address to the Legislature. “This is a historic and transforming realignment of California’s priorities.”
The governor, a Republican, also used the opportunity to take a swipe at the proposed federal health care legislation — for which he has shown support — criticizing it as yet another federal program that requires the state to put out money it no longer has.
While the governor provided few details of his new plan, much of the prison cost savings he envisions would come though privatizing services or prisons themselves, anathema in a state where the union for corrections officers has held political sway for years.
Such sweeping change at a time of great fiscal distress in California will no doubt be an uphill fight for Mr. Schwarzenegger, a lame-duck governor.
The proposal, which would require a constitutional amendment or ballot box action, comes at a time when the state’s vaunted public university system is increasingly perceived as the most visible victim of huge budget cuts. It is a system that for decades has attracted families and businesses to the state with its promise to residents of a low-cost, world-class education.

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