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, February 06, 2010

Progress On Prison Reform

CS Gazette
Prison spending was less than 3 percent of the Colorado budget 20 years ago. Today, in an era when the population base is aging and crime rates are dropping, the state spends 9 percent of its general fund to incarcerate convicts.

“It is clearly time to take a hard look at the sentence laws and policies that help drive run-away prison spending in Colorado,” said Mike Krause, a senior fellow at the conservative, free market Independence Institute.

Krause, along with The Gazette, the Pew Center on the States, and Prison Fellowship sponsored a forum at the Antlers Hilton Friday night in order to promote understanding of the need to reform Colorado sentencing standards to reduce the overhead of incarceration.

The panel featured Attorney General John Suthers, a Republican, State Rep. Mark Waller, R-Colorado Springs,  Richard Jerome from the Pew Center on the State’s Public Safety Performance Project, and Christie Donner, executive director and founder of the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition.

Suthers, Waller and Jerome are members of the Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, which is proposing sentencing reforms that may lead to reasonable reductions in the prison population that won’t endanger the public. No one on the panel, Republican or Democrat, is even remotely soft on crime. Suthers, a former prosecutor who authored the book “No Higher Calling, No Greater Responsibility,” could be one of the most talented and passionate lawmen in the country.


Anonymous said...

Suthers seems to be missing the boat on a few of the issues facing prison reform. One of the statements he made was he knew the earlier release program wasn’t going to work because any inmate who hadn’t been paroled before their mandatory release date couldn’t be a good candidate. This statement indicates to me that Suthers is unaware of how little discretionary parole has been used since the inception of mandatory parole. He also claimed the increase of our prison population was a response to an increase in crime in the 80’s. Studies show there was a fear crime would increase but it failed to materialize.

Anonymous said...

Why would Suther even be on a panel such as this? His reputation and past performance is that of a hypocrite. Its people like him who are responsible for the long prison sentence's we now have. If they really want to cut spending then its a must to shorten sentence's and do away with mandatory parole. Also means laying off a bunch of high dollar state employee's

Anonymous said...

Suthers is truly eyeing political office, such as governor. He personally caused many of the problems that exist today in the system, but he wants to be seen as the savior to the public. The democrats now want to open CSP II and close the private prisons. They are supporting keeping all state employees. Should we not examine the entire system and find those programs and employees, either private or public and keep the effective ones and fire the rest.mpc

Anonymous said...

Its easy to see that mandatory parole has to go. Sentencing has to be returned to the judges and not be mandated second setence by the legislature and there dam Mandatory Parole statute which is double jeopardy handed out after a judge has already sentenced the person and handed out a MITTIMUS.
The legislature needs to correct there error and John Suther needs to shut up, its not there money there spending.