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

Waller Proposes Reducing Prison TIme

The Gazette
A Colorado Springs lawmaker expects to introduce a bill next week that would cut felony drug-possession sentences while increasing the state’s commitment to treating addicts.
Republican Rep. Mark Waller said the move, spurred by a study from the Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, would save the state money while cutting crime.
“We need to take these knuckleheads and get them treatment before they escalate to armed robbery,” Waller, a former prosecutor, said at a gathering of sentencing reform advocates Friday night in Colorado Springs.
The state now houses more than 4,500 drug offenders in its prison system. State prison costs have skyrocketed in recent years, with the tab topping $600 million in 2009.
With the state facing a $1 billion budget shortfall in the fiscal year that starts in July, Democrats and Republicans have been eyeing ways to cut prison costs in a manner that won’t increase crime.
Other states, including Maryland and New York, have figured out how to cut crime and prison costs at the same time, Richard Jerome, with the Pew Center on the States, a nonprofit think-tank, told people at the Colorado Springs gathering.
The easiest way to accomplish those goals, the Colorado commission found, is to overhaul mandatory drug sentences, which can put people behind bars for years for owning or using a relatively small amount of drugs.
Waller’s plan is to give many drug offenders treatment in lieu of stiff prison sentences now mandatory under state law. Some of the money saved by the shorter sentences would go to treatment programs.
Waller’s bill hasn’t been unveiled, but the lawmaker said it has garnered the approval of Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter.


Anonymous said...

I am happy to hear that someone is seeing the big picture here, just dont't know why you would have to call these people with addictions...'knuckleheads'!?!?!
It's an illness!!!!! If you wanna help them start by respecting them.

Anonymous said...

They all talk about it, but when it comes to the votes, this idea is dead. Too many people - lawyers, judges, private prisons, political contributors, police, bail bondsmen, small communities like Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Canon City, to Rifle, depend on the justice system to downsize it. They will cut education and health care instead.mpc

Anonymous said...

Senator Waller has it partially right but he needs to also focus on doing away with the unconstitutional MANDATORY PAROLE, which would not only shorten the time doc has a hold on people, it would also allow for the laying off parole officers and staff. I think that would be appropriate and all other government dept's should lay off and cut budgets as well. When there isnt enough tax money in troubled times and lay off's happen in the private sector it should happen in government as well. Lets get started Mr. Ritter, the public will support you.