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, March 12, 2010

Denver Daily: Debate Over Prison Funding

The Denver Daily News

Debate over prison funding

Coalition opposes proposal to open 316 beds at CSP II

Peter Marcus, DDN Staff Writer

Friday, March 12, 2010

A coalition opposed to a $10.8 million proposal to open one of three towers at Colorado State Prison II is calling on the powerful Joint Budget Committee today to reject the proposal supported by the Department of Corrections and Gov. Bill Ritter.
Criminal defense attorneys, mental health advocates and justice reform proponents say now is not the time to be approving additional funding for new prison beds Ń not when the state has already cut over $2 billion in the current fiscal year and is looking at another $1.5 billion in cuts in the upcoming year.
The JBC is expected to weigh the $10.8 million proposal today.
As part of Ritter’s latest $340 million budget-balancing proposal unveiled in February, the governor is calling for opening 33 percent, or 316 beds, of the new Colorado State Penitentiary II. Supporters of the proposal point to a string of violent incidents caused by some of the state’s most violent and destructive prisoners who are being housed in regular prisons. 
The new tower would house some of the state’s most violent offenders, with inmates locked up about 23 hours a day.
Proponents of the proposal point out that DOC services and facilities have been cut by $14.8 million as part of recent budget-balancing measures, making the issue a matter of public safety.
At a news conference last week, Corrections officers pointed out that there have been three inmate murders over the last several months. They also pointed to a Corrections officer who had her throat slashed by an inmate at Limon Correctional Facility and another Corrections officer who was murdered at Limon Ń all within the last decade.
But critics say housing the state’s most violent offenders in one unit is a poor fiscal and social move. They say increasing vocational programs and so-called wrap-around services for parolees is a better use of money. The state recently backed out of $3 million in vocational programs and $1.8 million in wrap-around services when the economic downturn intensified and budget shortfalls increased. 
“It is counterintuitive and counterproductive to cut successful, research-based programs that promote productivity and safety both within prison and after release,” said Christie Donner, executive director of the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition.


Anonymous said...

comments by correction s officers are always tainted with half truths. You wont get real reform listening to people who run the system.

nmk said...

when calling members of the Joint Budget Committee I asked interns answering the phones what calls we're the representatives or senators receiving. "Lots of calls and emails like yours. People advising money be used for treatment and education instead of the towers." Really? Lots? Then we aren't being listened to are we?

Anonymous said...

The TRUTH is this: The lobbyist for the Colorado Department of Corrections are padding the pockets of the legislaters and lawmakers in this state to give their monopoly machine a little shove to keep things going for them. Private prisons--more costly than state prisons--are slowly being shut down. Now, CDOC are running scared, thinking they're next. Yes, this is how these people think.

I hope the day comes when our lawmakers and politicians pull their head out, and realize what "Corrections" really means. I doubt it. Only the lack of money to throw around will change their thinking.

Anonymous said...

You said it, lack of money. The legislature doesnt realize it, (there all to young) we are in a depression, (not recession) and if they think its going to get better, forget it. All the buerocrats who have 75000 and up salarys need to know the only reason there still being paid is because pf the stimulous money Obama gave Ritter. Stimulous money was supposed to spur the economy of the private sector not government. If we dont have jobs in the private sector isnt it logical to get rid of all the dead wood in the government sector. I mean trim back to bare bones. That goes for all departments and that means those people at DOC as well.
We could and should do away with Mandatory parole as it has nothing to do with the rehab of people who have already paid there debt to society. Dammit let them out. dj