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, March 29, 2010

The End Of Prisons

CO Biz Magazine
a country that claims to be the land of the free, the number of people under the control of the U.S. corrections system has exploded over the last 25 years to more than 7.3 million, or 1 in every 31 U.S. adults, according to a report released by the Pew Center on the States. The actual number of people behind bars rose to 2.3 million, nearly five times more than the world’s average.

The U.S. currently boasts the highest rate of incarceration of any country at any time in history, a full 25 percent of the world’s prison population. We also have the greatest number of laws of any country at any time in history, laws created by nearly 90,000 separate governmental entities. This spaghetti mess of rules and regulation is so complicated that virtually any person can get tripped up by them. One simple mistake may very well result in incarceration, and it goes downhill from there.

Incarceration is a system that breeds failure.

On the prisoner level, an incoming prisoner is instantly immersed in an “us-vs-them” mindset as their surrounding community is transformed into the worst of all possible social circles.

On the operational level, success in the prison industry is not measured by how many lives have been improved, but rather on occupancy levels, the number of prison incidents and escape attempts, and how well the budget is managed.

On the justice system level, more prisoners translate into larger budgets. The system was created to protect people from criminals. Its based on the notion that if someone is removed from society they can no longer harm anyone. While certain crimes warrant imprisonment, it becomes an inappropriate form of punishment for most.

Police and court systems improve their standing in the justice community through the size of their organization which directly relates to the sheer volume of cases they handle. On a certain level, albeit indirectly, there are incentives to “create more criminals” because more criminals mean more money. A more appropriate measure of the effectiveness of an organization would be in the corrective or transformative nature of their actions, the overall efficiency with which a problem is solved and people (both the offenders and the offended) go back to leading productive lives.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Why not the entire article?

BigHeets said...

If only the public knew how failed "the system" really is. Front page of today's Denver Post in a nutshell...BS. Politicians are taking credit for fewer numbers in prison because of the new reform in place. What a lie. Truth: approximately one-tenth of ALL Inmates in this state complete any type of vocational training while incarcerated. The numbers currently reflected are because of the lack of money to lock more people up...period.
Most (thousands upon thousands) of inmates are warehoused...watching television and playing cards all friggin' day), because of neglect and right-wing politics. Until (if ever) the day comes when honest leaders at our Capitol step up to the plate and impliment mandatory job-training, drug-treatment, and vocational training for EVERY inmate, the system will remain the revolving door it has been for decades. Reducing recitivism should be their goal, but it's not. Don't ever forget that.
Some inmates will never change, but many can and will if they had the chance.