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 05, 2010

Safety Is The Issue As Budget Cuts Free Prisoners

NY Times
In the rush to save money in grim budgetary times, states nationwide have trimmed their prison populations by expanding parole programs and early releases. But the result — more convicted felons on the streets, not behind bars — has unleashed a backlash, and state officials now find themselves trying to maneuver between saving money and maintaining the public’s sense of safety.
In February, lawmakers in Oregon temporarily suspended a program they had expanded last year to let prisoners, for good behavior, shorten their sentences (and to save $6 million) after an anticrime group aired radio advertisements portraying the outcomes in alarming tones. “A woman’s asleep in her own apartment,” a narrator said. “Suddenly, she’s attacked by a registered sex offender and convicted burglar.”
In Illinois, Gov. Patrick J. Quinn, a Democrat, described as “a big mistake” an early release program that sent some convicts who had committed violent crimes home from prison in a matter of weeks. Of more than 1,700 prisoners released over three months, more than 50 were soon accused of new violations.
An early release program in Colorado meant to save $19 million has scaled back its ambitions by $14 million after officials found far fewer prisoners than anticipated to be wise release risks. In more than five months, only 264 prisoners were released, though the program was designed to shrink the prison population by 2,600 over two years.


Anonymous said...

This safety issue is a scam by DOC officials. There are thousands of non violent people in prison. Whatever the crime that put them there was non violent in the first place. As far as public safety, law enforcement doesnt protect people anyway. All this outcry about public safety and those who listen do not have there facts straight and are costing taxpayers millions to keep them all on a payroll. Its time to trim government back to about 1950's spending levels. There needs to be huge layoff's of government workers. One we could start with would be to do away with the Home land security that was started by Bush and Cheney which has done nothing but overide ther FBI and the CIA agencys. All the socalled security in the court houses, and the airports needs to go. All they do is harrase millions of our citizens dailey. The cost does not justify the expense now or when it all started.
Homeland security violates the constitutional rights of all of us. Check it out people.

Anonymous said...

So...according to the previous writer, the United States should just eliminate our defense against terrorists, hand over our freedoms to the enemy and release non-violent offenders from prison. That means many sex offenders (not always a violent crime), thieves, drug dealers, child abusers (not always a violent crime), etc. should just go free and not go to prison and be allowed to re-victimize again and again? Please!

Anonymous said...

My husband is currently incarcerated for a "violent" crime, one in which he DEFENDED HIMSELF against 2 other men. But they had no records and he was on parole. The "victim" never called the police (the hospital did), received 10 stitches, has no permanent injury and his hospital bill was $179.00. Amazing that we are now spending $180,000 to incarcerate my husband for 6 years because he was on parole and coerced into a plea or face 64 years in prison if convicted. It was perfectly ok for the victims to initiate what happened and chase my husband 11 blocks but it was not ok for my husband to follow them around the corner after they threw something at his car damaging it and spit in his face (that's a felony folks).

It's not DOC that causes these BS sentences, it's the DA's the court system. We need to start voting out said DA's and Judges and change sentencing.

The victim has refused to cooperate with the DA for payment of his restitution and now with 20/20 hindsight coming into play, he most likely would not have showed up at the trial to testify either. I'm pretty sure that he realized the part that he played in this and that he and his friend CAUSED this to happen. Had my husband not been on parole for a non-violent offense, they most likely would have been charged with road rage and assault themselves...but of course my husband's conviction was a slam dunk for the DA.

I don't necessarily agree about removing security everywhere but the terrorists are getting what they wanted aren't they? The American people living in fear...and we can't stop what they do anyway.

Anonymous said...

Yes,over zealous prosecutors, overworked public defenders and judges that function with a delusional view that it is a just and efficient process to lock as many people away for as many years as a judge can possible get away with assigning with-in the law. The guilty plea needs to be no longer an option. The subliminal threats of massive amounts of years in jail need to be taken away from the justice system as a tool of mass incarceration. This has destroyed truth and fairness as a defense in our courts. Our courts have become an irrational and unreasonable stage. Our forefathers never meant for this circus to exist.

Samuel said...

Briefly, to the second poster, when you talk about handing over freedoms to, and this is the key word, 'the enemy' I can only help but think of people who think and act and believe exactly like you. You and your kind are a far superior threat to the safety of my family, the happiness of my kids and my kids' kids, and to the overall well-being of this once great nation than some bearded men in some far off cave in Western Afghanistan. Make no mistake about it, your vengeance, your misplaced anger, your sad, so very sad insecurities are what victimize again, again, and again. The only thing that keeps me going is dreaming of a world without you.

Anonymous said...

To Samuel and others who think there any safer because of homeland security your the dumb misguided ones. I hope you drown in your loss of constitutional rights standing in a line waiting to be searched to get in YOUR court house or on an airplane.
I served in the Korean war, probably before you were born. Have you ever read the constitution and if so why are you folks so quick to want to give it up. I donot fear the bearded men in Afganistan but i am ashamed of sheep like you folks who wont stand up for the freedoms given to you but are trying to give away your rights because of fears that ore being forced on the american people by our own elected officials. I urge you all to read Jesse Ventura's new book.