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, April 05, 2010

Economy's toll: Kansas cuts model prison parole program | McClatchy

Economy's toll: Kansas cuts model prison parole program | McClatchy
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Lewis was babbling.

"I can see things. … There are signs out there coming from The Beast." One of his arms moved randomly above the black bandanna around his head, as if to swipe away cobwebs.

The man rocking in his seat before parole officer Chris Jorgensen in the drab, tiny Department of Corrections office in Kansas City, Kan., was one of 6,000 released convicts whom the state budget is doing less to help.

Treatment and support services for Lewis, who did time on a theft charge, and other inmates re-entering society cost $12.6 million two years ago. That was when mental health care, job training and community residential programs for people on parole helped make Kansas a national model for success.

Now the model has been dismantled. For the fiscal year beginning July, the corrections department will get about $5.3 million to fund those programs under Gov. Mark Parkinson’s budget recommendations.

To the taxpayer and government officials desperately trying to balance the state’s books, the short-term savings are hard to resist.

But experts know that a convict ill-prepared for “re-entry” — especially in this job market — may mean only rising crime in the coming years.

Should Lewis violate his parole and be taken off the street, it will cost about $25,000 each year to incarcerate him.

With burgeoning state budget crises affecting life as Kansans and Missourians know it, officer Jorgensen saw a more immediate crisis sitting in front of his desk.

Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/04/04/91592/economys-toll-kansas-cuts-its.html#ixzz0kEGq5khU

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