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.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

HB 1352 Passes The House

Drug Sentencing Reform (HB 1352) with no debate passed through the House in a sweeping 58 - 5 vote.  The bill will now head to Senate Judiciary.

Here's what Fox News had to say:

DENVER - In these contentious political times, a bill passed out of the Colorado House today that has wide bi-partisan support. It would reform Colorado's drug sentencing laws to shift the emphasis on getting treatment for drug users, as opposed to locking them up.

Sponsor, Rep. Mark Waller (R- Colorado Springs) says ,"The current laws on the books are honed in on punishment as a means of reforming people who in many cases have real problems.

The intent of this legislation is to shift the focus to getting non violent drug offeners the help they need so they can become productive members of society."

Waller, a former prosecutor, says people who have addiction problems tend to get involved in more crimes, unless they are put into treatment programs. Reducing prison sentences for drug users is estimated to save the state $55 million dollars over the next five years. The bill would pump some of that money into treatment programs.

Waller says that would make communities safer. He says, "If you can treat these offenders up front then you can prevent them from committing more violent crimes in the future."

He says the bill would not impact prison times for drug dealers and would enhance sentences for adults convicted of selling drugs to minors. The bill came out of the Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice.

It's made up of prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement and mental health experts. The bill now goes to the Colorado Senate.

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