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.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Face Of America's Homeless Youth

Denver, Colorado (CNN) -- When the sun dips below the Rocky Mountains and the streets of Denver go dark, Lokki, his girlfriend Magic and their friend Tripp head home.
They climb in between the rafters of a highway overpass, crouching as they sit under the concrete structure that rumbles with every car that crosses overhead.
It is where they will sleep tonight. It is where they say they can live safely after escaping from abusive homes.
"It's pretty hard," says Magic, 18, when asked about living on the streets. "But most of the time it's just life, you know. Life's not going to be easy."
She refuses to talk about what caused her to leave home.
Her boyfriend Lokki has a different outlook: He says he enjoys the fun and freedom of life on the streets.
"I don't really have to worry about anything," says Lokki, 20. "I get some food and kick back with the homies."
Out of the three friends, Tripp seems to be the most concerned about the future. He says he began living on the streets two years ago, after escaping a violent relationship with his stepfather.
"If I defended myself against him, I always got looked at badly," he said. "So when I turned 18, I left."
He stops talking as he watches a homeless man walk by.
"I'd hate to think that's the way I'm going," says Tripp. "That I'm going to end up being 40 years old and on the streets."
Getting off the streets is a daunting challenge for these young adults and others like them, who have no address, no job, very little education, and many times drug addictions and mental health issues.

"We see a lot of kids really since age of 7 or 8 [who] haven't had any real roots to call their own," according to Tom Manning, spokesman for Covenant House, which helps those who are young and homeless. "Those are the 18-year-olds who [have] very limited education and really need to start from square one."

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