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.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mexico touts drug arrests, but suspects often go free - The Denver Post

Mexico touts drug arrests, but suspects often go free - The Denver Post

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico — It's practically a daily ritual: Accused drug traffickers and assassins, shackled and bruised from beatings, are paraded before the news media to show that Mexico is winning its drug war. Once the television lights dim, however, about three-quarters of them are let go.

Even as President Felipe Calderon's government touts its arrest record, cases built by prosecutors and police under huge pressure to make swift captures unravel from lack of evidence. Innocent people are tortured into confessing. The guilty are set free, only to be hauled in again for other crimes. Sometimes, the drug cartels decide who gets arrested.

Records obtained by The Associated Press showed that the government arrested

226,667 drug suspects between December 2006 and last September, the most recent numbers available. Fewer than a quarter of them were charged. Only 15 percent saw a verdict, and the Mexican attorney general's office won't say how many of those were guilty.

The judicial void is a key reason why Mexican cartels continue to deliver tons of marijuana, methamphetamines, heroin and cocaine onto U.S. streets.

"It in effect gives them impunity," U.S. Ambassador Carlos Pascual said, "and allows them to be able to function in ways that can extend themselves into the United States."

System corrupt, secret

Mexico's justice system is carried out largely in secret and has long been viciously corrupt. Add a drug war that Calderon intensified, and the system has been overrun. Nearly 25,000 people have died in the war to date, and the vast majority of their cases remain unsolved.

AP obtained court documents and prison records restricted from the public and conducted dozens of interviews with suspects' relatives, lawyers, human-rights groups and government officials to find out what happened after suspects were publicly paraded in key cartel murder cases. (click title to read more)

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