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, August 20, 2010

Lawmakers Heralded as Addiction Fighters

GENESEE — Colorado’s substance-abuse treatment community on Thursday honored two Southern Colorado lawmakers for their work in the Legislature to combat addiction.
The Colorado Providers Association, a professional organization of substance-abuse treatment agencies, named state Reps. Sal Pace, D-Pueblo, and Tom Massey, R-Poncha Springs, its legislators of the year. The group feted the pair during its annual membership meeting held at Mount Vernon Country Club.
Pace was chosen because of legislation he carried that redirects corrections funds to treatment of technical parole violators as an alternative to returning them to prison. A technical violation — for instance missing a meeting with a parole officer or not submitting a change of address — does not involve a new crime.
Massey was honored for his law that steers money raised in association with medicinal marijuana operations to treatment for people suffering from a combination of mental illness and substance-abuse habits and to provide early intervention for substance abusers.
The idea behind Pace’s legislation, HB1360, was hatched during a visit this year to the therapeutic community run by Crossroad Turning Points in Pueblo.
The program, which celebrated its first year of operation two months ago, is at capacity and currently serves 60 clients, according to Leroy Lucero, Crossroads’ director.
“I’d be pleased if we got 10 more beds in the immediate future,” Lucero said. “I’d hope eventually to have up to 100 beds for clients in Pueblo, but I’d settle for 80.”
And Pace’s bill coupled with the demand for substance-abuse treatment services among Pueblo parolees makes either figure likely, Lucero said.
The program lasts up to 12 months and is aggressively regimented.
“The discipline that clients must demonstrate is almost on a par with the military,” Lucero said.
Pace said that when he learned the recidivism rate of participants in a similar program in Denver was 8 percent, compared with the overall recidivism rate of the Colorado prison system, which is about 50 percent, he saw an opportunity to make a difference.
The second facet of Pace’s bill is cost savings for the prison system. By sending parolees who commit technical violations to treatment rather than back to prison, his bill is expected to spare the state $15 million in corrections costs. More than $3 million of that savings is going to treatment programs.


Anonymous said...

It's too bad that parole is still revoking parolees for something as small as one hot U/A and sending them back to the clink. Either the legislation is not working or parole is so above the law (as all ex-cops seem to be) that they refuse to do what they are told to do. It's really a shame.

Anonymous said...

Parole is regressing for one bad u/a for a full 6 months, against the intent of the law.