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, October 06, 2010

Ballot Measures Costly

Longmont Times Call
For most of the issues on the ballot this fall, cost is the name of the game. Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101, as noted in an earlier editorial, go too far to restrict government spending. They strangle government instead of restraining it.
The other measures on the ballot are much easier to decipher.
• Amendment P, which would move regulation of all games of chance into the Department of Revenue, would ultimately have the effect of reducing cost — or should have that effect. The same government employees ought to be able to handle all types of gambling. However, there’s a $116,000 expected startup cost, which in another year might be fine, but this year is not. Vote against.
• Amendment Q outlines procedures to follow if state government would need to move out of Denver because of an emergency or disaster. There’s no cost to this measure, and it would clarify how the governor, Legislature and Supreme Court should act if such a decision became necessary. Having the procedure in law for all to see is worthwhile. Vote for.
• Amendment R would “exempt possessory interests in real property.” This means that if an individual or business uses government property and the private benefit is less than $6,000, the private entity would be exempt from property taxes. Because it costs more to collect property taxes on these small uses than is earned, the public is better off with the exemption. Vote for.
• Amendment 62, which defines the word “person,” is an attempt at a do-over. Two years ago, 73 percent of Colorado voters rejected the personhood amendment. This is essentially the same amendment. While the amendment’s sponsors are sincere, voters have already spoken. Vote against.
• Amendment 63, also known as Health Care Choice, is an attempt to exempt Colorado from the federal health care law. It creates a new constitutional right in Colorado, the right to health care choice. While it can do nothing to prevent the rollout of the federal health care plan, it would prohibit the state from taking part in the rollout. Unfortunately, the measure, if it were to pass, would result in costly litigation (which is already under way in other venues), and it would continue the notion that one person’s irresponsible behavior can be covered by everyone else in the form of higher health care costs. It preserves freedom to not buy insurance at the cost of everyone who buys a health insurance policy. Vote against.
• Proposition 102 restricts the courts in use of pretrial services. It would require secured bonds for pretrial release of defendants in more cases instead of the increasingly common practice of permitting release to a pretrial service without bond or with unsecured bond. The effect of passage would be that private bail bondsmen would have more business at the expense of governments that operate jails. It costs money to put people in jail. It is cheaper, in cases where there isn’t a flight risk or risk to the community, for a county to operate a pretrial service that evaluates and monitors low-risk defendants. Adding millions statewide to the cost of pretrial detention is simply not appropriate. Vote against.

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