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, October 14, 2010

Vote No on Prop 102

Wash Park Prophet
this posting from my friend over at Wash Park!
Colorado Proposition 102 makes it harder to be released pending trial when you are arrested in Colorado.

It is supported by the bail bond industry. It is opposed by District Attorneys in Colorado. It would increase spending on local jails by about $2.8 million per year, which would have to come from tax increases or cuts to other local government spending. It will also increase future jail construction costs.

Specifically, Colorado Proposition 102 asks voters to amend the Colorado statutes to prohibit the release of anyone arrested for a felony or violent misdemeanor, and anyone who is a repeat nonviolent misdemeanor offender on a unsecured bond under the supervision of pretrial services.

A secured bond means that the defendant pays money to the court as security for showing up at trial. Most defendants can't come up with the entire amount, so, instead, they go to a bail bondsman who takes a 10% non-refundable fee, posts the bond, and finding guarantors or collateral like a house. They bail bondsman then tries to make sure that the defendants show up to court, with bounty hunters, if necessary. In an unsecured bond, the bond amount is a fine incurred for failing to appear in court.

There has been controversy recently in Denver over bail bondsmen avoiding having to pay bond, despite the fact that defendants don't show up in court.

The measure would increase the average stay in jail for someone facing criminal charges by about eight days while they attempt to obtain a secured bond, and about 30% of defendants are indigent and forced to stay in jail until their trial.

You should vote no on Proposition 102.

Releasing defendants to pre-trial services on unsecured bonds was one of the major advances of empirical legal studies in the 1960s, starting by a Vera Institute study that started the ball rolling. It was one of most effective criminal justice reforms adopted.
(Click on the title to read the entire post)

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