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.
Maybe this is a story of rehabilitation and redemption, how even if it takes some 50 years to arrive, all that matters is that it does.
It began a couple of days ago when I was fooling around on the computer, idly looking up things about my father, as I sometimes do.
He has been gone 30 years, so it surprised me to see he will be inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame next month, along with Johnny Cash and several others.
Knowing little of Johnny Cash — yeah, I know — I Googled him and read entire stories, including those on his prison concerts, mostly the celebrated one at Folsom Prison in California.
The next day, the telephone rang.
"I was a prisoner during that Johnny Cash concert at Folsom," the man on the other end told me, hoping it might make for a column. "The anniversary of it is next month, you know. And there are not a whole lot of us left."
Maybe it was serendipity. I know it was just plain spooky. Was I somehow supposed to visit this man?
The next day I found myself sitting in the tiny south Denver apartment of Jack Gordon. We talked for three hours.
He is a character. He was a pool shark (he pulls a 1970s article about him), a professional golfer (more articles), a certified art picture framer and an artist.
His apartment walls are filled with his work — oils, pencil, watercolors, all of it beautiful and masterful. Dominating the room is a canvas of his latest piece, a snow scene, propped on a wooden easel.