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.
CAÑON CITY — Douglas Jay checks the salinity of water in a giant tank of tilapia swirling in schools of hundreds.
Jay darts from one fiberglass tank to the next in a giant greenhouse, working with enthusiasm rarely found where he lives — in prison.
He understands that taking good care of fish and working hard could never compensate for raping, fatally shooting and throwing 22-year-old Lisa Ann Pekas from his moving car. But for Jay, who has served 22 years and is now working in an innovative Department of Corrections program, raising fish represents a sea change that he hopes will lead to more productive endeavors.
"Considering what I did — I took a life — I'm doing something now that feeds people," Jay said.
The DOC fish program provides tilapia fillets with no hormones to a business that sells thousands of pounds of fish to Whole Foods Market, which then distributes them to 27 stores in the Intermountain West.
The tilapia program gives Jay and nearly 100 other inmates at minimum- security Arrowhead Correctional Center in Cañon City something to do for a nominal wage.
Pat Henry, 48, wears surgical gloves as he gently sticks his finger inside the mouth of a fish and coaxes hundreds of eggs out into a bucket.
On the other end of the commercial fish/prison enterprise, Frederick Richardson, 43, of Colorado Springs holds a razor-sharp knife in his hand in a warehouse where everyone must walk through a small pool of antiseptic to kill germs.