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.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Johnson: Reverend's pardon shows others they can turn their lifearound - The Denver Post

Johnson: Reverend's pardon shows others they can turn their lifearound - The Denver Post

I never knew. I have known the man for 14 years. Never knew.

When I tell the Rev. Leon Kelly this, he raises his hands, palms up, and shakes as he laughs that deep, booming laugh of his.

His pardon for a crime I never knew he committed hangs in a silver frame on a wall just outside his office. I thought it maybe would be longer, a little more elaborate, festooned with some color and, perhaps, some ribbon.

No, it is just a couple of paragraphs long on the governor's letterhead, a gold seal stamped just above Bill Ritter's signature.

It's easy to understand why Leon Kelly received his pardon. Over a little more than two hours, nearly two dozen people come into his office.

There is the family from Ohio who had heard of him. He rises to greet each of them, hugging them warmly.

Another is a man, 37 years old, bespectacled and neatly dressed from neck to feet. He had been released from prison exactly four days ago. He had done five years this time, and nearly 20 in all.

"With all that I have done, the one man who still was always there for me, more than my own parents, it was him," the man says, pointing at Kelly before hugging him goodbye.

Kelly walks over to a photograph of him with football great Jim Brown and a young boy, maybe 10 years old.

"That is him," he explains, pointing at the door. "I love them all like my own children. Some you can reach . . . "

He has run Open Door Youth Gang Alternatives in Lower Downtown since 1986, working with thousands of elementary school-age children, trying to keep them away from gangs.

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