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, March 28, 2011

Bill could shift sentences for juveniles - The Denver Post

Bill could shift sentences for juveniles - The Denver Post

Colorado did away with a sentence of life without the possibility of parole for juvenile offenders in 2006, but 45 prisoners already facing that sentence have been left with no chance for freedom.

A bipartisan bill facing a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday would change that — but it faces opposition from the state attorney general.

State Reps. Claire Levy, D-Boulder, and B.J. Nikkel, R-Loveland, are co-sponsoring House Bill 1287, which would retroactively apply the 2006 law, making juveniles convicted and sentenced as adults eligible for parole after serving 40 years.

"It has bothered me for a long time," Levy said of the fact that teens sentenced before 2006 continue to face life without parole. "It was just unfair to leave them stuck in prison for the rest of their lives."

Although the bill primarily expands the coverage of the existing law, attorney general spokesman Mike Saccone said it needs amending to get the approval of Attorney General John Suthers.

"As the bill is currently written, we're opposed to it," Saccone said.

The attorney general's office objects to changing sentences, Saccone said, because victims and their families believe those convicted of crimes against them will never get out of prison.

Saccone also said there could be a legal conflict between the governor's power to pardon convicted criminals and a provision in the bill allowing the Department of Corrections to move prisoners to a reduced-security community corrections program.

Levy said she is not surprised by the opposition from Suthers and district attorneys, but said they need to look at the situation more closely.

"They need to step back and think whether this is best for these kids," Levy said. "We need to do the right thing.

Read more: Bill could shift sentences for juveniles - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/legislature/ci_17715346#ixzz1HtWAj2Es
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