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.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Probation under the gun after rash of felonies - The Denver Post

Probation under the gun after rash of felonies - The Denver Post

In the past nine months, 10 Colorado felons were charged with murder or attempted murder for crimes that authorities said were committed while they were supposed to be under the supervision of state probation officers.

The crimes include the March 18 fatal shooting of a college football player in Boulder, the killing of a Weld County sheriff's deputy and the death of a 16-year-old Denver girl who was mutilated.

Three of those felons, Aaron Williams, Matthew Richard Anderson and David Orton — all of whom were not allowed to possess firearms as a condition of their probation — shot at police officers, wounding two of them.

In one case, probationer Shameek Lewis picked up a drug charge, did not show up for


drug testing and disappeared from the program. He resurfaced after he was accused of shooting a man in Fort Collins and killing another in Aurora within a week's time.

As Colorado legislators discuss ways to reduce expensive prison populations, perhaps by putting more people on probation, the rash of probationers charged with new crimes raises questions about whether the state is effectively balancing the responsibility of rehabilitating offenders with public safety.

"I know how serious and upsetting it is to us — especially the officers in the field — when cases end tragically like this," said Tom Quinn, director of the state's Division of Probation Services.

Quinn said the department will consider conducting formal reviews of cases in which probationers commit new violent crimes, something the state currently does not do.

"Predicting human behavior is an inexact science, and predicting rare events (like murder) is more difficult," Quinn said.

Over the years, new statutes aimed at giving young offenders second chances have slightly increased the percentage of the restricted population on probation as compared with prison, particularly for nonviolent criminals. Part of the


Kevin McGregor, 22
reason for the move to probation is cost, which everyone in the criminal-justice system is aware of, even if they insist it doesn't guide decisions. Placing a felon into probation costs $9,000 a year. Housing an offender in state prison costs taxpayers $35,000 each year.

All defendants under consideration are evaluated by probation officers for their suitability and the likelihood that they will complete probation successfully.


Read more: Probation under the gun after rash of felonies - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_17710391#ixzz1HoFg79OF
Read The Denver Post's Terms of Use of its content: http://www.denverpost.com/termsofuse

2 comments:

A. said...

This quote is totally false and highly misleading:

"All defendants under consideration are evaluated by probation officers for their suitability and the likelihood that they will complete their probation successfully."

I'm a family member with a Loved One in the system that was recently denied parole on a seriously excessive sentencing. The vengeful parole wanted a complete admission of guilt to all charges my Loved One didn't commit (3 charges, others in question), but is expected to lie in order to be released. An honest answer was given, but it wasn't what 3 or 4 parole officers demanded, so Colorado pays the tab. What this adds up to is simple and highly expensive: let the state of Colorado pay the $35,000.00 a year (soon to be $40,000.00 - $50,000.00 annually) for housing, feeding, etc. until MRD. Colorado isn't interested in releasing non-violent 'offenders' if they have a preconceived notion that the court/judge is flawless. It's interesting knowing the violent prisoners are given parole opportunities, while non-violent 'offenses' are scrutinized and held by the state due to what appears to be arrogance and possible self-promotion - AT THE THE STATE OF COLORADO'S EXPENSE.

Unfortunatley, this isn't about public safety. After 5 years of wasted abuses from the system, I'm still trying to figure it out. MANY of the incarcerated could have been given education and rehabilitation costing FAR less than the years of housing them with violent prisoners (those that premeditate). There have been a lot of abuses by the criminal justice system witnessed by me. I suggest Colorado citizens demand an end to selective bargaining with its citizens when it comes to incarcerations.

My Loved One was very young, had no prior history of any charges, non-violent, and has worked into a minimum facility due to compliance and good behavior for 4+ years.
Still - denied. However, it seems violent individuals with serious mental and emotional histories are good candidates for parole and continuing their terrorism upon society.

Colorado, please think about all of this. None of these 10 people were ready for parole and the system KNEW it. There are signs and files regarding each prisoner while in the facilities, that prove beyond a doubt whether a progressive move forward is almost 100% guaranteed or almost 100% not.

The parole board needs to have the citizens of Colorado keep them in check. When personal bias from them affects the safety of our living, it's imperative that we get involved and make those changes in a positive manner. Personal opinions in place of facts have no place in this precarious system.

I'm simply ONE that is NOT fooled.

Charisma Combestra said...

In the past nine months, 10 Colorado felons were charged with murder or attempted murder for crimes that authorities said were committed while they were supposed to be under the supervision of state probation officers..see also crosman 800x.