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, April 18, 2011

Criminal records could be made secret - The Denver Post

Criminal records could be made secret - The Denver Post

It soon will be easier for many convicted drug offenders to conceal their criminal histories, and — for the first time — dealers and illegal growers will have a shot at sealing their records too.

A law passed in March requires drug offenders to complete their sentences and wait between three and 10 years with no new crimes before asking a court to hide their convictions from public view.

Law enforcement at the state and local level as well as state-regulated employers in sensitive fields such as medicine and education will still get access to all but some of the lowest-level conviction records. But other employers, out-of-state law enforcement, landlords, professional disciplinary boards and reporters won't.

Critics of the move toward giving convicted criminals more privacy call it "deceptive" and say there are legitimate reasons members of the public would want or need access to that information.

The law is part of a movement in Colorado and elsewhere to soften the negative effects of a criminal record and help those convicted get back on their feet.

Having a job can prevent offenders from repeating their crimes, but potential employers are often scared away by a conviction record, said Christie Donner, executive director of the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition.

"Having these criminal records are a significant impairment for people finding a job or a place to live. People can demonstrate they have a clean track record . . . and not be stigmatized forever," Donner said. "This serves a public safety benefit."

Judges will weigh whether hiding a conviction does more good to an offender than harm to public safety before deciding whether to seal a record.

Colorado in 2008 began allowing low-level drug convictions up to felony possession to be sealed if offenders stayed clean for a decade after their sentences ended.

Read more: Criminal records could be made secret - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_17870144#ixzz1JsP4e0ui
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Many laws in other states are better for stopping discrimination.
In California, for example, 1203.4 of the penal code allows the reduction of the felony sentence, in most circumstances, to a misdeamenor and be dismissed, unless opposed by the DA after the completion of a minimal probation period. In Colorado, once you are convicted, the system has you for life. Very few ever escape outright lawful discrimination in employment and housing.