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.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Griego: Denver Justice High School replaces "at-risk" label with hope - The Denver Post

Griego: Denver Justice High School replaces "at-risk" label with hope - The Denver Post

Toni Harper graduated May 27 from Denver Justice High School. She was salutatorian of her class of 12, and Post photographer John Leyba shot a great picture of her. She's wearing her cap and gown and is crying, one hand raised to her brow. Her principal, Gary Losh, stands at her side, comforting her.

Tears are expected at high school graduations. But the photo caption noted Denver Justice High is an alternative charter school serving "at-risk students." Toni, then, was a young woman who had come within a hair's-breadth of not graduating. But she did, and in that "but" resides a story.

I meet Toni and her mom on Monday morning at the high school, which is a former church that looks like a former insurance office off West Elk Place and Shoshone Street. Most of the students here could not find a fit in a traditional high school setting. Some cut a lot of class. Some got into trouble with the law. Most have six, seven, eight years worth of learning to catch up on.

Toni enrolled two years ago when the school, which started in Boulder, opened a sister campus here. Before that, she had been at George Washington High School, Contemporary Learning Academy, the PREP Center and Smiley Middle School. Toni, who was in a gifted program in elementary school, slid farther and farther behind.

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