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 19, 2012

Another prison closure? - The Pueblo Chieftain: Local News

Another prison closure? - The Pueblo Chieftain: Local News
DENVER — Colorado’s dramatically declining prison population could land a state prison on death row as early as Monday.
“We need to stop as a community and be ecstatic that we have less people in prison,” said Roxane White, Gov. John Hickenlooper’s chief of staff. “That’s a good thing for all of us. But the flip side is closing a prison is so hard on a community, and we have more prison closures that we will have to do as these prison numbers decline.”
Side effects of the dwindling population could come quickly.
“On Monday morning, I’ll know,” White said. “It would be fair to say that a prison drop of 189 men a month raises significant concerns about our ability to maintain all facilities.”
Talk among lawmakers has centered on Colorado State Penitentiary II, where 316 administrative-segregation inmates in solitary confinement are housed.
“I think it’s something we’ll be looking at very close,” said Rep. Jon Becker, R-Fort Morgan, who serves on the Joint Budget Committee.
“That’s certainly on the table,” agreed Sen. Mary Hodge, D-Brighton, who also serves on the budget committee.
In the spring of 2010 — while it was making deep cuts to public education and other areas — the Legislature authorized $10.8 million to open CSPII. It closed the loop on a project that had begun in 2003 and been delayed several times.
“We were in such a hurry to build prisons a few years ago without much forethought about the possibility of the population going down that we did this to ourselves,” said Sen. Kevin Grantham, R-Canon City.
Colorado’s shifting philosophy tilts toward moving prisoners out of administrative segregation, which makes CSPII a handy target for elimination talks. Instead of warehousing inmates in administrative segregation, the focus has moved towards preparing them for re-entry to the general population, and ultimately to society on the outside.
“The worst thing you can do is have somebody in administrative segregation, they kill their number and we put them on a bus,” White said. “Then we’re surprised when they don’t do well.”
Since adopting the new philosophy last year, the Department of Corrections already has moved 390 inmates from administrative segregation to the general prison population, according to spokeswoman Katherine Sanguinetti.
Over the next few months, the prison system expects to assess and reclassify 2,000 more prisoners out of administrative segregation, according to White.
Administrative segregation is a subplot to the overarching concern of a prison system that is shedding population faster than even the most ambitious state projections.

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