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.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Colorado House Takes Money From Prison and Puts It Into Schools

Because of a more optimistic state-revenue forecast issued in March, lawmakers were able to fund a $98.5 million property-tax break for seniors that had been the largest single point of contention over the budget. The rosier budget picture also allowed lawmakers to keep per-pupil spending levels for K-12 students at current-year levels and to keep higher-education funding close to the current level.
The budget also would close Colorado State Penitentiary II, saving $13.5 million a year by 2013.
Rep. Mark Waller, R-Colorado Springs, offered an amendment, which passed with bipartisan support, that takes $4.2 million from the Department of Corrections to increase funding for full-day kindergarten. Waller argued that inmate populations had been falling and that the money could be spared to help more kids get into full-day kindergarten.
But Democrats, the minority in the House, also proposed multiple amendments to take millions specifically from private prisons and transfer the money to programs for early-childhood literacy, preschool programs and services for veterans and the developmentally disabled, and for cash payments to the disabled.
All those amendments failed amid Republican arguments that such cuts to private prisons could cause economic devastation to small towns on the Eastern Plains.

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