The Denver Post
GRAND JUNCTION — When Robert Dewey walked out of prison a free man after more than 16 years of being imprisoned for a murder he didn't commit, he left empty-handed.
He wasn't given the $100 debit card that parolees receive on release. He wasn't offered shelter in a halfway house, as the guilty who have served their time are. He wasn't directed to any job training or educational resources.
In Colorado, there is no compensation and no help of any sort for those who have been wrongly imprisoned.
"I didn't even get the 'gate money.' All I got was an apology. The prosecutors said, 'We're really sorry. Have a nice life,' " Dewey, 51, said two months after his release from prison, which was prompted after new DNA testing identified a new suspect in the 1994 killing of a young Palisade woman.
Now, prosecutors across the state agree that Colorado needs to do something to compensate those who are exonerated by DNA evidence after being wrongly imprisoned. A national advocacy group is pushing for the Colorado legislature to craft a compensation law. And legislators are evaluating the introduction of such a law in the next session.
Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?
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.
Friday, July 06, 2012
The Denver Post