The Denver Post
During his two years as executive director of Colorado's Department of Corrections, Tom Clements pushed a series of reforms, ranging from closure of two Colorado prisons to backing lowering felony drug sentences to pay for more drug treatment programs.
Here is a list of some of the initiatives and changes that occurred during the tenure of Clements in Colorado:
• Commissioned consultants from National Institute of Corrections to do an independent look at Colorado's solitary confinement system. That report found shortcomings and a high rate of Colorado prisoners in "administrative segregation." Clements instituted reforms based on study.
• Oversaw closure of Colorado State Penitentiary II, also known as Centennial South, which consists of 948 solitary-confinement cells.
• Implemented closure of Fort Lyon Correctional Facility near Las Animas.
• Commissioned prison utilization study, which is still underway and is expected to be released in June. That study is expected to guide and shape further decisions on potential prison closures.
• As member of the newly formed Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice backed lowering felony drug sentences so savings could be used to bolster drug treatment programs in prison.
• Oversaw an overhaul of the classification system the corrections department uses to determine what security level prisoners should be incarcerated in. The last time the corrections system changed that classification system was 17 years ago.
• Hired outside consultants to review the sex offender treatment programs in prisons and embraced recommendations for change those consultants made.
• Reevaluated how state prisons provide treatment to mentally ill prisoners.
• Pushed new partnerships with faith-based institutions, non-profits and government agencies to assist in transitioning parolees back to society. Also pushed for reforms to programs that train prisoners for eventual re-entry back to society.
Christopher N. Osher: 303-954-1747, firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/chrisosher
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.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
The Denver Post