|Inmates leaving a
Denver jail already are a step behind in life because of their criminal
records or pending charges. Add a health crisis and no insurance, and
those trying to get their lives in order fall even further behind.
But the Denver Sheriff Department and Denver Human Services are trying to help by enrolling inmates in the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare.
Since March, 369 former inmates have been approved for Medicaid coverage, said Andrea Albo, deputy director of assistance for Denver Human Services. There are 408 pending applications, and a total of 1,059 people have applied, she said.
Those who are denied Medicaid enrollment are referred to Connect for Health Colorado, the state's health insurance exchange.
The American Jail Association is encouraging county detention centers across the country to do the same, according to the association's website.
The plan also is saving money for the sheriff's department, said Simon Crittle, a department spokesman.
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, December 31, 2014
Friday, December 19, 2014
Mass Incarceration’s Collateral Damage: The Children Left Behind | The Nation
Steven Alexander was in sixth grade when his mother, Carmen
Demourelle, was sentenced to twelve years in prison for pickpocketing in
New Orleans’s French Quarter. Though she was held in a women’s prison
just an hour away, her four children could not telephone her and visited
only about once a year.
At the time of her arrest, Demourelle was working sporadically as a
beautician, though she was mainly making “fast money” by selling drugs
and picking pockets while her children were in school, she said. But
after school, she was an engaged and caring mother—until she was sent to
prison. “I missed everything about her,” Alexander recalled. “I wanted
All four of Demourelle’s children moved in with their grandmother,
who worked nights at a hospital. She supported them financially,
Alexander said, but their schoolwork suffered almost immediately without
their mother, who had been strict, especially about school. She hadn’t
allowed them to play outside or turn on the television until their
homework was done. She enforced early bedtimes. And the children were
not allowed to spend time with neighbors deemed troublemakers.
Soon after their mother’s sentencing, however, homework went undone,
forbidden friendships blossomed, and evenings at nightclubs became
common—even on school nights.
None of the children finished high school. Almost all struggled with
addiction. Steven’s older brother Stanton got into constant fights. His
little sister, Sandria, was taunted by classmates, who told her: “If
your mother loved you, she wouldn’t have gone to jail.” While in ninth
grade, Sandria became pregnant and dropped out. Even the oldest,
Stanley, an honor student, quit school as a senior after getting his
Steven stopped going to classes during the seventh grade. “I just wasn’t interested anymore,” he said.
read more ..... http://www.thenation.com/article/193121/mass-incarcerations-collateral-damage-children-left-behind
at 7:33 AM
Monday, December 15, 2014
at 7:53 AM
Saturday, December 13, 2014
The Denver Post
PRESCRIPTION KIDS: Read the Denver Post special report on use of psychotropic drugs in the Colorado foster care system.
A medical director would oversee the levels of mind-altering psychotropic drugs prescribed to children and teenagers in Colorado's foster care system and at the Division of Youth Corrections under a budget request submitted this week.
For the first time, the state child welfare department wants to hire a staff of medical professionals — headed by a physician — to monitor prescription medication use in youth corrections and the child welfare system, as well as other health issues. Officials have asked the legislature's Joint Budget Committee for $700,000 to hire a contracted doctor and four staff members, including two nurses.
Colorado is one of only 10 states without a medical director overseeing the foster care system.
Rising numbers of foster children nationwide are prescribed potent psychotropic medications because of behavioral problems, anxiety and depression, often brought on by trauma in their lives. Child advocates have called for fewer drugs and more therapy to treat the root cause of the children's behavioral problems.
Critics say that few studies have examined side effects on children and that heavy doses make kids seem detached and sedated.
at 7:03 AM
Thursday, December 04, 2014
From Ferguson to Staten Island, Justice and Accountability Are Nowhere in Sight
December 4, 2014
- By gabriel sayegh
In New York City yesterday, a grand jury failed to indict the officer who killed Eric Garner in Staten Island.
The grand jury decision isn’t just disappointing, it’s downright alarming.
Grand juries aren't supposed to find innocence or guilt - they're
supposed to decide whether there is enough evidence to accuse someone
and bring them to trial.
The killing of Eric Garner was caught on camera and the video went
viral. The coroner ruled the death a homicide. In the face of such
compelling, awful evidence, the Garner family and communities across the
country reasonably expected some accountability.
In refusing to indict the officer who choked Eric Garner to death,
the grand jury is saying the loss of Garner’s life doesn’t require even
the most basic inquiry and process of a trial. Once again, the deep
flaws with our broken criminal justice system are exposed.
Unfortunately, these flaws are found not only in New York City, but
across the country. Last week in Ferguson, MO, a different grand jury
refused to indict the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown.
From discredited stop-and-frisk practices, to the controversial “broken
windows” policing, to the indefensible racial disparities in drug law
enforcement, systemic racism – long a part of the failed war on drugs –
is clearly a standard feature in our criminal justice system.
Yet because this racism is about systems and not individuals, it
makes it harder for some people to see and understand. In her
bestselling book The New Jim Crow,
law professor, Michelle Alexander, popularized the concept of systemic
racism by outlining the long history of racial subjugation in the U.S.
and its modern manifestations, wherein policies, institutional practices
and politics combine to criminalize, stigmatize and devalue people of
Yesterday, my colleague Yolande Cadore wrote
about these connections from Ferguson, where she’s marching for justice
along with faith leaders from around the country. She wrote:
“Many may ask – what does the death of Michael
Black lives matter. And other than slavery and Jim Crow laws, no other
social policy has served to devalue Black lives more than America’s drug
In August, when nationwide protests erupted after the killing of Michael Brown, another DPA colleague, Sharda Sekaran, wrote about
how the war on drugs “fuels the underlying thread of judgment, stigma
and marginalization that permeates how we value human life and it
enables acts of violence.”
These connections are becoming ever-more apparent in the light of
these tragedies and the subsequent absence of accountability or justice
for those who have lost their lives. A recent report by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement found that every 28 hours, a Black man is killed by police in the U.S.
Too often, those in power attempt to justify these killings by
engaging in character assassination of those who lost their lives.
Authorities will claim, for instance, that the person who was killed was
using drugs – both Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown were accused of
marijuana use, as if this somehow justifies a death sentence.
Eric Garner was accused of selling cigarettes, as if this somehow
justifies a death sentence. These vulgar efforts at character
assassination, coupled with the tired calls to "respect the process" in a
broken criminal justice system, represent petty attempts to obscure the
brutal, ugly reality of systemic racism. In the wake of this latest miscarriage of justice, there are again
calls for reform. The president has promised change, the Department of
Justice has launched an investigation into the Garner case, and elected
officials in New York have promised action.
What will make these promises and investigations lead to justice and
accountability? The pressure brought by peoples movements – like those
that are growing now across the country.
We know that Black lives matter, regardless of what a grand jury
concludes. We know that our country can do better – and we must.
In the midst of our frustration, despair, and anger, let’s redouble
our effort to build vibrant movements for real change, dismantle the New
Jim Crow, and advance justice, equity and human rights for all.
at 3:53 PM
Wednesday, December 03, 2014
We are very excited to share with you the launch of the Take Care Health Matters website. The website serves as a tool and resource to assist justice involved individuals access health care due to the new opportunities under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This website is part of CCJRC’s larger health care access campaign, which we have been engaged in over the past year with our partners the Colorado Center on Law and Policy (CCLP).
TELL YOUR STORY!!!
An estimated 70% - 90% of justice involved individuals in Colorado are currently uninsured. The ACA offers unprecedented opportunities to help connect these justice involved individuals with health care. Not only do we believe the ACA promotes alternatives to the overuse of the criminal justice system, but connecting justice involved individuals with health care has been shown to reduce recidivism and improve the health and lives of individuals. The ACA also provides an opportunity to treat mental health and addiction disorders as a public health issue, not a criminal issue.
We are hopeful this website serves as a resource to increase the number of justice involved individuals who are able to utilize and access health care services in Colorado.
Specific on the website you'll find:
- Video stories from both justice involved individuals and criminal justice staff sharing the importance of health care
- A research library highlighting the significance and impact the ACA can have on justice involved individuals
- Resources for justice involved individuals on who to contact to enroll in and access health care services, including behavioral health
- Recorded webinars for health care, criminal justice, and community members
- A professional guide geared towards health care, criminal justice, and community members to establish relationships and connect with one another
- How to find a health care provider
- And much, much more………
We are extremely grateful for our partnership with CCLP and all of you who have helped contribute to this project. While the ACA offers new strategies to reform the criminal justice system, we know there are challenges and gaps in health care services, particularly for mental health and substance abuse treatment. CCJRC will continue to engage in, monitor, and work to improve the ability for justice involved individuals to enroll in and access health care. As always, we appreciate your continued support as we work to end mass incarceration and promote healthcare as a human right.
at 9:56 AM
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
The Marshall Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization founded on two simple ideas:
1) There is a pressing national need for high-quality journalism about the American criminal justice system. The U.S. incarcerates more people than any country in the world. Spiraling costs, inhumane prison conditions, controversial drug laws, and concerns about systemic racial bias have contributed to a growing bipartisan consensus that our criminal justice system is in desperate need of reform.
The recent disruption in traditional media means that fewer institutions have the resources to take on complex issues such as criminal justice. The Marshall Project stands out against this landscape by investing in journalism on all aspects of our justice system. Our work will be shaped by accuracy, fairness, independence, and impartiality, with an emphasis on stories that have been underreported or misunderstood. We will partner with a broad array of media organizations to magnify our message, and our innovative website will serve as a dynamic hub for the most significant news and comment from the world of criminal justice.
2) With the growing awareness of the system’s failings, now is an opportune moment to amplify the national conversation about criminal justice.
We believe that storytelling can be a powerful agent of social change. Our mission is to raise public awareness around issues of criminal justice and the possibility for reform. But while we are nonpartisan, we are not neutral. Our hope is that by bringing transparency to the systemic problems that plague our courts and prisons, we can help stimulate a national conversation about how best to reform our system of crime and punishment.
A Letter from Our Founder
By Neil Barsky, 11.15.2014The seeds of The Marshall Project were planted a few years ago after I read two books. The first, Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow,” argues that mass incarceration — which dates roughly from President Ronald Reagan's War on Drugs in the 1980s to the present—represents the third phase of African-American oppression in the United States, after slavery and Jim Crow. Alexander documents how the United States came to be the world’s biggest jailer by enacting policies that represented a bipartisan shift in how we address addiction, mental illness, and other non-violent forms of misconduct. Fueled in part by a reaction to civil rights gains and in part by fear of escalating crime, Alexander claims, we enacted tough drug laws, imposed greater mandatory minimum sentences, and ignited a prison boom. Intent can be difficult to prove; impact is irrefutable.
The second, Gilbert King’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Devil in the Grove,” explores the case of four African-American males falsely accused of rape in Lake County, Fla., and the vigilante violence that ensued. At the center of the drama was NAACP Legal Defense Fund attorney Thurgood Marshall, the future Supreme Court justice, who bravely but largely futilely fought in Florida's courts to spare these young men's lives. This took place in 1949, before Brown v. Board of Education (a Marshall legal triumph) and before an organized national movement to combat the Jim Crow segregation laws. The national press did not cover the proceedings.
Spurred on by these chapters in American history, I continued to explore our country's system of crime and punishment. What struck me was not only how expensive, ineffective, and racially biased it is, and how difficult it is to find anyone, liberal or conservative, who defends the status quo. But also how our condition has become taken for granted. Other American crises — soaring health-care costs, the failure of public education — typically lead to public debate and legislative action. But the spike in mass incarceration appears to have had the opposite effect: The general public has become inured to the overuse of solitary confinement, the widespread incidence of prison rape and the mixing of teens and adults in hardcore prisons. The more people we put behind bars, it seemed, the more the issue receded from the public consciousness.
The Marshall Project represents our attempt to elevate the criminal justice issue to one of national urgency, and to help spark a national conversation about reform. I named our organization after Justice Marshall simply because he embodies the principles we hold dear. He was scholarly, he was courageous, and he fiercely believed that the U.S. Constitution was the template to secure civil rights for all.
The Marshall Project will practice open-minded, fact-based journalism without fear or favor. Our editor, Bill Keller, has assembled a first-class team of reporters and editors dedicated to excellence, nonpartisan reporting, and innovation. We are a journalism organization because we think that journalism, done honestly and well, has infinite power to drive change. One need only look to the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements to appreciate how important journalists were in shaping public opinion. We do not need to be strident or ideological or selective in our use of facts . When the truth is as disturbing as it was in the segregated South, or in Vietnam, or today's prisons and courts, truthful reporting can have a powerful impact. We will explore what is working as well as what is broken, and where the potential exists for meaningful reform. Our commentary section will be written by individuals whose views encompass a broad range of perspectives. Our board of advisers, for example, includes both the inspirational civil rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson from the Equal Justice Initiative, and the conservative thinker Marc Levin from Right on Crime, both of whom have devoted their careers to making our system more humane and effective.
Being nonpartisan is not the same as being neutral. We approach the issue with the view — shared by a growing number of conservatives and liberals — that our system needs serious rethinking. Thank you for your interest in The Marshall Project, and please do not hesitate to tell us what you think.
A Letter from Our Editor
By Bill Keller, 11.15.2014In March I left The New York Times after 30 years there as a reporter, editor and columnist to help launch something new: a non-profit newsroom devoted to coverage of the American criminal justice system.
In the ensuing months we have assembled a diverse team of journalists, set in motion a wide range of reporting projects, built a website to serve as a worthy stage for our journalism, and begun to forge partnerships with a range of established media organizations that will amplify our voice.
We are not here to promote any particular agenda or ideology. But we have a sense of mission. We want to move the discussion of our institutions of justice — law enforcement, courts, prisons, probation — to a more central place in our national dialogue. We believe, as the great jurist Thurgood Marshall did, that protection under the law is the most fundamental civil right in a free society. Yet, by the numbers, the United States is a global outlier, with a prison population matched by no nation except, possibly, North Korea, with a justice system that disproportionately afflicts communities of need and of color, with a corrections regime that rarely corrects.
We aim to accomplish our mission through probing, fair-minded journalism, combining investigative rigor, careful analysis, and lively storytelling. We will examine the failings of our criminal justice system — but also test promising reforms. While a number of news organizations are doing distinguished reporting on crime and punishment, the journalistic energy devoted to this kind of reporting, time consuming and expensive as it is, has been sapped by the financial traumas of the news industry. Our aim is both to restore some of that lost energy and to be a catalyst for coverage elsewhere. We will publish the fruits of our reporting here and expand our audience by collaborating with first-rate newspapers, magazines, broadcasters and other online news sites.
In addition to our original reporting, we will compile the most interesting news and commentary from around the world of criminal justice, distributing our findings in our daily email, and offer this site as a hub for debate and accord. We are nonpartisan and nonideological, which means you will find here the voices of progressives and conservatives, centrists and provocateurs. As it happens, criminal justice is one of the few areas of public policy where there is a significant patch of common ground between right and left.
We are also nonprofit, dependent on the generosity of foundations and individuals. Our website and email are free of charge, but we invite you to click the “donate” button if you find The Marshall Project to be of interest and value. And join the conversation on social media or through our Letters to the Editor feature.
at 7:06 AM
Saturday, October 18, 2014
Randy Ankeney was once a rising star in the Colorado Republican party, only to become a pariah after being found guilty of numerous sex crimes. However, he now has the opportunity to impact the state in a completely different way. A complaint he brought about alleged prisoner-release violations by the Colorado Department of Corrections is headed to the state supreme court, and if it's successful, his attorney, David Lane, says it could result in potentially thousands of inmates who've been incarcerated too long being freed. Details, more photos and original documents below.
See also: Clayton Lockett Botched Execution: Denver's David Lane Files Suit Over "Disgrace to USA"
The case is exceedingly complex, but Lane, who just spoke to us about the lawsuit he filed on behalf of Clayton Lockett, the Oklahoma killer whose execution was horribly botched earlier this year, sees its possible impact as simple. In his words, "The State of Colorado will immediately have to parole thousands of inmates if we win."
Five years later, Ankeney got into trouble again, this time in regard to a twenty-year-old woman. The Independent notes that he was " originally slapped with three felony sex offenses and two misdemeanor charges, ranging from sexual assault to false imprisonment." According to the opening brief to the Colorado Supreme Court (one of three documents shared here), the cumulative cases resulted in convictions for child abuse -- negligently cause serious bodily injury, plus third-degree sexual assault and stalking -- emotional distress.
For these crimes, Ankeney was sentenced to a total of eight years, with the possibility of parole after considerably less time -- and when that parole should have kicked in is the crux of the Supreme Court case.
"Envision a sentence as a timeline," Lane says, "with your first day of incarceration on the left and the inmate serving time from left to right. The first significant date is the parole eligibility date. That's determined by statute as 50 percent of the sentence" -- in Ankeney's case, four years -- "if you've been behaving yourself. And the other significant date is the mandatory release date, when they can't hold you any longer -- they have to parole you. And good behavior should make that timeline move back from right to left."
|Rick Raemish, executive director of Colorado's Department of Corrections, seen in a 7News interview, is among the plaintiffs named in the complaint.|
However, Lane argues that the DOC "is refusing to use good time to calculate your mandatory release date." As a result, "they said Ankeney's mandatory release date wouldn't hit until he'd served six years and change."
In response, Lane goes on, "Ankeney called bullshit and filed his own case in district court."
He lost his first attempt "because the parole statutes are massively complicated and confusing," Lane points out. "But then he took his own appeal to the Court of Appeals and won."
at 8:01 AM
Thursday, September 25, 2014
Kids For Cash: Inside One of the Nation’s Most Shocking Juvenile Justice Scandals | Democracy Now!
Please be disturbed by this. Today a special on "kids for cash," the shocking story of how thousands
of children in Pennsylvania were jailed by two corrupt judges who
received $2.6 million in kickbacks from the builders and owners of
private prison facilities. We hear from two of the youth: Charlie
Balasavage was sent to juvenile detention after his parents unknowingly
bought him a stolen scooter; Hillary Transue was detained for creating a
MySpace page mocking her assistant high school principal. They were
both 14 years old and were sentenced by the same judge, Judge Mark
Ciavarella, who is now in jail himself — serving a 28-year sentence.
Balasavage and Transue are featured in the new documentary, "Kids for
Cash," by filmmaker Robert May, who also joins us. In addition, we speak
to two mothers: Sandy Fonzo, whose son Ed Kenzakoski committed suicide
after being imprisoned for years by Judge Ciavarella, and Hillary’s
mother, Laurene Transue. Putting their stories into context of the
larger scandal is attorney Robert Schwartz, executive director of the
Juvenile Law Center. The story is still developing: In October, the
private juvenile-detention companies in the scandal settled a civil
lawsuit for $2.5 million.
at 8:15 AM
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
After the Murder of Tom Clements, Can Colorado's Prison System Rehabilitate Itself? by Alan Prendergast
One had to do with the excessive use of solitary confinement in order to isolate and punish the state's most troublesome prisoners. The other was the staggeringly high failure rate of parole.
Clements was a numbers guy. A native of the Show Me State, he valued empirical data more than gut instincts or sacred cows. A former parole officer who'd worked his way up to the top ranks of the Missouri state prison system, he was part of a growing reform movement in corrections: the promulgation of "evidence-based practices" by administrators whose idea of managing offenders is turning them into productive citizens again rather than simply moving them around. What mattered were hard numbers and programs with a track record of successful outcomes, and the data on the Colorado DOC wasn't good.
Forty-seven percent. As Clements saw it, that figure had a lot to do with some other dismal figures: the state's stubbornly high recidivism rate, hovering around 50 percent, and the steady return of thousands of parole violators to prison within months of their release.
The subject of Colorado's ad-seg problem figured prominently in the discussions of the executive-director job that Clements had with Governor John Hickenlooper. Without mentioning any names, Hickenlooper made passing reference to one prisoner, the son of a friend, who'd spent the bulk of his sentence in lockdown because of disciplinary problems. Clements took the position that the routine release of damaged, violent felons directly from isolation wasn't simply a parole problem, but a threat to public safety.
Reducing the use of solitary confinement became one of the new chief's top priorities. He pushed for more frequent and thorough reviews of who was in ad-seg and why, as well as initiatives to get prisoners out of isolation and into classes, drug treatment and mental-health programs before release. During his first two years on the job, the state's ad-seg population dropped by nearly 50 percent. Clements was encouraged by the progress, but hardly satisfied.
"It's only a matter of time," he told one top deputy, "until something goes bad."
His prediction proved to be all too accurate. But not even the new chief expected it to go quite as bad as it did, literally on his own doorstep. On the evening of March 19, 2013, Clements answered the doorbell at his Monument home and was confronted by a parole absconder named Evan Ebel — the same "son of a friend" Hickenlooper had mentioned during Clements's 2011 job interview. Released from ad-seg just seven weeks earlier, Ebel had already killed Nathan Leon, a pizza delivery driver, just to get his uniform. Ebel fatally shot Clements with a nine-millimeter handgun and fled, only to be killed himself two days later in a shootout with Texas authorities.
Almost eighteen months later, many questions about the death of Tom Clements remain unanswered. Authorities have described it as a gang-ordered assassination. Citing unnamed sources, the Denver Post has even suggested that it was a murder for hire, commissioned by a Saudi national who'd been denied a transfer out of a Colorado prison just days earlier. But aside from Stevie Vigil, the young woman who supplied Ebel with his gun, no charges have been filed against anyone in the case — and longtime friends of Ebel, citing letters and a recorded message he left behind, have insisted that the murder was an act of personal vengeance against a system that he despised.
Trying to make sense of a senseless killing has put considerable strain not only on investigators, but on DOC officials, as well, who have struggled to define what sort of "lesson," if any, can be gleaned from the tragedy. On one hand, Rick Raemisch, the current director, has expressed his determination to honor Clements's legacy, leading to a dramatic reduction in the number of mentally ill prisoners in ad-seg. But the shock and outrage of the slaying has also led to a major shakeup in the department's leadership team and retrenchment in many critical areas, including parole. Clements had set out to change not only the direction of DOC policy, but also the agency's internal culture, and many of his initiatives are now on hold or have been quietly scrapped. While the system failures exposed by Ebel's rampage have generated a flurry of new legislation and heightened security measures, some observers wonder if Clements's death has also jeopardized reforms that he regarded as long overdue.
at 2:10 PM
Sunday, August 17, 2014
at 6:38 AM
Tuesday, August 05, 2014
Hi there!!! CCJRC was awarded a grant to attend and participate in a class for Digital Storytelling for Nonprofits. We created a movie and now we are in the running for a fabulous prize…These are digital stories that nonprofit organizations created as part of their participation in Open Media Foundation's Digital Storytelling for Nonprofits class.
Winning videos will be announced on Friday August 8th at 7pm, during the live show 'SparqU Presents: The Perfect Pitch for Nonprofits'". If you have already voted for this, thank you!!
Can you go to the link below and vote for “Floorboards” ? Floorboards was written about the story of a son’s experience of his mother’s incarceration and their eventual reunion. This is a preview of the live performance that you will be able to see at the CCJRC "Voices for Justice" 6th Annual Fundraiser
Thank you so much!!! (After you get to the Open Media website you have to click on the red stars under the title until they turn yellow and the vote count actually changes).
Don't forget to get your tickets to the
CCJRC’s 2014 6th Annual Fundraiser
VOICES FOR JUSTICE
Thursday, September 18, 2014
5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m
COCKTAILS AND CUISINE
BOXES AND BASKETS SILENT AUCTION
MILE HIGH STATION
2027 West Lower Colfax
CATERED BY FOOTERS
Early bird tickets: $85
PLEASE JOIN US FOR ANOTHER WONDERFUL EVENING!
This year, we are honoring Claire Levy for her invaluable contribution to criminal justice reform. As House Representative, she carried a significant number of bills vital to reducing recidivism, implementing smarter sentencing and drug policy, expanding funding for treatment, increasing alternatives to incarceration, and providing resources to people with criminal convictions. Her work on the Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice (CCJJ) was exemplary as is her current work as Executive Director of the Colorado Center on Law and Policy.
CCJRC has been successfully advocating for sensible criminal justice reform in Colorado for more than a decade. We were founded in 1999 when Senator Dorothy Rupert, in alliance with Representative Penfield Tate, introduced legislation calling for a three-year halt on prison expansion and the creation of a task force on sentencing reform. Today, CCJRC includes more than 100 community organizations and faith communities and nearly 6,500 individual members statewide. We have worked diligently over the years to develop criminal justice policies and grassroots campaigns that effectively promote public safety and rehabilitation while reducing the prison population.
The Rupert Tate Game Changer Award honors its two co-founders and their prescience in challenging the criminal justice status quo in Colorado. It is a great honor to extend this award to
Second Chance CenterBill Vandenberg
$750 - Advocate Sponsors
$500 – Freedom Fighter Sponsors
$250 – Justice SponsorsElizabeth Anderman Tony and Leigh Bubb
T. Marshal Seufert Brian Connors Councilman Albus Brooks Endpoint Direct
Advocates for Change St. Francis Center Longmont Community Justice Partnership
Colorado Juvenile Defender Coalition Colorado Behavioral Health Council
Voices for Justice Sponsor - $10,000
Game Changer Sponsor - $5,000
Supporting Sponsor - $2,500
Contributing Sponsor $1,000
Advocate Sponsor - $750
Freedom Fighter Sponsor - $500
Rupert-Tate Sponsor - $375
Justice Sponsor - $250
at 11:04 PM
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Friday, July 18, 2014
he U.S. Sentencing Commission voted Friday to slash sentences for 46,000 inmates serving time for drug offenses, the latest move in a concerted effort by state and federal officials to ease decades-old policies that have clogged jails and prisons.
If the move is not blocked by Congress, more than two-thirds of federal prisoners incarcerated for drug crimes will be eligible for sentence reductions averaging more than two years.
Atty. Gen Eric H. Holder Jr. originally asked the commission, a group of judges and other lawyers who establish sentencing policies, to take a much narrower approach that would affect just 20,000 inmates.
But Holder said Friday he supports the new policy. “This is a milestone in the effort to make more efficient use of our law enforcement resources and to ease the burden on our overcrowded prison system, ” he said in a statement.
Judge Patti B. Saris, chair of the commission, said, “This amendment received unanimous support from commissioners because it is a measured approach. It reduces prison costs and populations, and responds to statutory and guidelines changes since the drug guidelines were initially developed, while safeguarding public safety.”
No prisoner would be released until a judge reviews their case to determine whether a reduced sentence poses a risk to public safety.
The House and Senate would have to vote by Nov. 1 to block the plan. But there has been bipartisan support in both houses for a broad change in prison policies.
at 3:13 PM
Thursday, July 10, 2014
at 9:43 AM
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
National Blueprint for Drug Policy Reform
Can't believe this is on the White House website.
Today, we will unveil the latest update to President Obama’s plan for reducing drug use and its consequences, the 2014 National Drug Control Strategy. This Strategy, which continues to be shaped by the input of people across the country like you, rejects the notion that we can arrest and incarcerate our way out of the nation’s drug problem. Instead, it builds on decades of research demonstrating that while law enforcement should always remain a vital piece to protecting public safety, addiction is a brain disorder—one that can be prevented and treated, and from which people recover.
Watch the release of the Strategy live today, Wednesday, July 9th, at 10 a.m. EST.
Data have shown that in several major U.S. counties, crime and substance use are linked. Most recently, we saw that in five counties, one-third or more of adult male arrestees tested positive for an illicit substance at the time of their arrest. Only one-quarter or fewer of all arrestees had ever participated in any outpatient drug or alcohol treatment and less than 30% had ever participated in any inpatient drug or alcohol treatment. Many of these men will be caught in a painful cycle of arrest, incarceration, substance use disorders, and re-arrest. Our prisons and jails are already overcrowded with people who desperately need compassionate, evidence-based treatment for the disease of addiction--not a jail cell.
The plan we released today calls for reforming our criminal justice system to find alternatives to incarceration – and effective interventions across the entire system to get people the treatment they need.
Here’s the problem: far too often, for people who need it most, the criminal justice system can seem like the only way to get help for a substance use disorder. That’s because until recently, prohibitively high costs and limited access to treatment put it out of reach for millions of people in need.
We know that only about 10 percent of people with a diagnosable substance use disorder actually receives treatment at a specialty facility. While several factors contribute to this abysmal statistic, much of that disparity is owed to a lack of healthcare coverage – and that’s about to change. Through a rule made possible by the Affordable Care Act, we are requiring insurers to treat substance use disorders in the same way they would any other chronic disease. Specifically, this new rule expands coverage of mental health and substance use disorder services to 62 million Americans.
The plan we released today calls on healthcare providers to prevent and treat addictive disorders just like they would treat any other chronic disorder, like diabetes or heart disease. It calls on law enforcement, courts, and doctors to collaborate with each other to treat addiction as a public health issue, not a crime.
We chose to release the 2014 Strategy in Roanoke because, in three important ways, it’s a microcosm of the policies our office has been promoting since 2009:
- Access to treatment, a focus on prevention, and compassion. Roanoke is home to one of the largest behavioral healthcare centers in the region. The center is co-located with a Drug Free Communities coalition, which prevents substance use among at-risk youth, and a program called Project Link, which helps opioid-dependent women and pregnant mothers get treatment and give birth to drug-free babies.
- Alternatives to incarceration. In 2011, the Roanoke Police Department worked with community and faith leaders in the Hurt Park neighborhood to shut down the open-air drug market operating there and drastically reduce violent crime in the area. As part of this intervention, community leaders came together to offer the low-level, non-violent drug offenders involved in the sweep a life-changing alternative: either face prosecution and lengthy sentences, or change your lives with the support of the community. In Roanoke, I met with one of those ex-offenders who is now employed full-time and caring for his family.
- Local solutions for local challenges. In a corner building in downtown Roanoke operates a community action center with roots in President Lyndon Johnson’s landmark anti-poverty legislation. Half a century ago, local leaders established what is now called Total Action for Progress (TAP), which operates 30 programs in the Roanoke Valley region aimed at improving employment opportunities at-risk youth, early childhood development, and re-entry and support services for veterans. I visited TAP to speak with young people and a veteran whose lives have been changed by these programs, and was inspired by their stories of hope.
In response to this opioid epidemic, this Strategy updates the President’s 2011 Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Plan by calling for increased access to naloxone, a lifesaving overdose-reversal medication.
The widespread use of naloxone in the hands of law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical personnel will save lives. It can also serve as a critical intervention point to get people into treatment and on the path to recovery.
Today, there are millions of Americans in recovery from substance use disorders who are healthy, responsible, and engaged members of their communities. The Strategy outlines steps to help lift the stigma associated with substance use disorders. It also works to reform the laws and regulations that impede recovery from substance use disorders, including those that place obstacles in the way of housing, employment, and obtaining a driver’s license or student loan because of a prior conviction for a drug-related offense.
The National Drug Control Strategy released today is rooted in the belief that illicit drug use is a public health issue, not just a criminal justice problem. As the innovative law enforcement and social support programs in Roanoke prove, this philosophy can reduce illicit drug use while building healthier, safer, more vibrant communities.
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Wednesday, July 02, 2014
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