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.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Denver Post Letters to the Editor

I had the privilige of being at a conference last year where LEAP presented. It was probably one of the most powerful statements on what policy does to affect us on a social level that I have ever been invited to see. The truth is powerful and sickening, but the story needs to be told and something needs to be done about the level of corruption that is at the core of the War on Drugs.

Drugs and Prisons

Re: "Aiming for course corrections on prison priorities," Feb. 15 Diane Carman column.

Diane Carman hits the target in this column. Cutting to the matter's core, her summation of the "bogus war on drugs," defining "Colorado's very own Iraq war," is eloquent. And her reference to the drug war as "insanely self-perpetuating" is a bull's-eye.

The facts and figures on the costs of this ill-conceived policy in Colorado are just the tip of the iceberg. Nationwide, it is a 37-year, trillion-dollar abject failure.

Carman ends her column with a simple statement, saying, "Now all we need is a leader."

I challenge Department of Corrections Director Ari Zavaras, who is a former Denver police chief, and Gov. Bill Ritter, who was Denver DA, to take the lead. Join me and more than 6,500 other current and former criminal justice professionals at LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) in working to end the "war on drugs."

When substance abusers are no longer criminals who commit more crime to pay for their addictions (less crime/incarceration) and drug dealers are out of business for lack of profit (less crime/incarceration), then Colorado, like New York, can close prisons. That's a real "win-win."

Tony Ryan, Aurora

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