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.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

February Newsletter from CCJRC

The Record Sealing Bill
Ritter and His 800-pound Gorilla
The Parole Board is Hiring
Community Re-entry Project Is Hiring
CPC Is Hiring
Upcoming Events
CCJRC Membership

News From CCJRC

Record Sealing Bill Approved in House Judiciary Committee --You Did It!!

The Record Sealing Bill (HB 1107) is moving forward in the state legislature.

In a very strong 9-2 vote, the House Judiciary Committee approved the measure on Wednesday.

There was powerful testimony from many people who have been discriminated against while trying to find employment due to criminal records that are 7-10-25 years old. Legislators were visibly moved by their emotional testimony. Many thanks to all the witnesses and other supporters who waited over 5 hours before HB 1107 was heard. You made the difference.

The Colorado Press Association and the District Attorney's Council opposed the bill although the DA's Council is negotiating with the bill sponsor on amendments that would ensure that law enforcement would always have access to the records for law enforcement purposes.

CCJRC has no problem with the amendment and the D.A's opposition should be taken care of.

Hats off to Maureen Cain for all of her hard lobbying work to neutralize opposition.

Representatives who voted "Yes": Terrance Carroll (D), Morgan Carroll (D), Mike Cerbo (sponsor) (D), Andy Kerr (D), Steve King (R), Claire Levy (D), Rosemary Marshall (D), Debbie Stafford (R), and Amy Stephens (R). Many thanks to the bill sponsor,

Mike Cerbo, and for all the support from these other legislators.

Representatives who voted "No": Bob Gardner (R) and Ellen Roberts (R).

Both Representative Gardner and Roberts expressed concerns about the employers right
to know about a prospective employee's criminal history and the HB 1107 didn't draw the right "balance" between an employer's right to know and person's right to privacy. Representative Roberts expressed sympathy for the struggle people face finding employment and is interested in discussing ideas on how to address her concerns.

Next, HB 1107 will be heard by the House Appropriations Committee. This has yet to be scheduled but we will keep you posted.

Your calls and emails to legislators make a huge difference . Hang in there with us!

If HB 1107 passes, people who have an adult criminal record can petition the court to have it sealed after 10 years following the completion of a sentence or release from prison. Right now there is NO way to seal an adult record in state law. Also, our deep appreciation goes out to or friends at the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar Association for their leadership on this bill.
Without CCDB, this bill would not have happened and our deep thanks goes to Guss Guarino (CCDB Executive Director), Tom Hammond (CCDB President),and Maureen Cain (CCDB's marvelous lobbyist).

Ritter Confronts The 800-pound Gorilla

In his state of the state speech on January 11th, New Governor Bill Ritter specifically
identified slowing growth in the prison population as a goal of his administration.
After years of prison reform being stymied at the the state-level, event to the point that policymakers didn't even want to talk about what reforms could be made,
this new administration wants to at least look at the reasons for the outrageous growth in our prison population.

Governor Ritter appointed Judge Pete Weir as the Head of Public Safety, and Ari Zavaras as the Executive Director of the Department of Corrections. Both have publicly stated that they have been given "marching" orders by the Governor to come up with strategies to reduce recidivism that would slow growth in the prison budget (and population) and promote public safety.

The directive from Governor Ritter included language that discussed the need to prevent crimes before they occur. He wants to look at drug courts and other intervention programs,
since over 85% of those incarcerated have self-reported that they have a drug or alcohol problem.

Colorado has a 49% recidivism rate which is one of the driving factors in our prison population.
Governor Ritter has begun the discussion about developing programs that allowed people to successfully re-integrate.

He stated that recidivism reduction would be a top-priority in order to curb the prison budget. CCJRC submitted our letter to the Governor with strategies that would slow (and even reverse) the growth in prison population.

Simply put, we would only have to improve the outcomes of people on parole by a
100 people a month statewide, that in itself would create zero and even negative population growth.

It's not about radical sentencing reform, it's a discussion about small policy changes that over time have a large impact. Eighty-four percent of the people who are returned to prison go back on a technical violation of parole, these are not new criminal actions. Technical violations are the list of conditions that someone is released with, if they fail one of these conditions they can be revoked to prison.

The Department of Corrections says that it needs $806 million for prison construction projects
over the next five years. They also need an additional $42.9 million to get started on CSP II which was originally budgeted at $102.8 million. Colorado simply can't afford to build
and operate all of those projects. Expanding reliance on the private prisons and shipping people out of state are not acceptable options.

Governor Ritter has made promise to Colorado and we look forward to having the opportunity to work with this administration to help him keep that promise.

Who is the Parole Board? ….and how does it work?

The Parole Board in Colorado holds parole hearings and considers
applications for parole. The also conduct all proceedings involving the
revocation of parole. There are 7 members, they serve a 3 year term, they
work full-time and they make $86,000 a year!!

The Board itself shall consist of two representatives from law enforcement, one
former parole or probation officer and four citizen representatives. The members are required
to have knowledge of parole, rehabilitation, correctional administration and the functioning
of the criminal justice system. Three members must have at least five years education
or experience or a combination thereof in their respective fields.

Three of the current Parole Board members' terms expire this July 1.
Two of these slots are from "citizen" representatives and 1 "law enforcement" representative.
Also, the head of the parole board, Allen Stanley is“awaiting confirmation by the Senate”.
Governor Owens reappointed him in the last days of his administration and it’s up to
Bill Ritter to decide to to go forward with that appointment.

We have over a hundred boards and commissions in this state. Of those, only two have full-time positions, the Public Utilities Commission and the Colorado State Parole Board.

The 2007 version of the Colorado Boards and Commissions was just recently released, you can download it at http://www.colorado.gov/governor/press/pdf/BOOK2007.pdf

This booklet lists every board and it contains an application that you can use to apply for a position as well. If you have any opinions on the current parole board or suggestions, you should write to Governor Ritter.

The Ritter Recidivism Reduction Package

Governor Ritter released his Budget Amendment package today the link for the entire list
of proposed budget amendments is here .

He also released a separate memo called governor Ritter's Recidivism Reduction
and Offender Diversion package. Pursuant to the Colorado Promise, the goal is to invest in programs which protect public safety while allowing for diversion and successful transition from the Dept. of Corrections.

CCJRC has always advocated for funding for mental health and substance abuse treatment. It looks as though the Governor understands that making an investment may be the best way to help people from going to prison in the first place and perhaps stopping them from going back when they have a difficult time re-integrating.

Two things that are happening are that CUSP would be implemented, which creates a model that incorporates several agencies to provide real services to people and the STIRRT program will be implemented statewide.

Governor Ritter has asked for over 8 million dollars to start and looks for a return on his investment of 3.2 million dollars in 2007-2008 and over $11 million in out year savings.

Read the Recidivism Reduction and Offender Diversion package here

New for 2007

Changes at CCJRC

CCJRC BLOG "Think Outside the Cage"

CCJRC has launched our new blog. The new website is nearly complete, there are just a few minor technical things that have to be ironed out.

The purpose of the blog is to inform you of local, state and national
news that is related to the issues we battle. We also periodically post reports and Op-Ed columns that we believe you may find interesting. I hope you enjoy the new feature and if you want to have Think Outside The Cage delivered to your email daily, you can just enter your information on the front page of the blog and subscribe.

The Community Re-Entry Project

We are pleased an excited to announce that the Matthew's Center Community Re-Entry Project (formerly known as the One-Stop) is getting ready to open its' doors. The Executive Director, Jenifer Reynolds and two case managers have been hired and they are looking to open in the next few weeks. They are still looking for an office manager. This is a new project that has been developed in order to help reduce recidivism rates in Denver .

The One Stop will be housed at the Matthews Center, located in the Five Points-Whittier neighborhoods. This project offers a multi-level community based approach to helping people access services at a single location.

The One-Stop is based on an intensive case management model that affords significant one-on-one time with clients. Case Managers will prioritize helping people meet basic needs to ensure that they are obtaining identification, employment, housing, mental health and substance abuse assessments and treatment.

Please send me an email if you would like the job description and application email me at pam@ccjrc.org. You can also contact

The Community Reentry Project
3030 Downing Street
Denver, Colorado 80205
Jenifer Reynolds
Project Coordinator
(303) 949-4450

Also, note that these jobs ARE felon-friendly, and experience can definitely be substituted for the minimum education requirements.

Vision ~ Action ~ Results
Building a Progressive Future for Colorado since 1996…

PLEASE CIRCULATE WIDELY! Great Employment Opportunity:
CPC Campaign for Economic Justice: Director Position (full-time)

Help CPC find a great Director for our Campaign for Economic Justice!
CPC's Tax Fairness Project Director, John Kefalas, did a tremendous job since 2004 building up our work to rollback Colorado's terrible TABOR law; spotlight immoral, Bush pushed tax breaks for the wealthy; confront the racial wealth divide; and build grassroots activism for economic justice across Colorado.

John is now a new, progressive State Representative for Fort Collins House District 52 and CPC is seeking to find someone to fill his senior staff position. We've given the program a bold, new name - the Campaign for Economic Justice - and hope that you will help us circulate this announcement broadly to help us recruit a pool of experienced, diverse, talented, and inspiring candidates!

DEADLINE TO APPLY: March 2, 2007 We’re seeking to hire and start the position in late March 2007. Salaried position in the high $30’s with good benefits, including health, vision, dental, vacation, and a dynamic, diverse, high energy office. Send resume, cover letter, and brief (one to three pages max) writing sample that is relevant to this position by mail or email to coprogressive@aol.com. No phone calls please. Deadline: close of business Friday, March 2, 2007.

GOODSEARCH is here!!!

You can support CCJRC every time you use the internet by making "Good Search" your homepage and using Colorado Criminal Justice
Reform Coalition as your non-profit charity, we get one penny every time you search the internet. Go to http://www.goodsearch.com/ to understand more. Also, you have to type in the whole name of the organization (Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition) and not just CCJRC. If you want to make GoodSearch your home page you can click here and go to http://www.goodsearch.com/MakeHomepage.aspx which
is the link that will explain how to do that. Thank you for your support.


Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center


Saturday, February 17th at 6:00 PM at
Montview Presbyterian Church in Denver

Questions? Please call Betty Betty at RMPJC 303-444-6981.

JAZZ FOR PEACE BENEFIT CONCERT. We strongly encourage you to go to their website at
www.jazzforpeace.org ... they are really excellent -- and highly acclaimed.
They only do 4 benefits a year, and we are honored to have been chosen for
one of them !

Colorado CURE

The 6th annual DOC/CURE Parole Board Forum

Thursday, March 29, from 6:45PM- 9:30PM

Denver Police District 3 Building(Community Room)

1625 S. University Blvd., at I-25 and S. University Blvd.

The DOC Div. of Adult Parole will be first on the agenda to answer questions.


Tuesday, February 27th at DWCF
Behind THE DENVER COUNTY JAIL on Smith Road and Havana

DWCF is just south of the Denver County Jail.

1:00PM-3:30 PM

The training room is reserved starting at 12:30 p.m.

If you have any questions on either of these events

Please contact, Dianne Tramutola-Lawson at 303-758-3390

YOU can be a CCJRC


CCJRC has started our "Freedom Fighters" program. Instead of giving larger donations once or twice a year, members are making generous monthly donations of $5, $10, $15 or more by credit or debit card or by check. This allows CCJRC a real opportunity to budget throughout the year so that we can spend more of our time on fighting the battles we all care about and less time on fundraising. Our members really like it because they can budget their non-profit charitable giving. Go to our secure membershippage or give us a call at 303-825-0122. Thank you for your support.

CCJRC, 1212 Mariposa St. #6, Denver Co 80204

To join right now, online (with a credit card), visit our secure membership page (your credit card information will be encrypted and protected).

Annual Membership Dues:

Low income/student/senior: $15

Individual: $35
Household: $50
Sustainer: $100
Prisoner: $3

Thank you all so much for your involvement!! Remember, your support does make a difference!!

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