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.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Give'em A Chance

This is a great story about how those directly impacted by the system are the ones who may be the best equipped to work with others who are struggling with re-entry. This story also reminds us how small policy changes can be so debilitating and in some cases devastating.

This is why we support the Record-Sealing bill, the Parolee Voting bill, The Second Chance Act, and the Identity Bill (HB07 1313, which will allow people recently released from prison easier access to a state identification when they get out.) We have to remove those barriers that keep people from being successful if we want to reduce recidivism and increase public safety. Every felony conviction shouldn't carry a life sentence.

In a storefront church in Brooklyn, a half dozen people with criminal records listened intently as another ex-offender led a workshop on their rights and employer hiring practices.

Toward the end, one of them asked if it was a waste of time pursuing a civil service job.

Glenn Martin, who served six years in prison for armed robbery and is now co-director of an organization focused on helping ex-offenders find work, offered reassurance.

"Does anybody here know somebody who works with city sanitation with a conviction record?" he asked on Monday from the pulpit area of Peterson Temple Church of God in Christ in Crown Heights.

Martin, 36, of Midwood, and several supporters -- including church members, workshop organizers and representatives from other groups that work with ex-offenders -- quickly raised their hands.

"Does anybody here know somebody who works for probation with a conviction record?" More raised hands. "Does anybody here know an attorney with a criminal record?" Same thing.

"You can get into these fields," Martin said. "I'm telling you, I've seen it. I've seen it. It's more difficult but it's not impossible."

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