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 14, 2007

Prison Growth Could Cost Up to 27.5 Billion Over the Next Five Years


Prison Growth Could Cost Up to $27.5 Billion Over Next 5 Years

Washington, DC -- February 14, 2007 -- By 2011 one in every 178 U.S. residents will live in prison, according to a new report released today by the Public Safety Performance Project of The Pew Charitable Trusts. Public Safety, Public Spending: Forecasting America’s Prison Population 2007-2011 projects that by 2011 America will have more than 1.7 million men and women in prison, an increase of more than 192,000 from 2006.

“As states continue to struggle with tight budgets and competing priorities among health, education and safety, they are beginning to question whether huge additional investments in prisons are the most effective and economical way of combating crime,” said Susan Urahn, Managing Director of State Policy Initiatives at The Pew Charitable Trusts. “The challenge for state policy makers is to ensure that taxpayers are getting a strong return on their investment in corrections: safer communities, efficient use of public dollars, and ex-offenders who become productive, law-abiding members of society.”

Public Safety, Public Spending was prepared for the Trusts by the JFA Institute, a Washington-based, nonprofit research and consulting firm. Among the report’s projections for 2011:

  • Without policy changes by the states, the nation’s incarceration rate will reach 562 per 100,000, or one of every 178 Americans. If you put them all together in one place, the incarcerated population in just five years will outnumber the residents of Atlanta, Baltimore and Denver combined.

  • Unless Montana, Arizona, Alaska, Idaho and Vermont change their sentencing or release practices, they can expect to see their prison systems grow by one third or more. Similarly, barring reforms, Colorado, Washington, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah and South Dakota can expect their inmate populations to grow by about 25 percent.
.. Connecticut may provide one of the most striking and successful examples of policy
intervention. Using data-driven analyses, Connecticut policy makers identified that parole and probation violators were driving much of the prison growth. They passed legislation in 2004 that set a goal of reducing parole and probation revocations by 20 percent, and hired 96 new probation officers, reducing caseloads from approximately 160 cases per officer in January 2004 to approximately 100 cases per officer in June 2005.

While Montana will have the greatest percentage increase, Arizona, California and Colorado will see the greatest growth in absolute numbers in the West.

As part of a “justice reinvestment” strategy, Connecticut redirected $13 million of the
expected savings from those reforms into recidivism reduction initiatives. ... Connecticut went from having one of the fastest-growing prison populations in the nation to experiencing a decline steeper than almost any other state. Crime rates in Connecticut also dropped during this period.....Another big story in the Northeast has been New York, where the prison population has declined from a peak of 72,889 in 1999 to its current level of about 63,000...

“Innovative governors and legislators across the country are exploring policies, programs and technologies they believe will save their states money and reduce recidivism,” added Gelb. “They are being joined in this pursuit by judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys, corrections and law enforcement officials, faith-based organizations and community advocates, and others searching for cost-effective solutions backed by credible research and a track record of success.”

Thanks to Corrections Sentencing for alerting us to this report last week!!
Read the Report Here

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