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 28, 2007

Sheriff Maketa Pitches a Tent

This is what happens when the money runs out and there just isn't anywhere to put people. Colorado Springs Independent story on the new tent jail in Colorado Springs.

It looks like a wedding tent, or perhaps a circus tent without the stripes.

To Sheriff Terry Maketa, the big white tent looks like an almost-immediate way to avoid jail crowding.

"I'm kind of running out of options," Maketa told El Paso County commissioners late last week, showing them a photo of a tent whose multiple peaks also call to mind Denver International Airport.

His idea, which could be implemented within six weeks, comes at a time when the county's 1,599-bed Criminal Justice Center hovers near capacity, particularly on weekends. If he could put minimum-security prisoners in a tent, Maketa says, they'd be less likely to be released early or turned away.

The tent, which Maketa says would cost about $100,000 to purchase, would stand in a parking lot near the 2739 E. Las Vegas St. justice center, surrounded by a chain-link fence, until the downtown Metro jail is reopened. Closed because of safety problems in 2005, Metro "hopefully" will be ready to house about 375 work/release inmates in six to nine months, Maketa says.

Yet he can't say exactly when Metro will open, noting that contractors have yet to be secured.

Inside the tent, deputies would guard 150 to 180 minimum-security prisoners, such as part-time inmates who serve their sentences on weekends, Maketa says. They'd have open-area bunks and common toilets. The tent would have a floor and heating.

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