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.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Zavaras Wants to Cut Recidivism

CANON CITY - The state's new executive director of the Department of Corrections is hoping for a decline in business, he said.

Ari Zavaras, who took over DOC last month, said corrections could cost the state $5 million less in three to five years as programs help prevent inmates from returning to prison but, for the time being, proposed new prisons will have to be built.

"We will not quit building prisons," Zavaras said. "We are planning on moving ahead with Colorado State Penitentiary II and (two proposed private prisons) are still a go.

"We can slow the growth, but there still will be some growth," Zavaras said.

Gov. Bill Ritter has said he would like to see a control on prison costs be developing programs that allow inmates to successfully re-enter society and make recidivism reduction a top priority.

"We will invest in getting programs back that can slow (inmate population) growth down. In corrections, it's insanity to think that without addressing anger control or substance abuse issues that we can put inmates back on the street and they will act any differently than they did before," Zavaras said.

"We are down some people and we need help," said Warden James Abbott, who oversees both Territorial prison and Colorado Women's prison in Canon City.

In a neighboring building, Librarian Linda Hyatt talked about the library's books, some as old as 12 years, that have been repaired with tape and glue. During state budget cuts, prison libraries also took a hit and have not been able to reorder new books for three years.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If Mr. Zavarras wants to reduce recidivism, the first step is to stop sending the best behaved inmates out of state. All that does is penalize them for behaving themselves. And it leaves Colorado prisons with prisoners who have no incentive to change or improve. Talk about the inmates running the asylum.