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, May 23, 2007

America's Prison Addiction (Maine)

American's addiction to prison plays itself out state-by-state. The thoughtfulness that goes behind how state governments are dealing with their individual "addiction" can often be measured the same as measuring the efficacy of a drug treatment program.

Maine, like the rest of America, is addicted to prisons. The only way we are going to beat this addiction is if we stop using our drug of choice — more prisons — for our current problem of prison overcrowding. The answer to prison overcrowding is fewer prisoners, not more prisons.

The principle reason our prisons are overcrowded is that jail time is our society’s preferred method of treating people who commit crimes primarily because they are addicted to drugs or alcohol, or are mentally ill. Half of all prisoners in America have these conditions as the primary problems that led to their crimes. If, as part of their sentences, we aggressively treated those prisoners for the illnesses they have instead of simply incarcerating them, and devoted more resources to treating these problems before they resulted in crimes, we would need fewer prisons, not more.

In recent discussions about running out of jail cells in Maine we have been doing just what addicts usually do when they run out of their drug — scramble desperately for more drugs. Recent proposals put forward as the answer to Maine’s prison overcrowding have primarily been ways of housing more prisoners, including sending state prisoners to county jails, outsourcing Maine’s prison overcrowding problem to other states by sending prisoners to a for-profit prison in Oklahoma, building a new prison in Cutler, and expanding the Charleston Correctional Facility.

Read the Article Here


Anonymous said...

The Colorado criminal justice reform Coalition is a diverse statewide coalition of individuals organizations and faith communities.
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Unknown said...

State officials have, seen a surge in the prison population, the latest indication that Maine's drug problem continues to grow. Many of the new inmates are drug offenders and those who steal to support their drug habits. The surge in prison sentences for drug crimes and related activity coincides with a rise in other indicators of the drug problem. Accidental drug overdoses, both fatal and nonfatal have increased sharply this year in some areas of the state, including Portland and Lewiston.

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