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.

Friday, January 11, 2008

First Meeting of The Colorado Commission On Criminal Justice

Today was the first meeting of the Commission and I must say it was great to see that the room was packed with both system and community folks, and LOTS of CCJRC members. I got there fifteen minutes early and barely got a seat. It was standing room only by 12:30, so keep that in mind if you plan on attending future meetings.

The conversation was centered around the misson and charge of the commission, who the members were and what a successful commission would accomplish. The areas touched on were public safety, reducing recidivism, prevention, education, Colorado's sentencing structure, evidence based practices and much more.

The goals put forth didn't seem too lofty by any stretch, with a little work, we know that they are certainly attainable. There was also a lot of conversation about "bipartisanship" and "collaboration". Commission members were asked to set aside their biases (take off their hats, so to speak) and use their collective expertise and wisdom to bring about meaningful change.

The speakers that had been brought in were there to educate on the nature of sentencing commissions specifically, what has been done by making small policy changes that have been successful in other states, the nature of crime and society today and what has worked (and not worked) here in Colorado, with specific focus on the last Criminal Justice Commission.

Next steps according to Executive Director, Pete Weir will be the education of committee members and then they will start to form subcommittees to work on various projects. Governor Ritter stressed in his opening remarks that he would like to see recommendations come down the pike fairly quickly. It was also good to see that most of the heads of the various departments were there, even though they could have sent representatives in their stead. That fact alone speaks volumes as to the importance of this commission.

We look forward to the coming months and will keep you updated on future committee meetings. The Department of Public Safety has a link to Commission hearings and agendas on their website if you need any further information. I have posted today's agenda and the date and time of the next meeting.

January 11, 2008
National Enforcement Training Institute
12345 W. Alameda Parkway

12:00 - 1:00 Lunch and Introductions
Presentation of Commission Interview Survey Results
Paul Herman, Senior Manager, Center for Effective Public Policy, Jefferson City, Missouri
1:00 - 1:15 Opening Comments by Governor Bill Ritter, Jr.
1:15 - 2:15 National Perspective and Local Issues
Chris Stone, J.D., Guggenheim Professor of the Practice of Criminal Justice, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
2:15 - 2:30 Survey Wrap-up
2:30 - 2:45 Break
2:45 - 3:30 Lessons Learned: Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission
Dr. Rick Kern, Executive Director, Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission
3:30 - 4:00 Colorado's Prior Crime Commission
Former Senator Sally Hopper and Former Representative Peggy Kerns, Both members of the previous Crime Commission
4:00 - 4:45 Presenters' Panel: Questions and Answers
4:45 - 5:00 Wrap-up and Next Meeting
Next Meeting
Friday, February 8, 2008
1:00 - 5:00 p.m.
National Enforcement Training Institute
12345 W. Alameda Parkway, Lakewood