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, January 23, 2008

Tough But Smart On Drugs - NY TIMES EDITORIAL

Restorative justice needs more support nationwide.

A dozen troubled men and women from Hempstead, N.Y., got an unusual break this month. They had been caught on tape selling drugs, and as repeat offenders faced serious prison time. But after attending a community meeting, at which they endured the scoldings of neighbors and promised a prosecutor that they would stay out of trouble and take advantage of social services like drug treatment, they walked free.
It sounds a little like the prayer-meeting scene from “Guys and Dolls,” in which a cynical bunch of gamblers grit their teeth through a public show of piety to pay off a bet. A few lawyers, police officers and a local columnist instantly accused the Nassau County district attorney, Kathleen Rice, of rewarding criminals, presumably out of a touchy-feely preference for second and third chances over tough justice.
Ms. Rice, however, is no storefront missionary. She was elected in 2005 on a promise to bring fresh ideas and new energy to an office that had been on autopilot for years. Since then she has been aggressive and innovative in tackling chronic problems like drunken driving, which she has pursued with high-profile prosecutions and a policy of refusing all plea bargains.
The Hempstead initiative was inspired by the work of David Kennedy, a criminal-justice expert who, while at Harvard, developed an acclaimed strategy for reducing violent crime in Boston that was later used in other cities. The idea is to bring multiple forces to bear, not just cops and courts. In Boston, gang leaders were summoned to “call-ins,” meetings with ministers and prosecutors, and told to obey the law or face long sentences. The resulting plunge in violent crime — one gun death in two and a half years — was called the “Boston miracle.”
Hempstead, which has struggled for years with poverty and drug crime, could use something similar. Its residents complained for years about a notorious open-air drug market to no great effect. Dealers and buyers would be arrested, but sent through the wash-rinse-repeat cycle of justice, which was never enough to set them straight.
NY TIMES Editorial


Anonymous said...

We need to take a new look at what is right constitutionaly. People have a right to live there life without a bunch of laws written, that violate our right to live our lives as we choose. Why not legalize drugs as we did alcohol. That would stop the crime element, and save the taxpayers about 90 billion dollars a year on the failed policys of the Drug Enforcement Agency. There are more people killed fighting over the making selling and trying to arrest them than are by the people who use the stuff. A national poll said if drugs were legal, 99 percent said they wouldnt use them. Also more people die in a year from prescription drugs.

Anonymous said...

My friend Dan, was killed by a bad batch of heroin 5 days before Christmas. Legal or not, heroin kills. Yes, more drug rehab is needed, and not prisons, but the addicts need to want to change. The programs have to be performance audited, which, according to the state auditor's office has never been done in Colorado. You must keep them away from temptation. You must give them hope. They MUST want to change. Dan did not want to change, but he never completed a program. His mother mortgaged their house, but he was mentally challenged and died from drugs.
Such a waste.

Anonymous said...