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.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

They Do Graduate

Sometimes all it takes is a little creativity to get kids to finish. Everyone can't work within the rigidity of a public school. What a great program and opportunity. This is what prevention looks like, I can imagine what the lifetime cost savings could be for the community.

Twenty-year-old Danielle McGuire was getting herself ready for her job at McDonald's and scooting her 2-year-old son out the door for preschool when she got the call.

Caseworker Brian Brinkerhoff wanted her to finish high school.

Somehow over the din of her harried life as a young, single mother trying to pay the rent, she heard Brinkerhoff's message about a unique program that offered a flexible schedule, relevant classes and a new career path.

And now McGuire is among 10 graduates of a new Denver high school tailored for students who hate high school.

There's Chris Martinez, who was so bored and disenchanted at West High School that he left to take a job in construction. With his new diploma, he has a paid welding internship at Xcel Energy this summer.

And Destiny Reed, who, with a teenage bipolar diagnosis acted out and eventually left school to work at Blockbuster. Now she's working at a day care, hoping to eventually get certified to run her own.

The graduates have wildly diverse backgrounds — one was enrolled in a Christian high school, and another spent years in foster homes and homeless shelters after his father shot out the boy's kneecaps.

A common thread, as the teachers see it, is the decision to step back into a school building.

"I'd be a manager at McDonald's if it wasn't for this," McGuire said.

The Denver Post

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Now that is a real caseworker!! KUDOS!!! It makes me proud to know that there are people in this country who truly care, no matter what!!