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, November 09, 2008

Connerly May Turn To Prison Reform

Anti-affirmative-action guru Ward Connerly will likely halt his nationwide push to end race and gender preferences. Connerly, a part black California businessman, spoke with the Colorado Independent an hour after Amendment 46 toppled by an extremely thin margin.

The so-called Colorado Civil Rights Initiative was the first Connerly amendment to flop after making it onto a state ballot. It was also a key measure in Connerly’s Super Tuesday for Equal Rights campaign, a nationwide thrust to dismantle affirmative action programs in five states this year. In three of those states, the measure failed to make it onto the ballot, and Thursday, after a feverishly close tally, it collapsed in Colorado. Nebraska was the only state this year to approve the proposal.

In a wide-ranging, hour-long phone interview with The Colorado Independent, Connerly said he now intends to turn his focus to prison reform. He downplayed the importance of Colorado’s rejection of a ban on affirmative action programs, and also weighed in on President-elect Barack Obama’s historic win.

When asked how he planned to proceed now that Colorado voters had rejected Amendment 46, Connerly said that he might curb his 12-year-long effort, which produced wins in California, Michigan and Washington state in years past and in Nebraska this year. “Well, I love to read. I love to write. I do have other interests,” he said. “I would like to pursue those things. I would rather do those things than get involved in these initiatives.”

“Contrary to what is said, I don’t need this for my financial well-being. I don’t need it for my psychological well-being,” he added, referring to an allegation that he paid himself $7 million from the two nonprofits that funded his Super Tuesday for Equal Rights campaign. Connerly spent more than $350,000 in Colorado this year, according to campaign finance reports.

But rather than continue the fight against racial preferences, Connerly said he will focus on reforming the criminal justice system. He has developed a passion for the issue because, he said, “I know someone for whom I have great affection who is in this situation. I had to learn a lot more about the system than I ever knew before.”

Connerly said that in the past year, he has contributed “frequently and heavily” to Families against Mandatory Minimums, a national organization dedicated to changing sentencing laws. And he is a proponent of alternatives to incarceration, such as ankle monitors for some convicts.

“I don’t want to mislead you. I don’t want to say I am no longer going to be interested in race equality in our public policies,” he said. “I think this whole business of what we are doing to people who are incarcerated is far more pressing.”

The Colorado Independent


Anonymous said...

We do need high profile figures that will stand up to the prison industrial complex. We need them to stand up to Ritter and Zavaras who say one thing and lie to the the public, while they continue to build prisons, both public and for profit.
Just imagine if they shut down half the prisons and used that money to re-open them as minimum security drug rehabilitation centers run by the state, with educated and motivated professionals that are given high incentives to produce "offenders" that do not go back to prison, if they violate, but back to programs that address their needs, selecting only those prisoners who truly want to change for rigorous and complete life changing programs.
Putting money into jobs, education, and housing, instead of billions into new prisons.mpc

Anonymous said...

I agree with mpc and his idea, however its not going to happen until the federal government quits sending the states money to help them keep inmates and build corporate prisons.
Some one needs to find the real truth about where and how much money actually pays for the keep of an inmate, and who is paying the salarys of the judges and the courthouses and the prisons and all there utility bills and the salarys of the 50,000 or so state guards.djw

Anonymous said...

If anyone has those figures I'm sure we would all like to see them. Would CCJRC know if there may be grants available to complete a study to provide this information?

Anonymous said...