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.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Women's Needs Prompt Search For Programs

Grand Junction Sentinel

What works for male criminal offenders doesn’t mean it will work for women offenders, officials in Mesa County’s community corrections system have come to realize.

But 30 years ago, officials of the Criminal Justice Services Department didn’t give that much thought, because there were so few women entering the system. As the population of women offenders has swelled, officials are trying to keep pace by offering alternative sentencing programs for women to address their specific needs.

“Most females have victim issues that not nearly as many men have to deal with,” said Dennis Berry, director of the Criminal Justice Services Department. “They may have those issues as well as substance abuse. Our treatment has to take into consideration the trauma they’ve been through. Many women have children, and we have to be mindful of that and provide gender-specific treatment.”

If you’re arrested and lucky enough not to get sentenced by a judge to jail or prison, you may be placed in the county’s community corrections program, which can be residential, nonresidential or work-release. In 2003, an average of 39 women a day were housed in the Mesa County Jail population. That number rose to an average of 63 women a day in 2006, but in 2008, the number of women offenders in jail dropped to 51 a day, according to the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department.