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, August 21, 2009

Inmate Cuts Cause Concern About Crime

The Denver Post

Gov. Bill Ritter's plan to cut the state budget through inmate releases could reduce Colorado's prison population by 1,000 in a year and immediately save $19 million.

It will also almost certainly accelerate the commission of new crimes, and could force layoffs from a privately run prison, experts said.

Ritter's plan calls for trimming parole supervision for some inmates already out of prison, and releasing some non-sex-offender inmates early and placing them on parole. A total of 5,700 inmates or parolees could see their status change as a result of Ritter's cut.

A Metropolitan State College of Denver professor says it's unavoidable that a large number of those prisoners or parolees will commit new crimes.

"The recidivism rate in Colorado is between 40 and 60 percent within five years, depending on types of crimes," Metro State criminal justice professor Joseph Sandoval said. "I do think that the risk of release is that some will go on a crime spree and there may be a smaller amount that commit crimes that are heinous."

Each of the inmates who will be released early is someone who was within six months of getting out anyway. So, if the inmates follow historical patterns, the early release is more likely to accelerate the commission of new crimes rather than actually increase the crime rate over time, Sandoval said.

Still, Denver Police Chief Gerry Whitman said the mass release of prisoners across the state is of "great concern."

Private prisons wary

There is also concern about the plan's impact on privately run prisons.

Colorado's prison system is a mixture of state-run and privately run facilities. The private prisons make a profit largely based on efficiency, and they need full beds to get fully paid.

The largest of those companies working in Colorado, Corrections Corporation of America, is already fretting that reducing the prison population too far would be bad for the company's bottom line.

"We're hoping it doesn't put us in a position where our operations are not viable," said Steve Owen, spokesman for Tennessee-based CCA, which runs Crowley County Correctional Facility, Bent County Correctional Facility and Kit Carson Correctional Facility.


Anonymous said...

Yes, "reducing the prison population too far would be bad for the company's bottom line." There you have it -- the truth of what it's all about! This makes me sick.

Anonymous said...

Let's put everyone in prison for a while, sort of like some countries have mandatory military service for all citizenry. Parking violators, people who litter, folks who tear tags off of mattresses. This way, we would create many, many government jobs, find employment solutions for people with few people skills (prison guards), rejuvenate entire small-town economies, and, just generally, whip the economic problems of the entire state. Plus, you can receive education and health care (although just barely!) in prison, so let's just solve this budget crisis now and lock up most everyone as fiscally necessary.

Question -- How will these new parolees (who are only going to be released a teensy-bit earlier than they already would've been) going on these "crime sprees" with, reportedly, increased parole supervision?

I wonder if there is to be anymore increased supervision of the sex-crazed guards who are preying on female inmates? My experience says no --- that would impact the "bottom line," too (no pun intended). Looks like crime continues to pay...

Anonymous said...

The recidivism in Colorado has nothing to do with repeated crimes, it has to do with if you cannot pay up go directly back to jail. And pay up means hand over the cash!! Makes no sense to me>

Anonymous said...

It seems to me one could take the statements made from the article and make a very good case of slavery against the state of Colorado.
The person who makes statements about prisoners going on crime spree's needs to be fired from his job at the University. I imagine thats why his name doesnt appear in the article.
I personally would rather have a non violent inmate for a friend than any of the people who work for DOC or the criminal justice system which is so out of syc with the world that it needs to be changed.I say release all non violent offenders. If the prisons for pay go broke so be it as they should have never been started.djw

Anonymous said...

God Almighty! CCA totally revealed their true agenda; that is, full bed spaces mean M-O-N-E-Y. There is a callousness about the justifications of why many of these inmates are excessively sentenced and paroles are denied. They just showed proved their agenda. Like many of us have been saying all along, it's about the money; warehousing slaves for their bread and butter. Damn them.

This article actually makes Ritter and Zavaras look insincere about why there are excessive incarcerations. The bread and butter factor goes all the way to the top.

B-U-S-T-E-D ! ! !

Anonymous said...

It seems like they have been talking out of two sides of their mouth for years. Now the economy is bad and jobs are hard, if not impossible for excons to find they want to suddenly release a lot of them. They know a lot will go back, many because they can't find work or pay the required fees.

Of course most people don't have a clue as to the prison or parole system and don't give a damm unless they have a loved one inside.

Anonymous said...

I don't see the name of the author of this dribble (article). Guess I wouldn't put my name on it either. This person is so out of touch with reality, it's scarey - because people who do not know (or care) believe this crap. Releasing these "criminals" is not going to create a crime wave. If these people are going to go on a crime spree, they will do it in the next 6 months, when they would have been released anyway. Keeping them there the extra 3-6 months is not going to make any difference in what kind of person they will be when they are released (which they have to be eventually).
NO WAY are 5,700 inmates going to see a change in their status. Where on earth did that figure come from? He must have pulled it out of his a**, because surely his head knows better.
The biggest reason our rate of recidivism is 40-60% is that we are among the 3 or 4 states who still practice mandatory parole and we violate parolees for next to nothing (technical violations), to put them back in the money bin. Also, we do not prepare them for success on the outside, and what little we do already have in place for that purpose is going to be cut by Ritter's hotdog plans. I saw no mention of that in this article. The plan also includes reducing inmate services such as rehab, education, job training, etc. Duh! What is the chances that will cause problems?
As for the money loss to private prisons: hell, we are planning on bringing 2000 inmates from Alaska to populate the new private prison just completed at Hudson, so why not just make it 3000 or 4000? Why on earth do they build a prison in Colorado for the purpose of housing Alaskan inmates? Certainly there is no shortage of property in Alaska on which they could have built an Alaskan prison to house Alaskan prisoners (keeping inmates closer to families and friends).
None of this garbage makes sense to anyone armed with a little knowledge and half a brain.

Anonymous said...

CCA's profit comes from efficiency? Having been their prisoner for a couple of years I can tell you it has nothing whatever to do with efficiency, more like starvation, understaffing, lockdowns, and spoiled lunchmeat as well as rotten meat, stale produce and meals that are so far from DOC's standards as to be unrecognizable. The surprise inspections {only a week notice) lead to 3-4 days of proper meals before they revert to Crowley food- one inmate was thrown in the hole for refusing to cook spoiled meat. DOC is well aware of this, uses the privates to dump troublesome inmates- we'll show you!

Anonymous said...

As I wrote earlier:
"DOC can only cut costs
1 closing a State facility,
2 stop sending people to private facilities or
3 cutting the number of DOC staff.
Just releasing people early has little effect on the operational costs of the DOC budget-not $25,000,000. The proposals are just "smoke and mirrors" even before "the parole board making the final decision."
Any, so called, solutions other than the above are just some much political "B.S."

When one talks about letting inmates out early the media and politicians immediately began to raise the flags of danger/crisis. It is really sa the question of jailers losing jobs on "the plantation." Just a visual look and the jailers (at all levels)and who are inmates reveals and interesting story of institutal racism. That is why Rifle remains open.

The CCJRC is the MOST IMPORTANT reform organization at this time and must remain an INDEPENDENT VOICE for reform.

"The State" and "the Criminal Justice System" lacks the desire or ability to change or reform themselves without outside pressure and influence.

Anonymous said...

The first obligation of government in a free republic is public safety. Without order, no other aspect of government is possible. The struggle is to get it as balanced as possible most of the time; that is, protect citizens by incerating those who break laws, victimize and create havoc to the public's safety. Releasing offenders early will have some negative effects. What should be important now is ensuring those being released have had drug treatment, parenting, anger management, academic and vocational skills. Otherwise this population won't be willing to give back to their families, but take from them and society again.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I love it! Everyone is "on point" Especially the person that said the State of Colorado is short on "preparing an inmate to go back into society." I think the professor who has been quoted here might work for the DA and his interest may be compromised by his investments.

Anonymous said...

Here we go with the fear mongering as usual...the Repubs have spoken...we need this to happen...the families are done with the system and we will do everything we can to expose the "profit" that DOC makes off of our loved ones at our expense. I for one am tired of it...I also know that Ritter needs that money so he will do what he says. The DA's are going to be a lot less motivated to keep putting people away when their budget starts getting cut as well...especially Morrissey, Chambers and Storey. Offenders and parolees had nothing to hope for prior to this and now they do...I think our recidivism rate will GO DOWN because of this...just like our state population has dropped but our incarceration rate has outpaced it...I have no doubt this will prove most of these idiots wrong.

Anonymous said...

I think the first obligation of government in a free republic is to mantain the freedoms.
Protecting citizens by use of incarceration is a public policy that has failed in the USA-"insanity is . . ."
Our criminal justice (so called) system is almost totally reactive. Until we become proactive and invest in prevention we will continue the insane social policies of incarceration unmatched on earth.

Anonymous said...

It appears there actually are some folks with no clue about the private prisons and their lust for money. It is a COR-POR-A-TION. What does this tell you? CCA's 'concern' about losing inmates to fill bed spaces doesn't have ONE DAMN THING to do about public safety. Can anyone truly be so witless as to believe it is not all about the cash flow - PROFITS?

It's best YOU read the section about private prisons and what the millionaire CEO of CCA has to say about his slave empire taking a fall.