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, October 28, 2009

Plan To Privatize Deserves Consideration

The Denver Post
A proposal to privatize a prison being built in Canon City - that the state cannot afford to staff - has drawn mostly jeers from state policymakers.

Love it or hate it, it's part of a resurgence in the prison privatization trend as states wallow in budget shortfalls. The state of Arizona is moving to privatize its entire system to save money.
Trouble is, studies about the cost effectiveness of privatization are mixed.

It's understandable that some in Colorado want to sell the prison, but they must prove it would be a money saver and that the prison will be operated to state standards.
Make no mistake, those are tough benchmarks to meet.

The idea of selling Colorado State Penitentiary II comes from state Rep. Glenn Vaad, R-Mead. Recent published reports said Vaad would introduce a bill proposing the sale of the $208 million maximum security prison, which is under construction and will be finished in the spring.

However, the state won't immediately open the prison because it can't afford to pay the nearly 500 workers it would take to run the facility.

"That's unconscionable in my mind," Vaad said, according to an Associated Press report. "We invested $208 million of the taxpayers' money and because of the economic downturn, we can't afford to open it. Let's sell it."
Giving over operation of a high-security prison complex to a private corporation leaves some uneasy.
Colorado Attorney General John Suthers has opposed the plan, saying he opposes private-sector management of a maximum security prison.

"If you look around the country," Suthers said, according to the AP story, "placing maximum security detention into private hands has not gone well."

Given the difficulties the state has had with medium security prisons in private hands, it's tough to imagine ceding to private companies the task of incarcerating the state's worst criminals.

Furthermore, the new prison is in a secured area among six other state prisons. It would house 967 dangerous state inmates and would share kitchen and support facilities with a public prison. The layout would make the physical disentanglement of the new prison from the public facilities even more difficult.

And then there are financial difficulties. The prison was built with $41 million in state money, said state corrections spokeswoman Katherine Sanguinetti, and the rest was financed with certificates of participation, a complex financing tool.


Unknown said...

Why the H*** was it built in the first place, if it was not absolutely necessary? Where were these 1000 dangerous inmates to have materialized from? We have more than adequate bedspace for the people who actually should be in our prisons. How far would that 208 million dollars have gone towards rehabilitation facilities, job training, or re-entry assistance?

Anonymous said...


Barney. The 'necessity' of the prison was to have more room for frivolous prosecutions and convictions and personal recognition among the courts. NO rehabilitation. Rehabilitation for many of the prisoners would actually cost far, far less and guide those many men and women in prisons on the correct path to productivity.


Anonymous said...

I totally agree with both of the above peoples comments and a 208 million dollar mistake is a little to big to be swept under the table. Who is responsible?? Isnt the legislature the ones and only ones who can make the laws that govern how the DOC is supposed to run the prisons.
Then its the Govoners responsibility to run the prisons according to those laws and he appoints who to do it for him. Non other than Ari Zavaras.
The name Dept of Corrections. Doesnt that kinda indicate Rehabilitation?? I think the dam place needs to be renamed, The dept of punishment.
Any buisness that would be run in the sloppy manner DOC is run would be broke in less than a year.
Names pop up such as Mr. Vaad, Duffy McFayden, Penry ect. Where were you people when this 208 million was approved.
I think you all out to resign your seats and allow others citizens to take your places.
It seems none of you realizes this country is in the beginning of a long hard depression. It will be years before there is any money for you to squander and its time to get all non violent offenders out of your prisons now.
That will give you plenty of room to hold the violent, real criminals in custody.
Will also make it necessary to lay off prison guards and staff at DOC headquarters.
That would cut the prison budget in 1/2. All those layed off could collect unemployment just like people layed off in the private sector.
Those in the legislature need to get busy and get rid of MANDATORY PAROLE now.
I personaly feel that this is so urgent there needs to be a special session of the legislature to get this done.
I would further suggest you get all the private prisons out of Colorado as well. Send all those inmates back to the states they came from to be dealt with. Quit wharehousing people, thats slavery.
Those of you who will immediately cry out about public safety, I ask you what about all the rapists you allow to run the streets while you have a bunch of there victims locked up in one of your dam poorly run prisons.
Yes Barney, 208 million dollars would go a long way to help all those who DOC holds in there system of corruption, (slaves)to mandatory parole, (double Jeopardy).
The taxpayers of Colorado deserve a lot better from all you folks working as public servants.djw

Unknown said...

Have you heard that the early release program seems to have been halted after release of only 10 inmates. They made poor, poor choices (no doubt intentionally) of the first 10 persons they released and predictably had bad results....so they can justify not releasing more inmates. The promise was no violent offenders or sex offenders. Well....thier first 10 included a collection of both. However, what people do not realize is that the persons they did early release were persons due to be released on mandatory release within a very short time anyway. So their message to the public is that the early releases created a crime problem. Wrong!!! One of the people released was 16 days from mandatory release anyway. All it did was accelerate whatever was going to happen by a very short time period. So now, they can justify to the uninformed public that they tried the early release and it did not work out. JOB SECURITY and MONEY. MONEY. MONEY!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

We can put this new prison idea on ONE person, Ari Zavaras. He has championed the construction of this prison for decades. He says he needs it to control prisoners. His personnel director is proud to say that they have never made a single budget cut in staffing in 10 years!! When we have to close the hospitals and schools and lay off the entire state government, that will be the day that they look at cutting "public safety". We have to go back to the 60's, and take back our government by non-violent mass demonstrations. Occupy and shut down the state capital, police stations, city halls and all the prisons with mass sitdown demonstrations.mpc

Anonymous said...

mpc, your right. the people must take charge of there goverment. it doesnt belong to people like zavzras, suther, chambers, morrissey, michaud, ect. They do not do the will of the people. Onlythemselves. Lets get rid of all those whom obstruct the will of the majority. The sooner the better. All of us at FVFI agree and are ready. We will not listen to false promises. djw