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April 11, 2007

Commission coming in Colorado?

As detailed in this local article, Colorado may be on the verge of creating a state sentencing commission to help address its prison overcrowding woes:

Today in Denver, state lawmakers are poised to form a group to study criminal justice in Colorado, which many believe is a step to reducing prison populations and cutting crime.  But it's the criminal justice system, so naturally, there are opposing views about how to do it.

The Colorado Criminal and Juvenile Justice Commission would collect data about Colorado's prison population, examine the state's sentencing scheme, consider alternatives to incarceration, and make policy recommendations.  "It's time that Colorado got smart about crime," said state Rep. Terrance Carroll, D-Denver, the bill's sponsor. "It's easy for someone to say we're going to be tough on crime, but that doesn't require any thought.  We have to be thoughtful on crime, smarter about how we deal with crime."

While many others agree the notion is a noble one, they are wary of how it might unfold.  Weld District Attorney Ken Buck is wary of the commission's intent.  "I want to make sure this is a criminal justice bill and not a sentence reduction bill," he said.

The director of the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, which advocates the reduction in prison expansion, said the commission is a step in the right direction.  But she added that as planned, it doesn't have enough involvement from regular residents. "People in the community are the ones dealing with these issues on a daily basis in their lives. The struggles and the challenges are in the community," Christie Donner said. "This cannot just be about bureaucrats getting together, bureaucrats and politicians, and that's what it is right now."

Carroll said the measure came from a document that has been the genesis of many a unique idea: Colorado's strapped budget.  He said 22,000 people are incarcerated in Colorado, and if the state keeps its current pace, that number will rise to 28,000 in the next four years.  Spending on corrections puts a major strain on the state budget, which also is hamstrung by spending limitations. "It hurts other things like transportation, K-12, higher education, things that people care about," Carroll said.

The commission would look at ways to reduce recidivism, which means re-offending after being released from prison, as one way to reduce the population. Other possibilities could include changing the state's sentencing guidelines or mandatory minimum sentences, although nothing in the bill would require that.

April 11, 2007 at 07:09 AM | Permalink

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Comments

My husband is in prison in Colorado
but was tranfered to Oklahoma.
he is doing 26 yrs.he's done 6yrs.
I ccann't see how they gave him so much
time they didn't have anything.
And i cann't do anything with no
money.They told him to plea guilty
or he will get life for murder
So did he was told he will get 8
to 16 yrs.and he got 26.but then he
is from mexico he had his paper;s
He has try to appealing and was
denied.I just don't know how or
what to do any more. Sorry for going on
with this but i love my husband
and wish have him out.I thank you
Anna ramirez



Posted by: anna ramirez | Jun 21, 2007 1:41:39 AM

My husband is in prison in Colorado
but was tranfered to Oklahoma.
he is doing 26 yrs.he's done 6yrs.
I ccann't see how they gave him so much
time they didn't have anything.
And i cann't do anything with no
money.They told him to plea guilty
or he will get life for murder
So did he was told he will get 8
to 16 yrs.and he got 26.but then he
is from mexico he had his paper;s
He has try to appealing and was
denied.I just don't know how or
what to do any more. Sorry for going on
with this but i love my husband
and wish have him out.I thank you
Anna ramirez



Posted by: anna ramirez | Jun 21, 2007 1:42:59 AM

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