Criminal Justice Reform in Colorado

Between the years of 1980 and 2008, Colorado’s prison population grew by 604%. In 2004, over half of the inmates that were released were rearrested within three years of their initial release. This recidivism rate is a large contributor to Colorado’s overcrowded prison population.

However, since 2008, Colorado legislature has implemented measures that address its recidivism problem, including:

Two organizations have made a tremendous progress in helping reform Colorado’s criminal justice system are the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition (CCJRC) and Colorado CURE. CCJRC was created in 1999 originally to support legislation that would halt the construction of more prisons in Colorado, but later expanded its outreach to sentencing reform, drug policy, parole, and reentry when it joined the Colorado Commission on Criminal & Juvenile Justice. The CCJRC helped with the passage of over 30 criminal justice reform bills, including one that helped with the creation of the first grant program in the Colorado DOC that funds community-based reentry programs.

Colorado CURE was established in 1990 as a chapter of the national organization. It focuses on many different issues, some of which include: increasing community corrections, providing job training and education for inmates, seeking effective drug treatment in communities and prisons, reducing barriers to employment for released inmates, and improving the availability of veteran’s benefits and services for veterans that have been incarcerated.

Both the CCJRC and Colorado CURE have worked closely with Colorado State Legislature over the past 20 plus years to make the necessary changes and improvements to Colorado’s criminal justice system.

Identification of legislation should not be considered an endorsement of support of, or opposition to, such bills.