CO Justice Authorities Urge ‘Smart, Modern Policies’


In an op-ed piece in the Denver Post, two Colorado law enforcement authorities support public safety reforms being advocated by Gov. Bill Ritter. They are Ari Zavaras, executive director of the state Department of Corrections, and Pete Weir, executive director of the state Department of Public Safety. They wrote, “With a sharp increase in prison inmates and costs over the past decade, we now spend 9 percent of state government’s General Fund housing 23,000 prison inmates, which is more than we invest in educating approximately 220,000 college students. With declining revenues and an ongoing budget crisis, that imbalance is becoming more and more pronounced.”

“Ritter, who spent 25 years as a criminal prosecutor, recently introduced a two-year pilot program that will advance his anti-recidivism initiatives and save taxpayers nearly $20 million this fiscal year. This is a responsible plan, one that has the support of the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police. In the face of overheated political rhetoric, it’s important to separate fact from fiction.” The writers review key points of the proposal and conclude, “It is time for us to approach crime and punishment with smarter, more innovative and modern policies.”

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