What we are learning
- “Unfairness in the justice system is a major theme of our age.” Ted Conover
- Some Data:
- Colorado prison population has grown 604% since 1980, while the population of the state grew 59%.
- The annual state prison budget in Colorado grew from under $70 million in 1985 to over $700 million today.
- The State of Colorado also spent over $800 million building new prisons and currently contracts with 7 private prisons.
- 90% of women in prison have been assessed to be in need of substance abuse treatment.
“I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” Matthew 25:36
Resources to explore
- In or near Denver
- Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) – works criminal justice reform and life after prison.
- Books and articles
- Just Mercy – “an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice” (author is Bryan Stevenson, won the 2014 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence).
- Orange is the new black: My year in a women’s prison – the author (Piper Kerman) tells the story of her heartbreaking and at times enraging life behind bars.
- A World Apart: Women, Prison, and Life Behind Bars – after two court battles with prison officials, the author gained unprecedented access to the otherwise invisible women of the oldest running women’s prison in America (written by Cristina Rathbone).
- Couldn’t Keep It to Myself: Wally Lamb and the Women of York Correctional Institution – written testimonies from “our Imprisoned Sisters”.
- We need to talk about an injustice – a Ted Talk by human rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson, shares some hard truths about America’s justice system.
- Lost for Life – a documentary about juveniles who are serving life in prison without parole, parts are filmed in Denver, on Netflix.
- Piper speaks to Congress – Piper Kerman, author of “Orange is the New Black,” testified at a hearing on “Reassessing Solitary Confinement” before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights. The emphasis is on women in prison.
Actions – Ways to help
- In or near Denver
- Check out volunteer options for Second Chance.
For more ways to become involved, see In the News.