Black and brown communities have spent decades being attacked by a system of mass incarceration that disparately affects us at every level of the legal system. From over-policing to rabid over-charging and sentencing from prosecutors, this system seeks to oppress us at every stage. We work to completely overhaul our criminal justice system and ensure that it seeks justice for all, not just the rich and white.
Overzealous prosecution by local prosecutors is the driving policy and practice behind mass incarceration. Prosecutors have become more powerful than even judges; they have virtually unreviewable discretion over if and how defendants are charged and are the only actors in the system whose discretion is entirely unchallenged and unaccountable. They are under no legal obligation to charge anything for any offense; they alone choose to make someone face incarceration or go free. Because of their incredibly powerful role, prosecutors are effectively the leading policy makers for the criminal justice system. Prosecutor offices operate without transparency of any kind, and almost no basic data or mechanisms for accountability exist.
Because of this, Colorado People’s Alliance (COPA) is working to overhaul our criminal justice system by targeting our local prosecutors, both in Denver and throughout the state of Colorado, and demanding that they increase their accountability to community and institute policies to reduce our incarcerated population and shift the narratives around crime in black and brown communities away from punishment and towards economic opportunity and public health.
Now’s the time to act! We’ve been under the thumb of the criminal justice system for too long and it’s time we took our communities back from the police and a legal system that’d rather see us in cages than thrive. It’s time we made public policy reflect the solutions our communities need and not allow false narratives about our communities to inform our laws. If you’d like more information or to get involved, feel free to contact our Racial Justice Organizer, Robel Worku, at firstname.lastname@example.org.