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Tom Clements: Murdered prison chief seen in new video urging drug-law reform

tom clements youtube 205x205.jpg
Tom Clements.
Tom Clements, the reform-minded head of the Colorado Department of Corrections who was murdered at his home last month by a parolee, makes a posthumous appearance in a new video advocating for one of his favorite causes: more substance abuse treatment for chronic, low-level offenders, freeing up costly prison beds for violent criminals who pose a threat to public safety. "Substance addiction can dramatically alter the way people think, what's important to them, and the way they behave," Clements says.

Clements' death, linked to a deadly rampage by parole absconder Evan Ebel, made national headlines. It also left criminal justice reform groups in Colorado fearing a backlash that would undo much of what Clements had been trying to accomplish in Colorado's prison system, including reducing use of solitary confinement (Ebel spent years in lockdown at Colorado's supermax) and boosting mental health and substance abuse treatment. But Clements gets to say a few more words on that subject on YouTube.

The video, released as part of the Brave New Foundation's Beyond Bars campaign, urges passage of Senate Bill 250, part of an ongoing effort to overhaul Colorado's drug code, reducing penalties for drug users and small-time dealers and funneling money into treatment and diversion programs.

"What Works in Colorado" features interviews with Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger, Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson, and other members of the Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice talking about the enormous cost of the drug war and the long-term savings involved in stressing treatment over prison. Clements, a member of the CCCJJ, appears briefly, noting that 85 percent of DOC inmates have some kind of substance abuse problem.

SB-250 received unanimous approval in the Senate Judiciary Committee last week but has yet to reach the House.

Here's the video:

More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Tom Clements, Department of Corrections chief, murdered at home: Assassination?"


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6 comments
Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

I'm most grateful he was buried before he got to stinking !

stuka1
stuka1

Apparently the Senate is not aware of A64's passage.

malcolmkyle16
malcolmkyle16

Maybe you believe that it’s immoral to use a certain drug, but if you also wish such acts to become/remain criminalized you also have to accept responsibility for the dire consequences of such un-thought-through folly. 

Under our present prohibitionist-regime, these certain plants/concoctions/drugs are sold only by criminals and terrorists; the huge black-market profits are used to bribe and threaten law enforcement officials and commit atrocities against innocent civilians; the availability and usage rates tend to go up, not down; prisons have become filled to capacity with easily replaced users, vendors and smugglers —this list is endless!

Prohibition guarantees to criminals and terrorists the power to threaten communities, and even whole states. Ending drug prohibition won't be the complete answer to all our drug problems, just as the end of alcohol prohibition didn't end all the problems associated with alcohol. But it will surely ameliorate the crime and violence on our streets, lessen the huge burden on our judicial system, and shrink the the immense incentives for corruption in public office. 

Prohibition is the most destructive, dysfunctional, dishonest and racist social policy in America since Slavery. Prohibition is a holocaust in slow motion. We MUST end it NOW!

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

He's speaking from the grave AS IF HE KNEW what was coming ......

I doubt D.O.C. learned ANYTHING or care about changing the way the courts are ran & how the convicted are treated !

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