By Susan Walker . . . In Colorado the Coalition for Sexual Offense Restoration continues to work with men and women in prison and coming out of prison. We offer assistance in finding housing and in mentoring men and their families regarding the pitfalls that can be present in the community as they parole out. We educate the same men and their families on current issues that CSOR is working on here in Colorado and with NARSOL nationally, such as residency restrictions and registration, as well as helping support case management functions inside CDOC and here on the outside as it regards parole and treatment.
We believe that answering letters from men in the Colorado Department of Corrections and in federal institutions, as well as civil commitment facilities, helps to integrate those men into the issues that we are working on, not just while they are inside but also as they look forward to being on the outside. CSOR leadership has been invited to visit with the treatment groups at Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility during August, to share what CSOR and NARSOL are doing both locally and nationally, and to get their feedback on a variety of issues of concern to them. We are looking forward to this visit.
We joined with Mile High Workshop in Aurora, Colorado, in the viewing of the documentary Untouchable on July 19. Mile High Workshop is a “second chance” partner, teaching trades and special skills in the workforce, and funded by grants as well as contracts from businesses who need trained employees. This film drew its audience from its own men and women, CSOR, AFC, and other second chance providers that work specifically with registrants, as well as the standards coordinator from the Sex Offender Management Board. A discussion group following the film was productive and evoked many comments from individuals in the group regarding the complexity of the challenges faced by activists in our field!
Our next education and support meeting on September 5 features a magistrate from Colorado Springs whose life has been personally touched by sex offense/registry issues through her son. As one of many with special challenges convicted of a sexual offense, her child has struggled to meet the demands of the system. She plans to share some innovative ideas with us from the perspective of the court!
On a sad note, Alison Ruttenberg, the attorney who won the recent case in Judge Matsch’s courtroom here in Denver, has announced that she will close her practice in the next couple of months due to personal issues. While we are unhappy that Alison must leave her crucially important work, we are incredibly grateful for all that she has done for so many.