State Rep. Ellen Roberts, R-Durango, was appointed this week to serve on the newly formed Criminal and Juvenile Justice Commission. The commission, formed earlier this year under the Department of Public Safety, is charged with rehabilitating Colorado's criminal and juvenile justice system
The commission became effective earlier this month when Gov. Bill Ritter signed House Bill 07-1538, of which Roberts was a co-sponsor. It will report its findings to the governor, the speaker of the House of Representatives, the president of the Senate, and the chief justice of the Colorado Supreme Court.
Roberts was named to the commission by House Minority Leader Mike May, R-Parker. In a prepared statement, May said, "During her time in the Legislature, Ellen has developed a reputation as one who can generate creative solutions to complex problems. I am certain that this talent, coupled with her legal background, will make her an invaluable member of this commission."
As a member of the commission, Roberts will examine data on Colorado's prison population and sentencing guidelines, and will consider alternatives to incarceration and make policy recommendations based on the findings.
"Unfortunately, the current system is no longer financially sustainable," Roberts said in the statement. "By taking a look at the facts and building consensus among the experts, I think we have a real opportunity to enact positive and lasting reforms."
The commission will consist of 26 members, including experts in criminal justice, mental health, drug abuse, victim rights, juvenile justice and other relevant disciplines. It will meet monthly during the next five years and submit an annual report of its findings with recommendations.