Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Legislative Update and Action Alert


SB 193 (use of restraints on pregnant inmates in labor)

SB 193:  Concerning the Safe Treatment of Pregnant Persons in Custody
Sponsors:  Senator Hudak and Representative Levy

Description:  SB 193 was just recently introduced and addresses the use of restraints on pregnant women in custody or confined in prisons, city/county jails, juvenile detention facilities, or department of human service facilities.  SB 193 would prohibit the use of restraints on a pregnant inmate during delivery, postpartum recovery, or transport to or from a medical facility for childbirth unless medical staff or corrections staff determine that the woman poses an immediate and serious risk of harm to herself or medical staff or the woman posses a substantial risk of escape that cannot be reasonably reduced by another method. 

The contact information for the Senate Judiciary Committee members is listed below.  Please ask them to SUPPORT SB 193.  Senator Hudak, the bill sponsor, is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  If you contact her, please thank her for her leadership.

MONDAY, APRIL 26, 2010 AT 1:30PM
HB 1352 (drug sentencing reform)

HB 1352:  Drug sentencing reform. 
Sponsors:  Representative Mark Waller (R) and Senators Steadman (D) and Mitchell (R)
Co-sponsors:  Representatives Pace (D), Court (D), Gardner B (R), Gerou (R), Kagan (D), King S. (R), Levy (D), Looper (R), Massey (R), May (R), McCann (D), Miklosi (D), Nikkel (R), Roberts (R), Ryden (D) and Stephens (R) and Senators Carroll M.(D), Hudak (D), Morse (D), Newell (D), Penry (R), and  White (R)

Status: HB 1352 was passed by the House on a vote of 58-5 with two excused.  It will be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, April 26, 2010.

Description: This bill is based on recommendations approved by the Colorado Commission on Criminal & Juvenile Justice.  It would reduce penalties for the crime of drug use or possession and redirect cost savings in corrections to substance abuse and mental health treatment. The bill also creates enhanced penalties for adults convicted of selling drugs to a minor.  The bill also makes two changes to the special offender statute to exclude “simple possession” quantities from an enhancement for importation and redefines the nexus required for the sentence enhancement for involvement of a weapon during a drug offense.  In 2010, $1.5 million will be allocated to expand funding for substance abuse treatment to people in the criminal justice system.

The following are the three Republican members that have not yet indicated their position on HB 1352. 

Senator Kevin Lundberg (Larimer) 303-866-4853 or Kevin@kevinlundberg.com
Senator Scott Renfroe (Weld) 303-866-4451 or senatorrenfroe@gmail.com
Senator Keith King (El Paso) 303-866-4880 or keith@keithking.org

The Democrat Senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee all support HB 1352.  If you contact them, please thank them for their support.

Senator Pat Steadman (HB 1352 sponsor) (Denver) 303-866-4861 or sen.steadman@gmail.com
Senator Morgan Carroll (chair) (Arapahoe) 303-866-4879 or morgan.carroll.senate@state.co.us
Senator Evie Hudak (Jefferson) 303-866-4840 or senatorhudak@gmail.com
Senator Linda Newell (Arapahoe/Jefferson) 303-866-4846 or Linda.newell.senate@state.co.us


SB 189: Concerning Authorization for Government Agencies to Approve Clean Syringe Exchange Programs to Reduce the Spread of Blood-Borne Disease
Sponsors:  Senator Steadman (D) and Representative Weissmann (D)

Status:  SB 189 was passed on third reading in the Senate on a vote of 24-10 (with 1 excused). We will let you know when it has been scheduled to be heard in the House.

Recently, the House Judiciary Committee unanimously approved the following four bills!  Thank you to all who contacted committee members.   

HB 1360: Reducing Revocations for Technical Violations
Sponsors:  Representative Pace (D) and Senator Steadman (D)
Description:  The bill provides for more funding for re-entry support services for people on parole.  It also provides funding for substance abuse and/or mental health treatment options for parolees at risk of revocation with treatment needs.  If the parole board revokes parole for a technical violation, the maximum time a parolee with an underlying nonviolent conviction could be reincarcerated for a technical parole violation is 90 days (from the current statutory cap of 180 days) if s/he were assessed as medium risk or below. The current 180 day statutory limit on the period of reincarceration would be retained if the parolee was assessed as high risk, or being revoked to a community return to custody facility or community corrections facility. 

HB 1374:  Changes to Parole
Sponsors:  Representative Ferrandino (D) and Senator Penry (R)
Description:  This bill is based on recommendations from the Commission on Criminal & Juvenile Justice regarding changes to the statutory parole guidelines that encompassed three different recommendations: (1) changes the statutory parole guidelines and requires the parole board to use structured decision-making in both release and revocation hearings; (2) clarifies eligibility for enhanced earned time that was passed last year in HB 09-1351; and (3) repeals some archaic language in statute that mandates the arrest of a parolee under certain circumstances (e.g., if the parolee is in a county where there is a correctional facility without permission of the parole officer).

HB 1373:  Sentencing Changes for Escape Crime
Sponsors:  Representative T. Carroll (D) and Senator Hudak (D)
Description:  This bill is based on a recommendation approved by the Commission on Criminal & Juvenile Justice. Under current law, a conviction for escape requires the court to impose a mandatory, consecutive sentence and a broad range of scenarios can be considered escape.  HB 1373 would exclude diversion clients in community corrections and parolees on intensive supervision from the mandatory, consecutive sentencing requirement, although judges retain the authority to impose a consecutive sentence in any given case. People on “inmate status” would still face the mandatory consecutive sentence, including people in secured correctional facilities, work release, and DOC transition clients in community corrections. 

SB 159:  Concerning Defendant Statements at a Community Corrections Hearing

Sponsors:  Senator Foster (D) and Representative Miklosi (D)
Description:  The bill requires that a community corrections board accept a written statement from an inmate regarding a transitional referral if it was timely submitted by the inmate to the DOC case manager. The written statement must be included in the initial electronic referral made by DOC to a community corrections board.  Community corrections boards would have the discretion whether to accept a written or oral statement by a third party on behalf of an inmate. Community corrections boards would be required to develop written policies that are publicly accessible regarding written statements or oral presentations by victims or inmate representatives regarding an inmate’s transitional referral to community corrections.

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