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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.

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Colorado may skip offer of federal grant and stick with own sex-offender standards - The Denver Post

Colorado may skip offer of federal grant and stick with own sex-offender standards - The Denver Post

A lack of cash and some philosophical objections have so far kept Colorado law enforcement agencies from implementing federal rules that would require more criminals to register as sex offenders for longer periods of time.

Complying with the rules contained in the federal Adam Walsh Act by July 1 would bring Colorado close to $500,000 in federal grant money.

But opponents argue that it will cost far more than that federal grant amount to comply with the rules.

A national chorus of state government groups and research institutions has raised concerns about the way the federal law treats juvenile offenders, potential constitutional conflicts and data showing sex-offender registration doesn't prevent repeat offenders.

Among the skeptics is Laurie Kepros, who oversees sexual offenses for the state public defender office.

"It's just not going to be cost-effective, and does it do us any good in terms of public safety?" Kepros said.

In December, Colorado got notice that its current system for handling sex offenders is far from being in line with what federal authorities want.

"Now we don't know what to do," she said.

Congress passed the Adam Walsh Act in 2006 in an attempt to organize hundreds of sex-offense statutes in 50 states into three uniform categories that indicate the crimes' severity.

The legislation establishes registration and reporting standards for those categories — in many cases more stringent than state requirements — and compels local law enforcement to do more to communicate with other jurisdictions when offenders are on the move.

Colorado's Sex Offender Management Board in 2008 advised against compliance with the federal law, but nonetheless acknowledged the benefits of a single, unified reporting and tracking system.

"The Adam Walsh Act will . . . ensure that law enforcement has access to the same information across the United States, helping prevent sex offenders from evading detection by moving from state to state," the panel wrote.

Only four states have complied

Though the federal government has pushed for five years for states to tighten reporting requirements, so far only four have complied: Ohio, South Dakota, Florida and Delaware.

Crimes where Coloradans can now petition to be removed from the registry after five years — like misdemeanor indecent exposure — would remain listed for at least 10 years.

Those convicted of unlawful sexual contact with a child younger than 15 would spend a minimum of 25 years registering as a sex offender instead of a 10-year minimum with good behavior, as state law now reads.

And new crimes like criminal invasion of privacy and kidnapping or false imprisonment of someone younger than 18 would become registerable offenses, even though Colorado prosecutors frequently file those charges in instances where no sex offense has occurred.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Its hard to understand how the democrats in congress keep spending money, they dont have on such things as grants like they offer. Its even harder to understand why a state thats already broke would be trying to implement more spending? djw