Second Regular Session

Sixty-first General Assembly

LLS NO. R98­0936.01 JBB







WHEREAS, Under the current system of criminal sentencing, judges, district attorneys, defense attorneys, victims, and offenders have no way of knowing at the time of sentencing how long an offender will be incarcerated, and this uncertainty reduces public confidence in the judicial system; and

WHEREAS, Under the current law, many people believe that an offender may be eligible for parole after the offender has served fifty percent of the original sentence; however, eligibility for parole does not mean the offender is released, and even model offenders often are not released after serving fifty percent of the sentence; and

WHEREAS, "Truth in sentencing" means that each offender must serve a specified percentage of his or her sentence in prison without a chance for earlier release, with the remaining portion of the sentence to be used for specific behavioral incentives while the offender is in prison; and

WHEREAS, Truth in sentencing is good public policy for the state of Colorado because it allows the people of Colorado to participate meaningfully in the public policy debate regarding the length of time a person should serve in prison for any given crime; and

WHEREAS, Truth in sentencing would give victims the assurance that when the perpetrator of a crime is sentenced, he or she will actually serve the sentence imposed and it would give judges certain knowledge of how long a perpetrator found guilty of a crime will serve; and

WHEREAS, Truth in sentencing gives offenders a time certain that they will have to serve and measurable behavioral incentives while they are in prison; and

WHEREAS, The General Assembly hereby declares the need for a study of Colorado sentencing provisions to recommend to the General Assembly a method by which truth in sentencing may be obtained without a fiscal impact on the state and without a net increase in the sentence actually served for any offense; now, therefore,

Be It Resolved by the Senate of the Sixty­first General Assembly of the State of Colorado, the House of Representatives concurring herein:

(1)  That there is hereby created an interim committee to work through the 1998 interim to study truth in sentencing in Colorado. The interim committee may consider, but need not be limited to, the following issues:

(a)  The appropriate percentage of an offender's prison sentence that the offender should be required to spend in prison;

(b)  The criteria for reducing an offender's time in prison; and

(c)  The appropriate length of sentence for each level of offense so that future offenders would serve the required specified percentage of their prison sentence in prison without a net increase in the average length of incarceration or a net increase in funding for the department of corrections.

(2)  That the interim committee shall consist of eleven members. The President, the Minority Leader of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Governor shall appoint the members of the committee no later than thirty days after passage of this Joint Resolution, as follows:

(a)  The President of the Senate shall appoint two senators to serve on the interim committee, one of whom shall be named chair of the interim committee, and the Minority Leader of the Senate shall appoint one senator to serve on the interim committee;

(b)  The Speaker of the House of Representatives shall appoint three representatives to serve on the interim committee, one of whom shall be named vice­chair of the committee and no more than two of whom are members of the same political party;

(c)  The Governor shall appoint five individuals to serve on the interim committee, no more than three of whom are members of the same political party, with at least one member representing each of the following groups:

(I)  Trial court judges;

(II)  District attorneys;

(III)  Criminal defense attorneys;

(IV)  The parole board; and

(V)  Reintegration service providers.

(3)  That the interim committee is encouraged to consult with advisory groups consisting of representatives of victims' advocates, law enforcement, the department of corrections, community corrections, families of inmates, and former inmates in conducting its studies.

(4)  That the interim committee shall make findings and recommendations regarding the issues reviewed in this study, including but not limited to any necessary legislation, and shall submit a written report on the interim committee's findings and recommendations to the General Assembly no later than October 15, 1998. Legislation recommended by the interim committee shall be treated as legislation recommended by any other interim committee for purposes of any introduction deadlines or bill limitations imposed by the joint rules of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

(5)  That the interim committee shall meet at least three times to fulfill its responsibilities in this study.

(6)  That the members of the interim committee who are members of the General Assembly shall be compensated as provided in section 2­2­307, Colorado Revised Statutes, and members of the interim committee who are not members of the General Assembly shall be reimbursed for their necessary expenses for attendance at meetings of the interim committee.

(7)  That the Legislative Council staff and the Office of Legislative Legal Services shall be made available to assist the interim committee in carrying out its duties. All personnel of the department of corrections shall cooperate with the interim committee and with any persons assisting the interim committee in carrying out its duties.

(8)  That all expenditures incurred while conducting this study shall be approved by the chair of the Legislative Council and paid by vouchers and warrants drawn as provided by law from moneys allocated to the Legislative Council for legislative studies from appropriations made by the General Assembly.

Amendment added on Wednesday 5/5/1998
Amendment No. 1, by Senator Rupert
Amend printed joint resolution, page 3, strike lines
32 through 34 and substitute the following:
and warrants drawn as provided by law from moneys appropriated
to the legislative department pursuant to Senate Bill 98-194.
(9) That this joint resolution shall only be implemented
if Senate Bill 98-194 becomes law and if Senate Bill 98-194, as
enacted, includes an appropriation to the legislative department
for the purpose of implementing this joint resolution.".