First Regular Session

Sixty-second General Assembly

LLS NO. R99­0935.01 Jerry Barry


BY SENATOR Rupert, Phillips, Dennis, Feeley, Linkhart, Martinez, Matsunaka, Pascoe, Reeves, Sullivant, Tanner, Thiebaut, and Wham.



WHEREAS, The primary goal of the criminal justice system must be to protect the safety of citizens in the community; and

WHEREAS, The number of offenders incarcerated in prisons in the state increased by over three hundred fifteen percent from 1980 to 1996, and it is estimated that the inmate population will increase by an additional twenty­five percent between the years 1997 and 2000; and

WHEREAS, The increased cost to the state for incarcerating so many persons is staggering as since 1980, general fund appropriations to the department of corrections have increased by over six hundred seventy­five percent and from 1992 to 1996, general fund appropriations for the department of corrections increased by over sixty­two percent; and

WHEREAS, The answer to the problem of crime in Colorado and the best method to protect our communities is not merely building more prisons and spending a greater percentage of the state's revenues on putting people behind bars; and

WHEREAS, Alternative punishments other than imprisonment may be more cost­effective and offer more long­term protection to the citizens of the state; now, therefore,

Be It Resolved by the Senate of the Sixty­second 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 1999 interim to study the criminal sentencing policies of the state. The interim committee may consider, but need not be limited to, the following issues:

(a)  Use of private prison facilities;

(b)  Length of sentences to incarceration;

(c)  Mandatory minimum sentences to incarceration;

(d)  Incarceration of the mentally ill;

(e)  Incarceration of women;

(f)  Incarceration of juveniles;

(g)  The impact of incarceration on families and children;

(h)  Sentences for offenses related to controlled substances and the availability of drug treatment programs within and outside of correctional facilities;

(i)  Parole and reintegration programs;

(j)  The cost­effectiveness and viability of alternatives to incarceration; and

(k)  Recidivism rates under incarceration and alternative sentences.

(2)  That the interim committee shall consist of six members. The President of the Senate, the Minority Leader of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives 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 shall be members of the same political party.

(3)  That the interim committee is encouraged to consult with advisory groups including but not limited to representatives of the judicial department, district attorneys, criminal defense attorneys, 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 November 15, 1999. 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 shall be compensated as provided in section 2­2­307, Colorado Revised Statutes.

(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.