BILL SUMMARY for HB09-1264
SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
|Refer House Bill 09-1264 to the Committee of the W
02:59 PM -- House Bill 09-1264
Senator Hudak, sponsor of House Bill 09-1264, presented the bill to the committee. The bill clarifies that inmates in state correctional facilities who take part in college-level academic programs may obtain financial assistance from private and federal sources. Senator Hudak explained that the bill is a recommendation of the Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice.
Senator Hudak responded to committee questions and comments.
The following persons testified:
03:03 PM -- Ann Terry, representing the Colorado Department of Public Safety and the Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice (CCJJ), testified in support of the bill. She provided an overview of the CCJJ, saying that the bill is a recommendation of the commission.
Ms. Terry responded to committee questions and comments.
03:10 PM -- Inta Morris, representing the Department of Higher Education and a member of the CCJJ, testified in support of the bill. She explained that the bill does not require educational programs for inmates, rather it allows inmates to take advantage of existing programs.
Ms. Morris responded to committee questions.
03:13 PM -- Ari Zavaras, representing the Colorado Department of Corrections (DOC) and a member of the CCJJ, testified in support of the bill. He responded to earlier committee questions about the number of inmates that participate in educational opportunities. He spoke to the importance of changing behavior to reduce recidivism. Mr. Zavaras said education is a key factor in reducing recidivism. He said the bill clears up questions within the DOC.
Mr. Zavaras answered committee questions, as did Ms. Morris. Ms. Morris explained that, due to security issues, inmates are not allowed internet access. Mr. Zavaras provided further information about the courses, explaining that they are correspondence courses.
Committee discussion with Ms. Morris and Mr. Zavaras continued, with conversation around the importance for inmates of programs such as educational and vocational programs. Mr. Zavaras talked about other steps that could be taken in this arena, speaking to the importance of reaching people before they end up in DOC. Committee discussion on this issue ensued.
Ms. Morris described the cooperation between the DOC and the community college system. She also explained that inmates are not eligible for federal Pell Grants and responded to committee questions about this issue. Senator Hudak asked the witnesses to provide further information about how instruction for inmates takes place. Ms. Morris explained that many times instructors come to inmates. Ross Kimbrel from the DOC came to the table to provide further detail about educational programs provided to inmates.
Senator Hudak made closing comments to the bill.
| 03:29:04 PM
|Refer House Bill 09-1264 to the Committee of the Whole. The motion passed on a 6-0-2 vote.
Final YES: 6 NO: 0 EXC: 2 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: PASS