While we mourn the victims of this week’s tragic mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado, this week in the Colorado General Assembly there are important criminal justice reform issues up for debate. It’s very important that we not lose focus on taking actions that will improve our justice system and address the root causes of crime even as we respond to these terrible events.
In that spirit, take a moment right now to help us pass two bills to safely reduce jail populations and interrupt the “school-to-prison” pipeline.
SB21-062: Safely Reduce Jail Populations
Did you know that 60% of the jail population in Colorado hasn’t even been convicted of a crime? We can reduce Colorado’s jail population without compromising public safety. Senate Bill 21-062 implements smart policies learned during the COVID-19 pandemic to focus on protecting the public while ending cash bail for many low-level offenses, and restricting arrests to serious crimes and situations where another person’s safety is actually in danger.
SB21-182: Help Interrupt the “school-to-prison pipeline”
Our schools should be safe places where students can learn, build relationships, and make mistakes. But unfortunately, “getting in trouble” at school no longer means just a trip to the principal’s office and a stern talking to. Senate Bill 21-182 encourages the use of positive approaches to school discipline, and helps school districts to appropriately address student misconduct and discipline while allowing flexibility to ensure schools still have the tools necessary when an incident may call for escalation.
We need your help now: contact your state lawmakers and ask them to SUPPORT Senate Bill 21-182, legislation “addressing disproportionate disciplinary practices and chronic absenteeism and supporting students at risk of dropping out of school.”
Since the 1970s, the population of Colorado’s jails has grown by 800%. During the pandemic, Colorado proved that selectively reducing jail populations and focusing on incarcerating violent offenders is safe, effective, and will save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. And school discipline should help students learn better behavior to avoid the costly and harmful experiences that come with falling into the school-to-prison pipeline.
Reforming over-incarceration in American society is a big goal, and we’re proud of our lawmakers taking these bold steps to solve longstanding structural problems. Thanks for your timely action.