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H_JUD_2018A 11/28/2018 09:06:14 AM Committee Summary

Date 11/28/2018
Benavidez X
Carver X
Cooke E
Coram X
Fields E
Foote E
Herod X
Kagan X
Lundeen X
Melton X
Salazar E
Weissman X
Willett E
Wist E
Gardner X
Lee X
Time 09:06:14 AM to 04:28:23 PM
Place Old State Library
This Meeting was called to order by Gardner
This Report was prepared by Juliann Jenson
Hearing Items Action Taken
Office of State Auditor Committee Discussion Only
Department of Corrections Committee Discussion Only
Judicial Branch Committee Discussion Only
Office of Public Guardianship Committee Discussion Only
State Board of Parole Committee Discussion Only
Office of the Child's Representative Committee Discussion Only
SMART Government Act Hearings Committee Discussion Only

Office of State Auditor - Committee Discussion Only

09:06:37 AM  

Senator Gardner called the meeting to order. 

Kerri Hunter, Deputy State Auditor, Jenny Page, Legislative Audit Manager, Vickie Heller, Legislative Audit Manager, and Monica Neff, Legislative Audit Manager, presented the FY 2018 Annual Audit Report and the status of outstanding audit recommendations. Ms. Hunter provided background on the mission of OSA. Committee members received copies of the following documents:

Annual report (Attachment A:; and,

Status of outstanding recommendations (Attachment B:


Ms. Heller further presented highlights of the Department of Corrections (DOC) Inmate Canteen and Banking Programs audit (Attachment C).  She mentioned that the canteen does not have a consistent policy regarding pricing and made recommendations to correct this.  She also answered questions about the balance in the Canteen Account. 


Ms. Page provided a summary of the Office of the Child Representative (OCR) audit (Attachment D and E).  This audit uncovered a range of concerns, primarily about the tracking, monitoring, and payment of contracts with attorneys and other non-profits.  Ms. Page noted that OCR has agreed to implement the recommendations from the audit and referenced a change in leadership within the organization. Ms. Page answered questions about attorney billing, potential fraud, and the processing of bills.



09:30:53 AM  

Ms. Neff discussed outstanding audit recommendations and mentioned the DOC wild horse and burro program and canteen program.  She explained to the committee where to find audit reports on-line.  

Department of Corrections - Committee Discussion Only

09:39:02 AM  

Kelli Wasko, Deputy Director, Deb Goheen, Interim Director of Budget and Finance, and Travis Trani, Director of Prisons, for the DOC, appeared before the committee in accordance with the SMART Act and Joint Rule 25.  The following documents were distributed to the committee: Joint Judiciary Committee SMART Act hearing Powerpoint presentation (Attachment F); the Regulatory Agenda Report, 2019 (Attachment G); and, the DOC Performance Plan, 2018-19 (Attachment H).


Ms. Wasko walked the committee through the Powerpoint presentation.  The presentation included the agency's vision and mission statement, as well as highlighted accomplishments such as the end of long-term solitary confinement, reduction in Hep C cases, issuance of IDs upon release, and improvements in parolee employment.  The presentation also covered recidivism and technical parole violations. Ms. Wasko reported that the prison population has remained relatively stable compared to the state population.


The committee discussed the prison population rate, the under-utilization of community corrections beds, and the placement of transgender inmates.  The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) was also discussed, as well as forensic investigations for reported rapes.


Ms. Wasko continued with the presentation and discussed the various kinds of treatment offered in prison.  The committee asked questions about diagnosis and assessments, capacity, wait lists, and access to services. 


Mr. Trani discussed progress on implementing legislation regarding prison population management, community corrections transition placements, and DOC policies for transgender inmates. 

10:33:36 AM  

The committee asked further questions about access to support and treatment services, transition measures to reduce capacity, and community corrections beds.  Mr. Trani continued the presentation with other statutorily required updates.  Ms. Goheen discussed recidivism rates, including the definition and methodolgy used in calculating them.  Ms. Goheen focused on the DOC budget request and emphasized staff retention and overcrowding issues.

11:28:35 AM  

Discussion ensued about inmate and staff safety.  Committee members asked questions about the implementation of recommendations made in the audit about the canteen program and the use of the funds in the balance. Other questions arose about Colorado State Penitentiary II and sex offender programs.


There was no public testimony.

Judicial Branch - Committee Discussion Only

01:00:02 PM  

The Honorable Chief Justice Nathan Coates and Chris Ryan, State Court Administrator, appeared before the committee in accordance with the SMART Act and Joint Rule 25.  A copy of the Judicial Branch Powerpoint presentation was handed out to committee members (Attachment I). Chief Justice Coates provided background information about the Judicial Branch and its mission.  He explained the current needs of the court and the increased volume and docket.  He mentioned the increase in pro se litigants and the number of people on probation.  Committee members asked questions about pro se litigants and discussed expanding the use of non-lawyers to help people access the justice system.  Committee members asked further questions about magistrates and civil cases.  Chief Justice Coates explained diversion and restorative justice programs and problem-solving courts.  


Committee members asked questions about probation and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and training for probation officers.  Other questions were raised about sex offenders on probation and the use of polygraph and plethysmograph tests.  


Chief Justice Coates and Mr. Ryan discussed the judicial budget request to increase the number of judges.  They expressed concerns about backlog.


01:50:56 PM  

The committee asked questions about physical space for new judges in county courthouses.  Chief Justice Coates and Mr. Ryan discussed the Bail Blue Ribbon Commission to address Colorado's pretrial release practices.  Another question was raised about the use of polygraphs on probationers and self-incrimination. 

There was no public testimony.


Office of Public Guardianship - Committee Discussion Only

02:08:29 PM  

Sheri Caton, Chair of the Office of Public Guardianship Commission, and Hugh Wilson, Budget Manager for the Judicial Branch, appeared before the committee in accordance with SMART Act and Joint Rule 25.  Ms. Caton discussed the pilot program and distributed a fact sheet about it  (Attachment J).  She reported that the pilot program, which is intended to provide legal guardianship services to indigent and incapacitated adults, is contingent upon gifts, grants, and donations.  Insufficient funds have been collected thus far to start the program.  Ms. Caton explained the budget request for General Fund moneys.  


Committee members asked questions about potential cost savings of the program and what is being done in other states.  Discussion followed about using volunteers to fulfill the public guardianship duties.  Mr. Wilson further explained the budget request, and Ms. Caton said legislative changes are also requested to change the timeline of the pilot program. Ms. Caton explained the fund-raising impediments. 


02:43:07 PM  

Judge Elizabeth Leith spoke in favor of the pilot program during public testimony.  She discussed the importance of public guardians, especially for those suffering from brain injuries and mental illness.  She emphasized that a legal guardian is necesssary for housing and medical purposes, and noted that people are languishing at Denver Health without one.  


Carl Glatstein, an attorney in private practice, spoke in favor of the Office of the Public Guardianship. 



State Board of Parole - Committee Discussion Only

02:58:38 PM  

In accordance with SMART Act and Joint Rule 25, the following State Board of Parole representatives appeared before the committee:  Kristen Hilkey, Chairperson, Alexandra Walker, Interim Vice Chairperson, and Tammy Murphy, Parold Board Office Manager.   The Colorado State Board of Parole Annual Report was distributed to committee members (Attachment K).


Ms. Walker provided an overview of the State Board of Parole and emphasized that it's an independently operated, separate agency.  She also discussed an offender's path to parole and related statistics.  Questions were asked about workload and the ability to review cases thoroughly.  Discussion followed about information sharing, the contents of a case file, and the risk assessment instrument used in determining parole eligibility.  Committee members asked for additional data about the number of parole applications approved.   



03:18:48 PM  

Ms. Walker responded to questions regarding the revocation rate among parolees, and the Parole Board's schedule. Ms. Walker responded to further questions regarding who makes decisions with regard to whose parole cases are heard, and on what time line. Ms. Walker returned to briefing the committee and discussed the board's structured decision-making matrix and deviations from it.  Discussion ensued about the risk assessment instrument and other qualitative factors use in reviewing parole eligiblity. Ms. Walker answered questions about ICE. Ms. Murphy explained the Lean Initiative to streamline services, save paper, and cut down on other costs. 



Office of the Child's Representative - Committee Discussion Only

04:00:53 PM  

Christopher Henderson, Executive Director, and Ashley Chase, Staff Attorney appeared before the committee about OCR in accordance with SMART Act and Joint Rule 25.  Mr. Henderson introduced himself as the new executive director and explained the duties of the office.  He noted the cases where guardians ad litem are appointed and the increase for ones involving juvenile delinquency.  He presented the office's SMART goals and the annual report (Attachment L).  These goals aim to provide childen a voice in the legal system, optimize efficiences in attorney practice and billing, and remain current in state and federal law and regulations, research, and evidence-based practices.  He also walked the committee through their budget request, which is driven by caseload and mandated costs. 


Committee members asked quesitons about a recent audit which found that attorney contracts were not being adequately monitored.  Mr. Henderson responded that the office is starting to implement the audit recommendations, including a new system to run reports that track attorney and child contacts.  Committee members encouraged the OCR to implement audit recommendations.

SMART Government Act Hearings - Committee Discussion Only

04:28:23 PM   Committee Adjourned

The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details