Location: RM 271
Practitioner's Perspective: Attorney General
SENTENCING IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
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09:15 AM -- Practitioner's Perspective: Attorney General
The committee came to order. A quorum was present. Representative Lee, Chair, first reviewed the activity that took place during the last committee meeting (August 9), and updated the committee on a few ancillary items of interest to the committee, including a meeting that Representative Lee recently had with certain members of the Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice. Representative Lee then provided an overview of the day's proceedings. Mr. Scott Turner, Deputy Attorney General, Department of Law (Attorney General's Office), provided the department's perspective on criminal sentencing. Committee members received a packet of slides providing the basis for Mr. Turner's presentation (Attachment A). Mr. Turner discussed the factors driving incarceration rates. Mr. Turner responded to questions regarding certain policies enacted in Colorado that have driven a rise in incarceration rates. He then returned to his presentation. Discussion ensued regarding the incarceration rates and overall population in Colorado.
Mr. Turner returned to his presentation, discussing judicial discretion in sentencing. Mr. Turner responded to questions regarding the impact of adding crimes to state statutes on the state's incarceration rate. He then returned to his presentation. Discussion ensued regarding the impact of drug laws on the incarceration rate.
Mr. Turner continued to discuss judicial discretion. He then made some recommendations about how to address an increase in offender incarceration, including actions taken in other states to reduce prison populations. Mr. Turner responded to questions regarding these activities in other states, and the impacts of these activities on state budgeting for corrections.
Discussion ensued regarding the sentencing scheme in Colorado for sex offenders. Discussion returned to factors that drive corrections budgeting. Mr. Turner returned to discussing developments in other states with an aim toward reducing incarceration rates. Mr. Turner wrapped up his presentation by noting some common themes that affect criminal sentencing, and discussing costs associated with sentencing reform. Mr. Turner responded to questions regarding changes to sentencing statutes that took place in Colorado in the 1980s and 1990s, and the factors that drive prison populations.