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National

CO: New law closes loophole regarding sex offender treatment

[koaa.com –  8/12/20]

SOUTHERN COLORADO — Colorado legislators have closed a loophole in state law that allowed certain sex offenders to get out of prison early and transfer to community corrections before completing required treatment.

To fully understand what exactly changed in the law, it’s important to take a step back and learn more about the Colorado Sex Offender Lifetime Supervision Act (LSA). This allows people convicted of high-level sex offenses to stay in prison or under supervision until they have progressed in their treatment and are no longer considered a threat to the community. The act was passed in 1998.

Another important distinction to make is between determinate and indeterminate sentences. A determinate sentence is for a fixed period of time. An indeterminate sentence would be something, such as four years to life in prison.

According to the Colorado District Attorneys’ Council, indeterminate sex crimes include felony sex assault, sex assault by a peace officer, and sex offenses against children.

Under the LSA, people who receive an indeterminate sentence can shorten the length of time they spend in prison. An offender would do so by participating in rehabilitation services, which come either through being granted parole or a transfer to Community Corrections. However, there was no treatment or risk-assessment requirement for a sex offender to transfer to Community Corrections. Those conditions existed to be granted parole.

“These individuals, guilty of egregious crimes, pose a safety risk, and our concern is that they were being released into the community without being treated,” said Deputy Executive Director for the Colorado District Attorneys’ Council, Arnold Hanuman. Hanuman said the council had prosecutors observe this lack of assessment and treatment for underlying sex crimes before offenders were released to Community Corrections, otherwise known as a halfway house.

The Council also reported that 70% of people charged with an indeterminate offense received no prison time from 2013 to 2016.

2,919 people have gotten indeterminate prison sentences since the year 2000. Over three-quarters of those prison sentences involve sex offenses against a child. 37% of people with an indeterminate sentence are paroled.

The Council advocated for this bill (SB20-085) to change the LSA because they said the loophole is problematic for victims of sexual assault. For instance, a survivor could be told their perpetrator would be spending four years in prison, but that offender could actually be back in the community in as little as 16 months without being evaluated as a risk to society.

“It strengthens our sentencing and what we can tell victims. And, that they will be safer, given that individuals would not be released early without being treated,” said Hanuman.

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Join the discussion

  1. AERO1

    Daam my mom just bought a house out there in Colorado looks like I’ll only be visiting when I’m out there because this state is way out of control when comes to there sexofender laws..

    Good luck

  2. w

    It’s the same thing they did in CA with assemblyman James C Ramos’ ab433 last year. The stupid sbc probation office didn’t like when one of their “clients” got a modification of probation. Ramos worked with DA Jason Anderson and former DA Mike Ramos.

    Problem is the “client” was falsely accused and they were just patching up their ill-concieved Marsys law debacle. But plain as day any “loophole” in a law predicated on usurping the presumption of innocence must mean that the person was in fact innocent…

  3. totally against public registry

    Don’t you love it how they all talk as if they are experts and their opinions are recorded and heard as the truth! Things just keep getting worse and worse…

  4. Trapped in the USA

    Isn’t it just expected how they take one guy and lay out all the wrong he has done and say hey look ALL these guys are like this, and not even mention once the million other guys that stay straight and never re offend? They even skew the low recidivism rate by saying it doesn’t mean anything because the report rate of sex offense is low.

    Ok police brutality, you say it is low and their are a few “bad apples”. I say the report rate is low because people are afraid to report it, so by your standards the rate of police assaulting and raping people is “shocking high”.

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