Kids under 12 years old who commit misdemeanors no longer will face mandatory detention in the Division of Youth Corrections if Gov. John Hickenlooper signs legislation unanimously approved by the Senate Monday. House Bill 1207, sponsored in the Senate by state Sen. Kevin Priola, R-Henderson, and in the House by state Rep. Pete Lee, D-Colorado Springs, gives judges discretion in such cases. The measure already as been approved by the lower chamber.
A Senate GOP press release helps make the case for keeping youngsters out of lockup:
The Division reported the detention of 188 children ages 10-12 in DYC facilities since 2014. Over the same time period 56 serious assaults were committed by individuals in DYC facilities.
…and includes this statement by Priola:
“DYC is in need of a serious culture shift…So many of these young kids are going through a troubled time, and sequestering them with older offenders who can lead the younger ones further down a dark path does little to promote reform and discourage recidivism. It’s our duty to ensure we’re doing everything possible to help more of these troubled kids find their way, and keep them from re-entering the system.”