Friday, March 18, 2011

Vote on ‘Jailbird Consequences’ bill postponed

Life after a felony conviction, and a sentence served, can be daunting, says Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver—and may not be in the best interests of society as a whole.

Steadman’s Senate Bill 44 addresses the barriers that are faced by people who have a felony conviction as they re-enter society. Steadman told the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing his bill Thursday that the measure is a valuable tool in reducing recidivism and provides a measure of redemption to those who deserve it.

‘Too often prisoners go through the revolving door at the front of the prison,” said Steadman. “We’re creating barriers for them to put their life back together so they can become employed, productive, and out of trouble.”

Under the provisions of the measure, a defendant facing a felony conviction would be given notice of the 300-plus legally imposed consequences that accompany the conviction. After a sentence is served, the measure provides for a court-ordered waiver of certain consequences, such as the barriers convicts face in acquiring a professional license.

Speaking against the measure, Deputy Attorney General Michael Dougherty said the bill does “too much too quickly.”

Sen. Keith King, R-Colorado Springs, said he is concerned about the unintended consequences of undoing years of identifying areas where a felony conviction may be a factor.

“The 300 consequences that have taken years to develop shouldn’t just be disregarded,” said King. “There is an issue with causes of recidivism, but this needs to be looked at on a case-by-case basis rather than such a broad approach.”

The vote on the bill was postponed by the committee’s chair, Sen. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, until amendments are drafted resolving fiscal concerns.

Via - Colorado News Agency

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