Continuing to Improve Public Safety & Make Colorado Communities Safer, Gov. Polis Sends Letter to Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice

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(Sept. 15, 2022) Today, Governor Polis sent a letter to the Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice urging sentencing reforms to promote public safety, reduce crime, and make Colorado communities safer as a part of the Polis Administration’s ongoing work to make Colorado one of the ten safest states in the nation over the next five years. 

“Coloradans deserve to feel safe and secure in their homes, communities, schools, places of work, places of worship, and wherever they travel throughout the state. As Governor, I am dedicated to making Colorado one of the top ten safest states within the next five years, and I believe that the CCJJ is uniquely positioned to help move the state towards this goal,” the Governor’s letter reads.

“I continue to believe that we should have a rational, just, and consistent sentencing scheme where offenders are held accountable and punishments are appropriate for an offender’s conduct,” the Governor’s letter continues. 

“We must do more to ensure that dangerous offenders are not able to re-enter communities and put us all at risk. Rehabilitation and restoration should continue to be valuable tactics to reduce crime and recidivism,” the Governor stated upon release of the letter.

“Given these values, we must address the challenges of increased violent and property crime that has escalated due to societal and cyclical factors. The Commission should continue its work on sentencing grid reforms, while keeping in mind that increased public safety and the security of Coloradans should be the number one priority,” the Governor’s letter reads. 

“I am particularly interested in having the Commission examine changes to auto theft sentencing, so that the repeat offenders and the most egregious perpetrators cannot easily return to communities to further inflict harm on the people of Colorado. Auto theft is devastating property crime for those affected, who often lose their only way to get to work or get to the store. In addition, it is frequently a precursor crime that is often used in the furtherance of violence and other crimes. Enhancing the penalties associated with auto theft, regardless of the value of the vehicle stolen, has the potential to make us safer and improve the quality of life in Colorado. The Commission should especially revisit the criminal classification of auto theft as it relates to the monetary value of a stolen vehicle. The Commission should also examine updating the language to elevate the severity of the crime based on the number of prior offenses, specifically targeting prolific auto thieves,” the Governor’s letter reads. “This is a top priority of mine, and even if the Commission does not come forward with recommendations this year, I will look to work with the legislature to enact reforms in this area in the upcoming session.”