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Issue Position: Sentencing Reform

Issue Position

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This year we have a good chance to scale back the number of people who are convicted of felony drug possession for relatively small amounts of Schedule I and II drugs. I have joined a bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives to sponsor Senate Bill 163, which reduces penalties for possession of small amounts of drugs from a felony to a misdemeanor; and also reduces penalties for possession of larger amounts from a Class 4 felony to a Class 6. (The bill does not change laws that address manufacture and distribution of drugs.)

Housing prisoners is one of the most expensive things the state of Colorado does. When the prisoners are non-violent drug users, the cost to the tax payer is compounded by the failure of the prison system to treat and rehabilitate the offender. SB163 takes the savings from diverting drug users from prison and puts it into new treatment programs. The net result for the state will be more rehabilitated workers and fewer low level users taking up prison beds.

As of this writing the SB 163 is working its way through the Senate and continues to pick up support from Republicans and Democrats alike.


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