Colorado lawmakers unexpectedly yanked a sentencing reform proposal from legislative consideration just as law enforcement officials were preparing to pan it publicly, the Denver Post reports. The bill would reduce penalties for nonviolent, property and drug offenses. Sponsors plan to amend it so that a commission studying the state’s justice system can review sentencing guidelines and offer recommendations on reform to the legislature.
The sweeping plan proposed lower penalties for many offenses – some to the point of eliminating jail time. The bill would roll back the range on some felony sentences to pre-1985 levels and relax laws that put those on probation behind bars for minor mistakes. Supporters said the proposal would cut the amount needed to fund incarceration. Attorney General John Suthers said he favors reform but the bill would keep some people out of prison who should serve time.