Colorado may have to return part of the $4.5 million in federal grants it has received in the past six years after failing to fully implement a sexually violent predator law, reports the Denver Post. State officials acknowledged they did not review the cases of up to 1,200 sex offenders to see if they should be labeled as sexually violent predators. Pete Pierce of the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs said states that obtain grants based on false information could face civil action under the False Claims Act to repay the money. Lance Clem of the Colorado Department of Public Safety responded that Colorado has met federal reporting requirements every year.
Although Colorado’s sexually violent predator law required the Department of Corrections to evaluate most sex offenders before they appeared at parole hearings, the agency never got any of the federal grant money to pay therapists to do the evaluations. The Justice Department grant money went to other law enforcement initiatives, including drug courts, drug task forces, police communications systems, school resource officers, and drug treatment programs. “If we received grant money based on doing SVP evaluations, we would have done the evaluations,” said Patti Micciche, Department of Corrections spokeswoman. “I’m not shifting blame here. We owned up that it was an oversight on our part.” In May, the Post reported that the Department of Corrections had not set up a system for doing sexually violent predator tests and had not given a single test.