Last week, Governor Hickenlooper came to Colorado Springs to sign House Bill 11-1032, Restorative Justice. As many of you know, this was my signature bill, as I have been working on restorative justice issues for as long as I can remember. Here’s an excerpt from the article that appeared in the Colorado Springs Independent:
State Rep. Pete Lee receives a standing ovation Tuesday afternoon when he’s introduced by Gov. John Hickenlooper. The old courthouse in the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum is filled with Lee’s supporters and criminal-justice activists to see his restorative justice bill signed into law.
“We should hope to get to the point where we spend more on classrooms than cages,” says the first-year lawmaker. “More on textbooks than prison blocks.”
This bill, Lee says, can help lead to such a future, “if you, the people, insist that we use restorative justice in the courts and schools.”
Restorative justice can be broadly defined as a system “that emphasizes repairing the harm caused or revealed by criminal behaviour,” as the Centre for Justice and Reconciliation puts it. With this bill, says state Department of Human Services spokeswomanLiz McDonough, the Division of Youth Corrections can build upon some of the projects it’s already started.