Restorative Justice Passes the Judiciary Committee
The House Judiciary Committee passed the Restorative Justice Bill by a vote of 11-0 last night. The final edition of this bill results from a collaboration with the Colorado District Attorney’s Council, the State Judicial Department which represents Probation and the Judges, representatives from victims groups and many of you who contributed your ideas, insights and recommendations. The bill received bipartisan support in the committee consisting of 6 Republicans and 5 Democrats – or 11 Coloradans.
HB11-1032 gives District Attorneys, Judges and defense lawyers another tool to address offenses by both juveniles and adults, enabling them to deal more effectively with criminal conduct and offenses. By providing opportunities for engagement, accountability and restoration, this bill will reduce recidivism, save costs and provide opportunities for healing for victims and communities. The bill encourages School Boards to use restorative justice practices in schools as a first consideration in addressing misconduct. For the first time in Colorado, it opens the door for restorative justice in prisons when money is available to fund a program there.
We still have work to do to move the bill through the House on second and third reading, then seek passage in the Senate and finally obtain the Governor’s signature. Meanwhile, we need to work with the State RJ Council and the Pikes Peak Restorative Justice Council to develop standards and criteria for facilitators so we can ensure continuing competence and professionalism.
Thank you to all who have worked so hard and contributed so much to advance the cause.