Spike in felony crimes has Colorado prosecutors pushing back against sentencing, parole reforms | AspenTimes.com

Spike in felony crimes has Colorado prosecutors pushing back against sentencing, parole reforms

Many Colorado prosecutors say the rise in crime coincides with more lenient prison terms

Christopher N. Osher
The Denver Post

The Denver Justice Center is home to the The Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center, also known as the Denver Jail, and the Lindsey-Flanagan Courthouse in downtown Denver on March 9, 2016.

Felony criminal filings across Colorado increased by nearly 50 percent in the past five years, prompting concerns that recent criminal justice reforms are letting dangerous individuals roam the streets.

Prosecutors and state officials still are trying to identify the causes for the swifter pace of felony filings. State statistics indicate that a recent surge in drug arrests may be partly responsible.

The Colorado District Attorneys' Council has alerted officials in Gov. John Hickenlooper's office to the increase and sought their help in analyzing crime trends. The council also has reached out to district attorneys throughout the state for more information on felony filings as it prepares to fight plans to push for further sentencing reforms in the upcoming legislative session.

Lawmakers ranging from Republican Sen. Kevin Lundberg of Berthoud, a member of the influential Joint Budget Committee that writes the state budget, to Democratic Sen. Daniel Kagan of Arapahoe County, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, want to overhaul Colorado's sex offender and habitual offender statutes to give judges more flexibility when sentencing offenders.

Read the full story at http://www.denverpost.com

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