(Feb. 19) – The House voted unanimously today to expand Rep. Pete Lee’s restorative justice pilot program, now in its third year of operation in Colorado.
Currently, only juveniles who commit a misdemeanor or a class 3, 4, 5, or 6 felony can be chosen to participate in the restorative justice program, and only first offenders are eligible. HB15-1094, sponsored by Rep. Lee, D-Colorado Springs, allows juveniles who commit petty or municipal offenses to also be eligible to participate. It also allows DAs to waive the first-offense limitation.
“This bill will make more juvenile offenders eligible for restorative justice,” Rep. Lee said. “By keeping juveniles in school and out of the criminal justice system, we’re reducing recidivism, saving taxpayer dollars and getting troubled juveniles back on the right track.”
By bringing victims, offenders and community members together to talk about an offense, restorative justice helps to break the cycle of crime by promoting accountability and responsibility. Research indicates that participation in restorative justice increases victim satisfaction with the justice system.
The House’s 65-0 vote sent the bill to the Senate.