Bills would eliminate cash bail for petty & traffic offenses, provide menstrual hygiene products to inmates for free
(Apr. 25) – Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill today eliminating cash bail for minor offenses including having an open container, trespassing, and shoplifting less than $50 worth of goods. Sponsored by Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, and Rep. Matt Soper’s, R-Delta, HB19-1225 was approved unanimously by the House and Senate.
“Until tonight, thousands of Coloradans awaiting trial for minor offenses languished in jail simply because they couldn’t afford to get out. We were caging the poor and the homeless, not for their crimes, but for their poverty,” said Rep. Herod. “Poverty is not a crime.”
The new bipartisan law goes into effect immediately and is expected to help more than 10,000 people avoid pretrial detention.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado studied state court data and estimated at least 13,000 people a year would be released from jail as a result of this reform, helping with overcrowding at many Colorado jails. Pueblo County jail recently operated at 194 percent capacity and Alamosa County jail reported operating at 127 percent.
Governor Polis also signed Rep. Herod’s bill to provide menstrual hygiene products to inmates in county jails free of charge. HB19-1224 was also approved unanimously in the House and Senate.