House Eliminates Cash Bail for Petty & Traffic Offenses

Bipartisan bill expected to help more than 10,000 people avoid pretrial detention

(Mar. 22) – The House unanimously approved a bill sponsored by Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, and Rep. Matt Soper, R-Delta, to eliminate cash bail for minor offenses including having an open container, trespassing, and shoplifting less than $50 worth of goods.

“Every night, thousands of Coloradans awaiting trial for minor offenses languish in jail simply because they can’t afford to get out. We are caging the poor and the homeless, not for their crimes, but for their poverty,” said Rep. Herod. “Poverty is not a crime.”

The ACLU 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.

HB19-1225 passed with a bipartisan, unanimous vote and now heads to the Senate.

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