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January 23, 2024

Committee Passes Bill to Implement Statewide Jail Standards

DENVER, CO - The House Judiciary Committee today passed legislation to ensure individuals housed in jails across the state have a basic and standardized set of rights. The bill passed by a vote of 10-1.

“Providing incarcerated Coloradans the services they need to build a successful life when they leave the justice system will improve public safety and reduce recidivism,” said Rep. Judy Amabile, D-Boulder. “This bill builds on our 2022 legislation to incorporate insight from behavioral health professionals, law enforcement agencies, and county representatives into jail standards to be used in every jail in our state. This not only benefits incarcerated Coloradans, but also the officers and staffers that work in our jails. I’m proud to continue our collaborative work so we can improve conditions in our jail system.”

“All Coloradans deserve safe living conditions, and their health and safety shouldn’t vary greatly depending on which jail they’re placed in,” said Rep. Lorena Garcia, D-Unincorporated Adams County. “Our bill extends the Legislative Oversight Committee for Colorado Jail Standards to ensure that all incarcerated people in Colorado are treated equally. Creating a safer environment in Colorado jails is one of many steps we can take to rehabilitate incarcerated people so they have the tools they need to break cycles of incarceration.”

HB24-1054 extends the duties of the Legislative Oversight Committee for Colorado Jail Standards that address and improve the rights of people incarcerated in jails, including access to health care, visitation, housing and more. Jails must comply with these standards by July 1, 2026, and will have one year to adopt revised standards. 

The bill also creates a Jail Standards Advisory Committee composed of sheriffs, county commissioners, the state public defender, a health professional, and an advocate from a statewide organization. The Advisory Committee will be charged with conducting jail assessments, establishing standards and procedures, and submitting an annual report and recommendations to the Legislative Oversight Committee. 

The Attorney General’s office could conduct investigations regarding potential violations of the standards. Under the bill, the Division of Criminal Justice in the Department of Public Safety is required to create a list of funding assistance and resources for jails to offset the costs of complying with the new standards.

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