Colorado lawmakers advanced a proposal this week to place fewer youths who commit sexual offenses on the state registry, and to partially seal that registry from the public.
The proposed changes are informed by research showing that harshly penalizing juvenile sex offenders often does nothing to improve public safety or rehabilitate the offenders.
The proposed bill was endorsed Thursday by four of five voting members of an interim committee of state lawmakers convened to consider changes to how Colorado criminal and juvenile justice systems treat people with mental illness. The committee comprises members from both parties and both chambers of the legislature.
The draft that committee members voted to introduce next year expands significantly the discretion of judges not to require juveniles to register as sex offenders. It also allows people adjudicated — a synonym for “convicted” used in juvenile cases — for multiple sex offenses to petition to deregister, and for “lookbacks” by courts that may want to remove someone from the registry, or add someone, depending on new information that may surface.
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