Colorado Kids: What You Need to Know About The Debate on Juvenile Justice
A large portion of parents believe that their children can do no wrong, but Colorado law says otherwise.
According to the Colorado Juvenile Code, Colorado children ages 10 to 18 can be criminally prosecuted in Colorado's juvenile court system.
Raising the Minimum Age For Criminally Prosecuting Colorado Children
HB-1131 proposes that the minimum age for criminal prosecution of a child should be set to the age of 13, except in the case of homicide.
The bill was introduced on January 21 and has since been scheduled for a judiciary hearing at 1:30 PM on February 16.
Proponents of the bill believe that allowing a child into the criminal system at such a young age only perpetuates a future life of crime. Supporters also argue that prosecuting a juvenile deprives them of the ability to receive treatment and become rehabilitated.
The Current State of Colorado Law For Juveniles
The newly proposed bill points to the current flaws of Colorado laws on juvenile prosecutions and states:
"Children who are charged with crimes and subjected to the juvenile justice system are more likely to enter the criminal justice system as adults, more likely to present a future threat to community safety, more likely to face mental health challenges, and less likely to graduate from high school."
Research has also shown that children of color are more likely to be overrepresented in the juvenile justice system and detained in juvenile justice facilities far more often than white children.
Should Colorado take a closer look at its juvenile criminal justice system and raise the age of criminal responsibility?