The Colorado legislature must find a way to fund a program that treats sex offenders before they leave prison.
It's not exactly a surprise that if you starve a government program of funding, it's going to have problems meeting its goals.
Yet, some in the state legislature seem poised to dismantle a prison sex-offender treatment program for just that reason.
That would be a mistake.
The legislature ordered an audit that found just one-sixth of those in prison eligible for sex-offender treatment each year are able to get in.
The outside audit noted many are "low risk" and could be treated in the community.
Hold on just a minute.
The real answer is the legislature ought to accept responsibility for severely underfunding this program and find the money to remedy that.
The state must provide these sex offenders — let's keep in mind we're talking about rapists and child molesters — the treatment they need while they're still safely behind bars.
What is truly under attack here is Colorado's Lifetime Supervision Act of 1998. This law said those who commit certain serious sex offenses — people likely to commit similar crimes in the future if not supervised — should be treated differently.
The act provided for indeterminate sentencing, sex-offender treatment and intensive supervision once an inmate is found eligible for release.
Colorado is not alone in having open-ended holds on some sex offenders. Some 20 states have what is called a civil commitment process, whereby dangerous sex offenders can be forced into treatment and supervision after serving prison time.
Some have decried the pricetag for keeping sex offenders in Colorado prisons, which is about $31,000 annually for each. Let's keep that in perspective. ..continued... by The Denver Post Editorial Board
April 29, 2013