Colorado Rights Blog

ACLU of Colorado By: ACLU of Colorado 2.25.2014

House Judiciary to hear debtors’ prison bill today

The House Judiciary committee will be hearing testimony on HB 1061 this afternoon. The bill would force Colorado municipalities to comply with existing Constitutional and Colorado laws requiring courts to determine whether a person is too poor to pay their court fines and fees before throwing them in jail for failing to pay.

The bill, sponsored by Thornton Rep. Joe Salazar, is the result of a two-year statewide ACLU investigation into the use of these practices by municipal courts.

UPDATE: The bill passed out of committee unanimously, 11-0

Read the prepared remarks our Public Policy Director, Denise Maes, will give at the hearing today

Original ACLU press release on results of investigation into Colorado debtors’ prisons

Denver Post article: “Colorado cities jail poor who can’t pay fines for minor offenses”

AP article: “Jail for fines? Colo. lawmaker wants to end policy”

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