Colorado Rights Blog

HB18-1109: Discretionary Parole Of Special Needs Offenders

Criminal Legal Reform
Bill Number: HB18-1109
Year: 2018
ACLU Position: Support
Sponsors: M. Weissman/ J. Cooke


Current law provides 2 definitions by which an offender in the
custody of the department of corrections (department) may be considered
a special needs offender. The first definition describes a person who
is 60 years of age or older and has been diagnosed by a licensed health
care provider who is employed by or under contract with the department
as suffering from a chronic infirmity, illness, condition, disease, or
behavioral or mental health disorder and the department or the state board
of parole (parole board) determines that the person is incapacitated to the
extent that he or she is not likely to pose a risk to public safety. The bill
amends this definition by changing 60 years to 55 years.
The bill also adds a third definition by which such an offender may
be considered a special needs offender. That is, an offender who, as
determined by a licensed health care provider who is employed by or
under contract with the department, on the basis of available evidence,
not including evidence resulting from a refusal of the person to accept
treatment, does not have a substantial probability of being restored to
competency and is not likely to pose a risk to public safety.
Under current law, if the department recommends to the parole
board that an offender be released to parole as a special needs offender,
the parole board may deny parole only by a majority vote of the parole
board. The bill states that to deny parole under such conditions, the parole
board must also make a finding that granting parole would create a threat
to public safety and that the offender is likely to commit an offense.
The bill states that if, prior to or during any parole hearing, the
parole board or any member of the parole board has a substantial and
good-faith reason to believe that the offender is incompetent to proceed,
the parole board shall suspend all proceedings and notify the trial court
that imposed any active sentence, and the court shall determine the
competency or incompetency of the offender.
For any offender who is granted special needs parole, the parole
board shall set the length of the parole for an appropriate time period of
at least 6 months but not exceeding 36 months. At any time during such
an offender’s parole, the parole board may revise the duration of the
offender’s parole. However, in no case may such an offender be required
to serve a period of parole in excess of the period of parole to which he
or she would otherwise be sentenced, or 36 months, whichever is less.

Current Status:

Sent to the Governor (04/17/2018)
Senate Third Reading Passed - No Amendments (04/05/2018)
Introduced In Senate - Assigned to Judiciary (03/26/2018)
House Second Reading Laid Over to 03/21/2018 - No Amendments (03/20/2018)
House Committee on Judiciary Refer Amended to House Committee of the Whole (03/15/2018)
Introduced In House - Assigned to Judiciary (01/18/2018)

Return to Search Menu