Indeterminate Sentencing in Colorado provides for the potential lifetime sentence to the Colorado Department of Corrections for anyone convicted of a sex crime in Denver County, Douglas County, and Jefferson County. The government sometimes wants an absolute assurance that a sex offender can never repeat a sexual offense, so they provide the possibility that a sex offender can be given a prison sentence that lasts the rest of the offender's life under Colorado's harsh Indeterminate Sentencing laws. If this sentence is given, the court will only impose a minimum sentence length, and leave the maximum up to the Colorado Parole Board.
What is Indeterminate Sentencing in Sex Cases in Colorado?
Indeterminate sentencing is only used for sex crime convictions. In many cases, defendants spend much more than the minimum required time in prison as they wait for treatment. There are not enough treatment providers in the Department of Corrections, which means a person could wait a long time before even starting the required treatment.
Indeterminate Sentencing in Adams and Arapahoe County areas refers to sentences that have only a minimum prison time without a maximum prison time limit. Indeterminate sentencing in Adams County is only used for sex crime convictions. In all other types of criminal convictions, a Colorado judge will give the defendant a certain prison term, and, after a portion of that time is served, the individual is eligible for parole. In sex offense convictions, the Colorado courts might give the defendant a sentence of four years to life, but realistically, the person will probably serve more than the four-year minimum before given any consideration for parole. There is no guarantee that the parole board will ever release a sex offender. A sex offender must also complete part of the Colorado Sex Offender Management Board (SOMB) treatment while they are in prison. Many times, due to limited treatment resources in DOC, the treatment program is already being used by the maximum number of inmates. Sex offenders in prison often say that the time before they are eligible for parole is longer because there are no spaces available in the SOMB classes and they have to wait a long time to even start the required treatment.
Rehabilitation and Treatment Necessary for Release
In Colorado, the government thinks that convicted sex offenders are unable to be “cured” or rehabilitated and are very likely to commit another sex crime. No parole board official wants to have had any involvement with a sex offender who commits another sex crime after their release. They see indeterminate sentencing as a helpful solution because it keeps sex offenders in prison and guarantees that they cannot do anything else to harm the community. No potential for reoffending means no political risk to a Parole Board member for releasing a repeat sex offender.
If you've been accused of a sex crime, contact a lawyer immediately. Your future is at stake.
Indeterminate Probation in Colorado
Indeterminate sentencing is also applied to probation sentences of sex offenders in Colorado. The minimum times may vary, but again the maximum time is undecided, and just because a defendant serves the minimum time for probation does not mean that they are free from continued supervision. It is up to the Colorado courts to decide whether or not to let the defendant go after extensive probation terms. In most sex cases, there is a ten-year to lifetime probation sentence imposed for felonies.