The Colorado Lifetime Supervision Act was enacted which requires a lifetime supervision (probation and/or prison) sentence for most class 2-5 felony sex offenses. In addition, the Lifetime Supervision Act creates the legal authority for judges to order persons convicted of certain sex offenses lifetime sentences to the Department of Corrections (prison). A lasting effect of the passage of the Colorado Lifetime Supervision Act is that persons convicted of a qualifying sex offense must serve their minimum sentence in prison as well as participate in treatment prior to being considered for parole. Often times persons convicted of certain sex offenses can spend up to the rest of their natural lives in prison.
Indeterminate sentencing is a term that means certain sex offenses have a minimum range in jail or prison but no release date. A determinate sentence is when there is both a minimum period the person can spend in jail as well as a maximum period that a person can spend in jail. The judge can also place this person on probation or parole and require conditions of both the probation/parole. When judges send sex offenders to prison it is often highly unlikely that the sex offender / defendant will serve the minimum term they are sentenced too. Often defendants / sex offenders have to complete at least portions of their sex offender treatment in prison before they are released and the wait lists to get into treatment are very long. The sex offender treatment can be very lengthy as well. The sex offender treatment is overseen by the Sex Offender Management Board.
Lifetime Supervision of Sex Offenders refers to persons convicted of certain sex offenses being supervised while on probation, parole or while serving a sentence in prison. The law makers have made findings that the majority of sex offenders will present a danger to the public if not either incarcerated or being supervised. Further, the law makers have determined that some sex offenders do respond well to treatment and supervision. 18-1.3-1001 C.R.S. states as follows:
“The general assembly (law makers) hereby finds that the majority of persons who commit sex offenses, if incarcerated or supervised without treatment, will continue to present a danger to the public when released from incarceration and supervision. The general assembly also finds that keeping all sex offenders in lifetime incarceration imposes an unacceptably high cost in both state dollars and loss of human potential. The general assembly further finds that some sex offenders respond well to treatment and can function as safe, responsible, and contributing members of society, so long as they receive treatment and supervision. The general assembly therefore declares that a program under which sex offenders may receive treatment and supervision for the rest of their lives, if necessary, is necessary for the safety, health, and welfare of the state.”
The Colorado Lifetime Supervision Act mandates that persons convicted of specific sex offenses and sentenced to prison serve their minimum sentence in DOC and successfully participate in treatment before being considered for parole.
Determining the potential penalties for charged offenses is often a very complex task. Persons convicted of the following offenses must (i.e. the court has to sentence the defendant/sex offender) be sentenced to an indeterminate term of prison per section 18-1.3-1004 (offenses committed on or after November 1, 1998):
1. Sexual assault, section 18-3-402
2. Sexual assault in the first degree, section 18-3-402, as it existed prior to July 1, 2000
3. Sexual assault in the second degree, section 18-3-403, as it existed prior to July 1, 2000
4. Felony unlawful sexual contact, section 18-3-404(2)
5. Felony sexual assault in the third degree, section 18-3-404(2) as it existed prior to July 1, 2000
6. Sexual assault on a child, section 18-3-405
7. Sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust, section 18-3-405.3
8. Aggravated sexual assault on a client by a psychotherapist, section 18-3-405.5(1)
9. Enticement of a child, section 18-3-305
10. Incest, section 18-6-301
11. Aggravated incest, section 18-6-302
12. Patronizing a prostituted child, section 18-7-406
13. Class 4 felony internet luring of a child, section 18-3-306(3)
14. Internet sexual exploitation of a child, section 18-3-405.4
15. Attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of these offenses if such attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation would constitute a class 2, 3 or 4 felony.