A recent study identified that the number of drug felonies in Colorado has doubled since 2012, although the fifth judicial district was an exception. Felony drug filings have increased significantly across Colorado in the last six years, an increase that has disproportionately affected females and contributed to the rising prison budget for the state.
The research report was released by the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition and found that the drug sentencing reforms within the state that were designed to keep addicts out of prison have not met their expectations. There were tremendous disparities in drug crime trends across the state. Certain judicial increases have seen filing jumps higher than 200%, however, Eagle Counties district only experienced a 1% increase.
Approximately three-quarters of the filings for drug felonies in Colorado during the last year were for sharing or possession, although only 14% came in with distribution charges. Those cases contributed to an overall increase of 12% in the prison population in Colorado in just one year and nearly a 30% increase in the number of female prisoners.
In 2013, the state legislature initially passed a bill that prioritized prison for high level dealers and promoted treatment for users. The overhaul of drug sentencing laws was designed to keep addicts out of prison, however, the research report shows that this likely didn’t work. If you or someone you know has already been accused of a drug crime in Colorado, you need to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately to outline a plan to protect yourself.