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Color Of Change: Colorado Ending Cash Bail Is a Victory for Communities of Color

For Immediate Release: April 25, 2019

Contact: Ollie Jones, oliver.jones@berlinrosen.com. 646.746.4325

Color Of Change applauds the unanimous passage of “No Monetary Bail For Certain Low-level Offenses,” cautions Colorado leaders against pursuing harmful alternatives to money bail

Governor Jared Polis today signed HB 19-1225 No Monetary Bail For Certain Low-level Offenses into law, eliminating cash bail for petty acts such as shoplifting and littering. This moment comes as the Colorado legislature continues to consider criminal justice reforms including HB 19-1226. Color Of Change issued the following statement celebrating the elimination of cash bail for petty offenses, while calling on legislators to take caution as they proceed with additional reforms.

Scott Roberts, Criminal Justice Senior Campaign Director:

“Eliminating cash bail for petty offenses is a win for communities of color and a key step toward achieving social justice for all in Colorado. As Black people make up only 10 percent of the state’s population but 30 percent of the incarcerated population, this law helps fix a criminal justice system steeped in racism.

This legislation will also save the lives of people like Michael Marshall, whose life was cut short after his inability to purchase freedom forced him to remain imprisoned for a minor infraction as he awaited trial.

This important progress is the result of grassroots activism on the part of Black communities and organizations like the Colorado Freedom Fund. We applaud their efforts along with Rep. Leslie Herod, Sen. Pete Lee, and Gov. Jared Polis for championing this necessary legislation.

While this law is a step forward, we cannot follow its passage with any steps backward. Legislators are now considering HB 19-1226, which includes the use of risk assessment, a harmful alternative to cash bail. HB 19-1226 would be a major step in the wrong direction and we caution Colorado leaders against supporting the measure. Color Of Change and the thousands of members who signed our petition in support of this legislation will keep advocating for justice.”

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