Low-level and non-violent criminals will be held in jail less often, after Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill into law Thursday.
The law creates new statewide standards that guide judges to hold suspected criminals only when there is a chance they will hurt someone, they are a flight risk, or they may obstruct justice.
The bill aims to help people who cannot make bail set as low as $100, and people accused of crimes that don’t require jail time as a punishment.
“We’re talking about people who are on a $100 bond, a $500 bond, for low-level offenses, and can’t get out because they can’t afford to pay,” Rep. Leslie Herod, a Democrat who represents Denver, said. “What we’re saying here today, in Colorado, is that poverty itself is not a crime, and that you cannot be denied your liberty before your trial simply because you can’t pay.”
The bill is also expected to create some relief for overcrowding at county jails, where the majority of inmates are pre-trial cases.