A New Vision For Public Safety

Over the past 35 years, the Colorado prison population has exploded and the state now spends over $1 billion every year to incarcerate adults and juveniles.  But neighborhoods that experience higher rates of crime and criminal justice involvement have seen little or no improvement.  By many metrics, the overuse of the criminal justice system brings its own set of negative consequences by damaging families separated by incarceration, straining police and community relations, undermining the legitimacy of the criminal justice system due to racial disparity, underserving crime victims, and making it harder for people with a criminal record to find employment and housing to support their families.  It’s time to try what’s known to actually prevent crime—community and economic development.

Learn more about the Transforming Safety project, a community development approach to public safety in the pilot communities of North Aurora and Southeast Colorado Springs.

Colorado International Activism Film Fest

How did this start?

In 2017, the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition worked with community members and a bi-partisan group of state legislators to try something different. We wanted a new approach to public safety that invests in strategies that strengthen communities as a way to prevent crime in the first place. This new vision became House Bill 17-1326, the Justice Reinvestment Crime Prevention bill, that passed with bi-partisan support. The bill reinvests $4 million a year in savings from parole reforms to create a three-year pilot in N Aurora and SE Colorado Springs to fund small business lending and a community grant program. This project will be evaluated by an independent third party.

The program was originally slated to sunset in 2020, but in 2019, the Legislature passed a three-year extension (Senate Bill 19-064) that earned Gov. Jared Polis’ signature on May 14, 2019. The Legislature will conduct a sunset review in 2023.

HB17-1326 Legislative Sponsors

Prime Sponsors

Rep Pete Lee

Rep. Pete Lee (D–Colo Springs)
Chair, House Judiciary Cmte

Sen Bob Gardner

Sen. Bob Gardner  (R–Colo Springs)
Chair, Senate Judiciary Cmte

Sen. Daniel Kagan

Sen. Daniel Kagan (D–Aurora/Arapahoe)
Senate Judiciary Cmte


Rep Tony Exum

Rep. Tony Exum (D–Colo Springs)
House Education Cmte

Rep. Jovan Melton

Rep. Jovan Melton (D–Aurora)
House Judiciary Cmte

Sen. Mike Merrifield

Sen. Mike Merrifield (D–Colo Springs)
Senate Education Cmte

Sen. Kevin Priola

Sen. Kevin Priola (R–Aurora/Arapahoe)
Vice Chair, Senate Education Cmte

Colorado House Bill 17-1326 was signed into law on June 6, 2017. The Transforming Safety project is working to implement this new safety vision.

HB17-1326 Group Photo

CCJRC wants to deeply thank all of the community members who were involved in the passage of HB17-1326 including:

Gwen Bonilla, Sonya Chavez, Bishop Jerry Demmer, Charletta Evans, Rev Tammy Garrett, Hassan Latif, Mina Liebert, Richard Morales, Jeannie Orozco, Anthony Perez, Roger Przybilski, Pastor Chris Russell, Pastor Taj Stokes, Wendy Talley, Jariah Walker, and Alexandra Wise.

Investing in Safer Communities Infographic

Investing in Safer Communities Infographic

Download the PDF

Initiative Administration

Colorado Dept of Local Affairs Logo

The Colorado Department of Local Affairs is responsible for administering this initiative [PDF].  Through a competitive process, DOLA selected The Denver Foundation to manage the grant program. DOLA also selected DreamSpring (formerly Accion) and Community Enterprise Development Services to manage the small business loan program.

Audrey Field
CCPI Program Administrator

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