After an individual is found guilty of a crime, a judge imposes a sentence which may include fees, fines, community service, probation, jail, community corrections, or prison. The prosecutor and defense attorney on the case provide recommendations to the judge, who decides on the ultimate sentence. This section presents information on sentencing by the most severe sentence imposed on the case.
Why is this important? It is important to ensure sentences minimize unnecessary punitiveness while appropriately addressing serious crime. In addition, we want to treat all individuals fairly and equitably.
While the ultimate sentence imposed is decided by the judge, in negotiating appropriate resolutions, the DA's office takes into consideration a number of things: community safety, victim safety, defendant's criminal history, amenability to rehabilitation, behavioral health and substance use issues, and more. Our goal is to reduce unnecessary punitiveness and custodial sentences when appropriate in consideration of community safety. We aim to prioritize community-based sentences and ensure individuals' future success.
Our goal is to reduce recidivism by connecting defendants with support that will keep them from repeating any criminal patterns.
Below are a set of indicators that provide additional context about sentencing. These indicators help the DA's Office ensure they are ensuring fairness in the type and severity of sentences imposed, reducing unnecessary pretrial detention, and avoiding unwarranted incarceration without compromising public safety.
The administration has prioritized decarceration. This is not readily visible in this indicator as it combines any jail sentence (with or without probation), community corrections, or prison. We will continue to monitor the types of cases being sentenced to any form of custody. We are examining which “other” offenses are receiving incarceration to avoid being overly punitive.
The DA's office does not always control who is eligible for community corrections as the program has its own screening process. However, when appropriate, our goal is to prioritize community corrections as an alternative to prison sentences. We aim to continue to reduce the use of prison sentences when not absolutely necessary to protect community safety.
We would like to see the deferred rate keep steady, even as felony numbers decrease.
Our goal is that likelihood of incarceration would not be different depending on a defendant's race or ethnicity. We hope to reduce the percentage of defendants who are black from being incarcerated compared to defendants who are white and will continue to monitor closely and consider what leverage points can help reduce harm caused by system drivers of disparities. The number of defendants identified as Black convicted of felonies is low in relation to the number of defendants who are identified as White. This sample size may impact percentages.
Click Here for more information about race and ethnicity data collection and limitations.
Our goal is that the likelihood of incarceration would not be different depending on a defendant's race or ethnicity. We hope to continue to reduce the percentage of defendants who are identified as Hispanic from being incarcerated compared to defendants who are white and will continue to monitor closely and consider what leverage points can help reduce harm caused by system drivers of disparities.
Public Defender Qualification: In Colorado, incarcerated defendants are automatically appointed a public defender for as long as they remain in custody. Out-of-custody defendants must apply and meet federal indigence requirements to qualify for a public defender. Therefore, there is the potential for public defenders to be representing individuals accused of more serious crimes.
Our goal is that defendants of different socioeconomic statuses are incarcerated at similar rates, no matter the type of attorney representing them.
Pretrial Detention Indicators
Below are a set of indicators that provide additional context about pretrial detention, incarceration in jail prior to case resolution. These indicators help the DA's Office ensure the reduction of unnecessary pretrial detention.
Reliable data does not exist currently and we are working on a solution as we believe this information is important.
- Underlying data counts for each chart can be accessed through this link.
- This data reflects only those cases where a sentence was ultimately imposed. Cases that resulted in diversion, an outright dismissal, or some other resolution, are not reflected here.
- This data represents initial sentences only, sometimes a case may have a subsequent sentence in cases because of a revocation of probation or due to a request to modify the sentence. Those subsequent sentences are not represented here.
- Warrants are excluded (for all cases identified as a warrant).