By Bob Gardner and Pete Lee
Colorado has made remarkable improvements to its juvenile justice system resulting in safer communities and fewer youth unnecessarily incarcerated. Due to bipartisan policy solutions, juvenile arrests declined 18 percent and filings to juvenile district court decreased 9 percent between 2012 and 2016; new commitments to the Division of Youth Services have decreased 22 percent since 2013.
Despite these accomplishments, the juvenile justice system still needs to do more to strengthen public safety and make sure youth stay crime-free. Though Colorado spends more than $130 million annually on the juvenile justice system, more than half of incarcerated youth discharged from state custody recidivate after two or three years, and more than a third of youth who complete probation have a new case filed within three years.