Colorado has some of the toughest sex offender laws in the nation but they have started to face more scrutiny after several lawsuits claim that the state's laws violate sex offenders' civil rights. The lawsuits claim that the state's laws violate a person's right to free speech and association by prohibiting minor offenders from contacting family members.

The lawsuits argue that probation officers and other law enforcement agencies are violating convicted sex offenders' rights by restricting their freedom, including restrictions of meeting with family members, what reading materials they can have as well as their thought processes.

Colorado sex offenders have to follow the guidelines and restrictions enforced by the state's Sex Offender Management Board. Many opponents of the strict measures imposed on sex offenders say that it is not fair to treat all sex offenders the same. Instead, punishment should be determined by how minor or severe the offense was.

Opponents of the state's strict sex offender laws say that someone convicted of a minor offense, such as indecent exposure, should not be listed in the same category as violent predators. A new report found that there were inconsistencies in the way state prisons treated sex offenders and that they used certain tactics in their treatment programs to keep sex offenders in prison longer than they needed to be.

The lawsuits filed against the state's Sex Offender Management Board contends that they have a "one size fits all" approach to sex offenders in the state and that parole and probation officers treat all sex offenders the same instead of considering the level of the person's offense to determine the level of punishment he or she should receive.

Source: Denver Westword, "Civil rights lawsuits attack excesses of Colorado's sex offender laws," Alan Prendergast, March 25, 2013