Last week we discussed how Colorado's sex offender laws may be too harsh for certain crimes. This week, we will be discussing the state's Lifetime Supervision Act and how it impacts individuals convicted of sex crimes in Colorado.

The Lifetime Supervision Act was passed in 1998 and it changed how sex offenders were punished in Colorado. The law was designed to send some offenders to prison and others on probation, but all offenders were required to have therapy that was supposed to help them transition back into society after their sentence.

Despite the law's best intentions, it has not worked out as well as the state imagined. The mandated treatment program that all offenders are required to have has been very expensive and there are too many offenders in the treatment program. In addition to not being able to keep up with the number of offenders in the treatment program, the law also created the Sex Offender Treatment and Monitoring Program, which was later found to be based on outdated research and the therapists were not qualified to run the program.

Reports have found that there are hundreds of convicted sex offenders in Colorado prisons still waiting to receive their mandated treatment. Advocates that want the state's Sex Offender Treatment and Monitoring Program reformed say that the state will need to put more money into the program to help all of the offenders receive the treatment required to complete their prison sentences as well as probation. Advocates also believe that state lawmakers may need to revise how sex offenders are treated under the law to make sure they don't continue to have a backlog of offenders waiting to complete their sentencing requirements.

Supporters of the treatment program say that they know it is not perfect, but the system is there for a reason and that it is better to continue using the current treatment program instead of nothing at all.

Either way, convicted sex offenders will have to wait to see if the Colorado lawmakers make any effort to change the current program. However, if no changes are made to the mandated treatment program, many offenders may end up in prison much longer than originally expected.

Source: Gazette, "No easy solution to fix system for sex offenders," Ryan Maye Handy, April 15, 2013