Legislative session is picking up speed and the first hearing on one of our priority bills is Monday in the House Judiciary Committee. There is an opportunity for you to weigh in on a bill designed to help ensure every child grows up in a safe and supportive community.
First let me give you some more information. Currently, law enforcement may use deception during interrogation of youth. As you would imagine, children are more susceptible to manipulation and more likely to provide inaccurate information and false confessions under such pressure. In the last twenty-five years, youth who were exonerated after being convicted of crimes, 38% gave false confessions.
- Increase funding for interrogation training for law enforcement, and
- Improve the general reliability of confessions by requiring all juvenile interrogations to be recorded, and
- If law enforcement does use deceptive tactics during custodial, interrogation, the judge may discern whether the resulting confession was voluntary and therefore reliable and admissible in trial.
In Colorado, children of color are one and a half to three times more likely to be arrested and interrogated than their white counterparts (CO Dept. of Public Safety, 2020). As a result, children of color are more often harmed by false confessions, directly contributing to the racial disparity in the criminal justice system.
Contact members of the House Judiciary Committee and ask them to vote yes on HB23-1042 to help ensure that law enforcement officers receive training for interrogation of youth and prioritize securing confessions that are voluntary and reliable. This will help build trust in the system and safety for the community.