There are a lot of things about Governor John Hickenlooper's (D. CO) budget for next year:


The governor detailed a $24 billion budget — one that he called “equal parts of optimism and prudence” — during a presentation to a state legislative committee on Nov. 7.

As presented, the 2014-2015 budget includes increases in total funds and reserves compared to this year, an accomplishment that Hickenlooper attributes to a state economy that has now seen four consecutive years of growth since emerging from a recession.

The proposed budget would cap higher education tuition growth at 6 percent. That would halt a five-year trend that has seen an average tuition rate grow 10 percent, according to Henry Sobanet, the governor's budget director.

The governor also proposes adding more than $40 million for college financial aid, which he called a “historic increase” for higher education funding.

The budget also proposes a $223 per-pupil increase for K-12 students next year. However, the governor acknowledged that the increase falls short of complying with Amendment 23 — the 2000 measure that reversed a trend where education funding was falling behind the rate of inflation.

The governor's budget does not include education dollars that would have come had Amendment 66 past last week. The tax hike for education funding measure was soundly defeated on Nov. 5.

Hickenlooper also seeks to revamp the Division of Motor Vehicles, though increased staffing and updated computer systems, which are a part of “long-overdue steps to modernize DMV.” The governor said that the increased funding would significantly reduce wait times for customers who seek services from the often-lampooned state division.

Various health care departments, including Human Services and Public Health and Environment, will see a combined $618 million increase through next year's proposed budget. And developmentally disabled persons are expected to experience shorter waiting lists for services that include assisted housing, through an additional $22 million in proposed funding. - Our Colorado News, 11/11/13

But here's the part of Hickenlooper's budget I really like:


Gov. John Hickenlooper wants to increase spending on parole operations by 25 percent in the next fiscal year — a move that could lead to more parole officers, an overhaul of re-entry services and more treatment for parolees.

The governor's proposed state budget would increase parole spending by $10 million to bring the total amount spent up to $49.4 million.

In budget documents, officials with the Colorado Department of Corrections said they still are forming a plan to spend the proposed funding.

"Division resources, structure, and operations, in some instances, are not properly positioned to manage the significant risk inherent with the parole population," department officials state in the documents.

They add: "Current facility/re-entry preparation is inadequate to ameliorate offenders sufficiently to meet the demands of parole." - Denver Post, 11/11/13

Here are the details:


The proposed $10 million increase follows a series of articles in The Denver Post that found Colorado parolees have committed new crimes, used drugs and disappeared for months without getting sent back to prison. The newspaper uncovered 29 murder cases since 2002 in which parolees violated conditions of their release or committed a crime and were allowed to remain free.

Potential changes proposed in the documents include hiring new parole officers, overhauling officer training, developing case plans that follow offenders from prison entry to discharge from parole, reforming pre-release and re-entry programming, helping homeless parolees, bolstering treatment programs and buying new electronic-monitoring equipment.

One proposal that will get serious consideration, according to the documents, would be to make state money available for "additional treatment and support services" for parolees. Often, parolees are responsible for treatment costs of $40 per session even when they can't come up with the money, the documents state.

Such services can include sessions for substance abuse, mental health and sex-offender treatment.

A workload study currently underway by the National Center for State Courts to assess whether Colorado's parole officers are overworked will help shape any changes, officials said.

The proposals will closely follow recommendations from audits released in August by the National Institute of Corrections, an agency of the U.S. Justice Department. Those audits urged Colorado to develop new protocols and training for electronic monitoring of parolees, increase community services for parolees and do a better job of determining their weaknesses.

Hickenlooper also is proposing to continue funding, at a cost of $1 million annually, for a new fugitive unit to round up parolees who have absconded. The unit is comprised of nine parole officers and a supervisor. - Brush News Tribune, 11/11/13

I have always been a big supporter of not only prison reform but also helping prisoners get back on their feet and becoming productive members of society.  I'm liking what Hickenlooper is proposing here.  If you would like more information, please do contact Hickenlooper's office:


And if you would like to donate or get involved with his 2014 campaign, you can do so here:

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper at a perss event opening Invesco Field for the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Originally posted to pdc on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 05:00 PM PST.

Also republished by Colorado COmmunity and The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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