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The status quo is harming Colorado kids ages 10 to 12. Over the years, normal childlike behavior and mistakes have been increasingly criminalized. Issues traditionally addressed at home by parents and trusted adults in the community will now get kids a ticket, arrest, and sometimes even detention through the justice system. These experiences are not only ineffective and costly, they are traumatizing to kids and increase the likelihood that they will come into contact with the criminal justice system again.

It's time to raise the floor on the minimum age of prosecution. It's time to pass HB22-1131.

HB22-1131 ensures that Colorado kids ages 12 and younger are supported with age-appropriate behavior management and evidence-based interventions instead of getting funneled through the juvenile justice system for normal, childlike behaviors and mistakes. We know from state data that the vast majority of young children in Colorado accused of an offense are either exhibiting normal childlike behavior, or minor misbehaviors that do not require justice involvement. Yet, justice involvement has become the default, especially for kids of color. This bill would end wasteful spending on needless, overly harmful prosecutions.