Democrats reject bill to allow prisons to revoke inmates' earned time

Democrats have rejected a proposal to give Colorado prisons the power to revoke inmates' earned time, saying the measure raised safety concerns and discouraged good behavior.

A Senate committee rejected the bill on a 3-2 party-line vote Wednesday. The proposal sought to change current law, which says certain earned time cannot be revoked.

Republicans brought the bill as another response to last year's slaying of Department of Corrections Director Tom Clements. The suspect in that case, Evan Ebel, received 115 days of earned time during his nearly eight years in prison despite several citations for violent offenses.

"I saw it as a public safety issue to keep offenders in prison. If they break the rules or commit a crime of violence, they can lose all their earned time," said Sen. Bernie Herpin, R-Colorado Springs, a sponsor of the bill.

The measure easily cleared the House with bipartisan support on a 57-6 vote. But Senate Democrats were concerned the bill could incite gang fights to bait certain inmates to lose their earned time, and take away an incentive for inmates to behave.

The bill sought to let the Corrections Department revoke earned time "as it determines for any reason."

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