A recent article in Boulder's Daily Camera (linked below) indicates that the 20th Judicial District Attorney's Office is charging roughly 50 individuals with felony sex assault on a child each year. Is that number too high?
First off, individuals who violate children, regardless of their motives, are truly disturbed. These folks need to be identified and placed into some sort of treatment program so that they can never harm a child again. Yet, how do we identify them? And, how do we protect innocent people against unduly harsh penalties?
Sex assault on a child is a serious offense. Individuals sentenced for this crime face "indeterminate sentences." This means that they could spend anywhere from a few years to life in prison, with no guarantee of ever being released. Although individuals can take classes within the department of corrections to become eligible for release, these classes have long waitlists. Many inmates are competing to be enrolled in these programs which are understaffed and under funded. Offenders are also subjected to lifetime supervision and sex offender registration upon release. These punishments should make district attorney's offices think very carefully before moving forward on charges of sex assault on a child.
Boulder county is economically advantaged, yet, it's not that densely populated. Denver and it's surrounding counties (Jefferson, Arapahoe, and Adams counties) all have populations of about 500,000 people. Boulder county only has a population of about 300,000. Yet, Boulder's office has more resources to allocate towards sex assault on a child investigations. I wonder how Boulder's charging numbers compare to other more densely populated counties in the metro Denver area. Is Boulder making a wise use of its resources? Or, is Boulder overcharging these cases?