DENVER - Rep. Ellen Rob-erts' bill on young criminals has passed the Legislature and is on its way to the governor's desk.House Bill 1122 allows 18 and 19-year-olds to be sentenced to the Youthful Offender System in Pueblo, with approval of the judge and the center's warden. The bill passed the Senate 34-1 Monday.
The 256-bed youth prison has extra room. It is designed to offer a chance for young criminals to straighten out.
"Emphasis is placed on education, job training and reintegration into society after they serve their sentence at YOS. This is not just a feel-good measure," Roberts said.
The Legislature's analysts estimate 50 more young people will be eligible to serve time at YOS because of the bill. Young people convicted of most sex crimes and Class 1 or Class 2 felonies would not be eligible.
Sentences range from two to seven years. YOS graduates commit new crimes at half the rate as people paroled from traditional prisons, Roberts said.
"In terms of long-term economics and benefit to society, the Youthful Offender System has proved itself," Roberts said.
Colorado Springs Democrat John Morse was the Senate sponsor.