Grace Gonzalez Michael Campbell


This paper examines the state of Colorado’s failing criminal justice system, particularly as it pertains to mentally-ill detainees. For several years, mentally-ill detainees in Colorado have been forced to wait for unconstitutional amounts of time to receive court-ordered evaluations to determine mental competency before trial. The state’s continued failures to administer these evaluations in a timely manner have led to a series of complaints and lawsuits against the state; unfortunately, these lawsuits have ultimately done little to create lasting reform. The state has managed to temporarily mitigate the problem as complaints of unconstitutional wait times arise, but it has disregarded the broader failures in the criminal justice system and that outpatient, community-based programs may be more beneficial to mentally-ill detainees than a state forensic hospital.