By Shaun Boyd
DENVER (CBS4) – State Republicans and Democrats have come together to prevent the secret transfer of prisoners out of Colorado.
Parents in the Aurora theater shooting asked for the bill after the Department of Corrections transferred the shooter out of state and initially refused to say where he was, citing security concerns.
Tom Sullivan, who lost his son, Alex, in the shooting, testified in favor of the bill.
“We’ve all had as a parent. Kids run in… ‘I’m scared. I had a nightmare.’ And you have to be able to tell them the monster is not in closet. This would be the case there when you say, ‘This is where he is. He’s not getting out of where he is. Let’s go to sleep,” Sullivan said.
Rep. Leslie Herod, a Democrat from Denver, says it’s about victims’ rights.
“It’s not okay for Department of Corrections to be hiding inmates,” she said.
Herod and Rep. Cole Wist, a Republican from Centennial, sponsored a bill that – with few exceptions – would require the D.O.C. to notify victims of a transfer within 48 hours of it happening.
“If there’s a circumstance where there’s a safety risk, we have an opportunity case to be made. But the default position under this bill is going to be that we’re going to inform victims,” Wist said.
Sullivan, who came to testify on the bill, says the Aurora theater killer is no different than any other.
“You knew where Charles Manson was. You knew the Unabomber (Ted Kaczynksi) is. I mean you can even see their cells. You can’t tell me that this is a more notorious person than any of them,” he said.
The bill makes exceptions for victim notification in cases where the prisoner is a witness or law enforcement officer who’s safety could be at risk, or if the District Attorney asks that the location be kept secret.
The ACLU is pushing for exceptions for all prisoners who’s safety is at risk.
The bill came out of a House committee and is headed to the floor. It has already passed the Senate unanimously.