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Mile High Morning: Justin Simmons, Nate Hairston pen Denver Post op-ed on child incarceration


The Lead

In support of a bill that will soon go before the Colorado legislature for discussion and a vote, Broncos defensive backs Justin Simmons and Nate Hairston added their voices to the conversation with an opinion article in The Denver Post outlining why they urge the state to prohibit arresting children 12 years old and younger in cases excluding homicide.

"House Bill 1131, commonly referred to as the 'Raise the Floor' Act, has bipartisan support and is backed by a coalition of medical experts, service providers, and other child advocates," Simmons and Hairston write. "It is based on research that shows that children and communities are better served when kids are presented with interventions outside the traditional justice system."

Simmons and Hairston note that the impact could be particularly beneficial for children of color, who comprise about 7 percent of Colorado's preteen population but 40 percent of its preteen arrests and face separation from their families and detention in juvenile centers.

"These traumatic — and overwhelmingly unnecessary — arrests have negative and long-lasting outcomes for the kids, their families, and their communities," Simmons and Hairston write. "And these arrests are totally unnecessary. We are talking about kids who are in the fourth grade."

Instead of having to go through judicial proceedings or incarceration, there are available options that are more helpful and less harmful for children, but they typically only become available once a child has been arrested.

"Let's ensure that all children are placed on a fair playing field and afforded chances to make mistakes and to learn and grow — and to also receive help, when needed, in a healthy and developmentally appropriate manner," Simmons and Hairston write. "Join us in calling on Colorado lawmakers to put children first and 'Raise the Floor' for juvenile prosecution."

Below the Fold

With the Super Bowl behind us, ESPN has already turned to the 2022 season with some early power rankings. The Broncos have room to grow at No. 21.

"The Broncos have hired their fifth different head coach in the past seven years, replaced their offensive coordinator for the fifth time since 2017 and have -- again -- announced a new day with new energy and new attention to detail, enthusiasm and football acumen," ESPN's Jeff Legwold wrote. "And by all accounts Nathaniel Hackett is ready for the job, works well with young players and the Broncos have a roster with plenty of youthful talent. But the quarterback position remains an enormous question mark[.]"

The Unclassifieds

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