Office of Community Corrections Frequently Asked Questions
Community corrections provides a sentencing or placement alternative, in lieu of prison incarceration, for felony
offenders. Participating in a community corrections program requires the offender to change his or her behavior,
while allowing some restricted privileges to access the community. Community corrections combines residential
supervision and treatment for offenders that are ineligible for probation supervision or for those that have spent
time in prison and are awaiting parole placement by the State Parole Board.
Community corrections programs require offenders to gain employment as part of the program. This is important
so that they can participate in conventional society while also paying taxes, restitution, child support, treatment
costs, and other financial responsibilities. Offenders must also attend educational classes and treatment according
to their individualized treatment needs. Offenders earn privileges for spending more time in the community,
besides time spent at their job, once they have demonstrated that they can follow program rules and have
progressed through the various levels of supervision.
Offenders benefit from participating in a community corrections program by receiving treatment, education, and
assistance with finding employment. Community corrections is a privilege to offenders that could otherwise be
in prison. They must maintain that privilege by continuing to demonstrate that they can be safely and effectively
managed in a community-based setting. Eventually, they must demonstrate that they can be a productive member
of society with even less supervision.
What are the benefits to the community?
The community benefits because offenders are held accountable for their crimes, while receiving treatment and
education, which improves the life of the offender and protects public safety. The community participates in the
planning and monitoring of the programs in their area. Nationally, and in Colorado, prison populations grew to
unprecedented levels in the last decade. This trend has led to substantially increased burdens on taxpayers to
support the high costs of prison incarceration. Further, contemporary research has produced information that
prison incarceration, in and of itself, has little impact on long-term behavior change for offenders. The benefit
to the community is a more economically sustainable strategy to carefully and closely supervise offenders while
also facilitating long-term behavior change through community-based treatment and education. Community
corrections provides a cost-effective sentencing option for appropriately situated offenders.
There are 33 residential programs throughout the state of Colorado. For a map showing the location of the various facilities, please use this link: Community Corrections Facilites-Location Map .
Cases are referred for community corrections placement either by the State District Courts, or by the Colorado
Department of Corrections (DOC). Court placements are known as Diversion cases, whereas DOC placements
are known as Transition cases. Once a referral is made, the cases are screened by a local community corrections
board which consists of several members of the local community. Board members are average citizens with
varying professional backgrounds including law enforcement officers, probation officers, parole officers, judges,
attorneys, treatment providers, elected officials, or even non-criminal justice professions such as teachers and
business owners. If the community corrections board accepts an offender for placement, the case is referred to
a specific facility which also then screens the case for acceptance. If both the board and the provider accept the
referral, the offender is eventually placed in community corrections.
There are different kinds of halfway houses but generally, many people use that term to refer to community
corrections. Some people like to consider community corrections offenders as halfway in prison or halfway out
of prison. Some halfway houses, however, are not considered community corrections programs that are funded
by the State of Colorado. Some people use the term halfway house to refer to a facility where citizens can attend
residential or daytime treatment for problems with drugs or alcohol.
Most community corrections offenders in the last several years were serving sentences for non-violent, mid-level
felony offenses. The most common type of offenses committed by both Diversion and Transition offenders are
related to controlled substances, burglary, and theft. Offenders convicted of violent crimes, or those with violent
criminal histories are also carefully screened for placement by boards and programs.
The time required in a facility varies based on the sentence that the offender receives from the court or their
impending date of parole release. The average offender spends between six (6) to seven (7) months living within
the facility before progressing to non-residential status or parole.
Probationers and parolees live at home rather than in a correctional facility and must check in periodically with their supervising officer. People who are on parole from prison and people who are on probation are both eligible to be in community corrections. Offenders in community corrections reside in the program and are supervised around the clock by teams of security and case management staff in the facility. When signed out to the community for work, treatment, or privilege passes, their whereabouts are randomly verified by staff and they are subject to strict curfews to return to the facility. These facilities are staff secured and not locked down. Community corrections programs can also be used for parolees and probationers who are at risk of failure on probation or parole and who need assistance in the areas of housing, treatment and employment.
In Colorado, community corrections programs consist of various types of providers. Community corrections in
Colorado is a system of public providers, non-profit providers, and private organizations. The Colorado model
was founded on the principle of local control which involves collaboration between the state and local levels of
government with a pluralistic system of providers.
People in community corrections receive many types of services. They receive treatment services, job services,
education, and counseling and are provided meals and housing.
By state law, the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) is required to develop and enforce professional
standards for the management and operation of community corrections facilities. Providers are required to
comply with the state standards and are subject to periodic audit by DCJ audit staff. Further, community
corrections boards are also required to monitor and enforce state and local standards for community corrections
facilities. Board staff also perform periodic audits of community corrections programs. Providers of specialized
programs are licensed to provide residential treatment to offenders. Their status as licensed treatment programs
also requires them to comply with standards of the Colorado Division of Behavioral Health. Programs that accept
sex offenders are also required to comply with the Standards and Guidelines for the Supervision, Treatment, and
Monitoring of Sex Offenders by the Colorado Sex Offender Management Board.
All providers of community corrections perform similar levels of core supervision and treatment practices
according to the state standards. In addition to the core standards, some providers have specific programs targeted
toward the supervision and treatment of specialized offenders who have various levels of substance use disorders,
mental health disorders, and for sex offenders. These specialty programs are known as Intensive Residential
Treatment (IRT) programs, Residential Dual Diagnosis Treatment (RDDT) programs, Therapeutic Community
(TC) programs, the John Eachon ReEntry Program (JERP), and Sex Offender Supervision and Treatment
There are many different types of service levels for community corrections, with varying costs. It is generally
significantly less money to house someone in community corrections as compared to prison.
The state funds community corrections programs with money from the state General Fund. Offenders also pay
daily toward their own costs of supervision and treatment. Some specialized programs receive federal grant
funding to provide more intensive residential treatment and supervision for higher needs offenders.
People in community corrections are required to pay their bills, and are given guidance in regards to their finances
from the community corrections program.
There are approximately 4000 people in community corrections on a given day.
Community Corrections Programs are not allowed to release client information to the public. It is up to the community corrections client to let you know where he or she is living.
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