Basic services, 2022

  • Overall

    Mostly state operated

  • Detention

    State operated

  • Probation

    Locally operated

  • Reentry

    State operated

In Colorado, delinquency services are organized at both the state and local level.

Probation services are overseen by the Division of Probation Services within the Office of the State Court Administrator, and are administered by probation officers in  23 probation departments.

The Division of Youth Corrections (DYC), Colorado Department of Human Services (DHS), an executive agency at the state level, administers reentry services (often referred to as parole in Colorado), commitment to public state facilities, and secure detention services.

Purpose clauses, 2016

  • No clause

  • Parens patriae

  • Due process era

  • Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ)

  • Developmental Approach

Corrections agency, 2015

  • Independent juvenile corrections agency

  • Family/child welfare agency or division

  • Broad human services agency

  • Adult corrections agency or division

The Division of Youth Corrections (DYC), within the Colorado Department of Human Services (DHS), administers commitments to state juvenile correctional facilities and reentry services for those youth .

Intake and diversion, 2016

Initial intake and court diversion decision is at the discretion of the prosecutor or the juvenile court intake officer, divided by offense.

Statutory time limits for pre- & post-petition court diversions exist.

Solitary confinement, 2016

  • Prohibits punitive confinement

  • Limits punitive confinement

  • No limits on punitive confinement

  • Did not respond

Solitary confinement for punitive purposes is not allowed in Colorado's juvenile correctional facilities. Seclusion is allowed only for the amount of time necessary to accomplish its purposes. Seclusion can not exceed 2 hours unless required by individual's treatment plan.  (Adapted from 51 Jurisdiction Survey of Juvenile Solitary Confinement Rules in Juvenile Justice Systems, 2016. Lowenstein Center for the Public Interest at Lowenstein Sandler LLP)

Release decision, 2016

  • Agency

  • Court

  • Parole board

  • Agency and court

All youth adjudicated to the Department of Human Services Department of Youth Corrections (DYC) must go before the Juvenile Parole Board prior to release. Commitments to DHS may be mandatory (determinate) or non-mandatory (indeterminate). DYC uses a Multidisciplinary Team to review cases (both mandatory and non-mandatory) to determine when youth are eligible to go before the independent Juvenile Parole Board. The team solicits input from a variety of members and considers the results of the Colorado Juvenile Risk Assessment (CJRA) before recommending the youth go before the Parole Board. The Colorado Juvenile Parole Board is authorized to grant, deny, modify, suspend, or revoke, and specify conditions of parole for all juvenile delinquents adjudicated to the Department of Human Services. In some counties, the Community Review Board must approve juveniles' placement into residential programs as part of a “step-down” process, while still on commitment status. At the end of the community placement, youth will go before the Juvenile Parole Board. All youth are required to serve 6 months of parole unless they age out (21) prior to the completion of parole. Committing courts are required to be notified in writing of a youths release to the community.

Risk assessment, 2020

Organization 2013 2017 2020
Statewide uniform assessment
Layered/regional assessment
Locally administered assessment

In Colorado, juvenile probation is administered across judicial districts and overseen by the Division of Probation Services within the Office of the State Court Administrator. Division of Probation Services administrative policy requires the use of a risk/needs assessment in juvenile probation. Colorado uses the Colorado Juvenile Risk Assessment Pre-Screen and Full Assessment (CJRA) statewide and provides training on the CJRA for probation officers. Information from the CJRA is used to develop/inform pre-disposition investigation reports and/or planning, develop probation disposition recommendations to the juvenile court, assign probation supervision level, and develop probation case plans. The state is able to aggregate case level data and uses it to support local reliability and validity testing of the CJRA, assist with probation administration and organizational planning, and for ongoing policy research.

Sex offender registration, 2015


Risk instruments, 2017

  • Statute or agency policy

    Required by state or administrative regulation

  • Agency recommended

    Recommended by probation oversite agency

Risk instruments tool used
Colorado Juvenile Risk Assessment

Mental health screening, 2014

Requires a research-based mental health screening

  • Secure detention

  • Probation

  • Corrections

Other: Including county operated detention, and long term commitment facilities.

Mental health screening tool used
Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument –Version 2 (MAYSI-2)

Colorado encourages the use of a research-based mental health screening for any agency involved in juvenile justice. A statute (SB-0047) supports the implementation of mental health screening, and the state's plan names the Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument, 2nd Edition (MAYSI-2) as the instrument of choice. There is currently a committee that has been dedicated to the implementation of the MAYSI-2 in Colorado, however, this committee's work will end when the Justice Assistance Grant ends this year.

The MAYSI-2 is the state approved instrument and is named in the Division of Probation Services policies and the standard operating procedures for juvenile probation. The Juvenile Screening and Assessment Subcommittee of the Juvenile Justice Task Force of the Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice has released a reference guide for screening and assessment instruments used across the state. Because the state administers detention and corrections, the costs of implementing mental health screening are absorbed in existing resources. Probation departments fund and implement mental health screening through their own resources; this activity is not specifically funded by the state.

Frameworks for evidence-based practices, 2014

  • Statute

    Supporting commitment to EBPs

  • Administrative regulations

    Either in corrections, probation, or the juvenile court

  • Support center

    Or collaboration dedicated to coordinating activities around implementing, evaluating, and sustaining EBPs

  • No stance

    No official stance on EBPs

  • Did not respond

    State did not respond to the survey

Colorado supports the proliferation of evidence-based programs and practices (EBPs) in juvenile justice through an Evidence Based Programs and Practices committee as part of their State Advisory Board. This committee is actively involved in organizing evidence based practices across agencies.

Recently the Division of Criminal Justice funded a cross departmental grant creating a resource center, the Evidence-Based Practices Implementation for Capacity (EPIC) Resource Center to assist agencies serving juvenile and adult populations to develop, implement, and sustain evidence-based practices. Many funding streams require evidence-based programs and practices, though, specific programs are not named.

Recidivism reporting, 2016

Study populations

The group(s) of youth being studied in states that publicly report recidivism data.

  • Arrest

  • Court action

  • Supervision

  • Placement

Re-offense events

Events that are used to measure recidivism in states that publicly report recidivism data.

  • Arrest

  • Court action

  • Supervision

  • Placement

Follow-up periods

Details regarding the length of time and frequency that youth are tracked in states that publicly report recidivism data.

36 months with interval and adult systems reporting


Additional levels of analysis provided in states that publicly report recidivism data.

  • County

  • Age

  • Gender

  • Race/ethn.

  • Risk level

  • Initial offense

  • Re-offense

  • Prior history

Colorado publishes juvenile recidivism data in two reports. The Evaluation Unit of the Division of Probation Services reports recidivism for youth on probation (both during and after supervision). Recidivism for those who successfully terminated probation is defined as a filing in Colorado for a new criminal offense within 12 months following termination. Recidivism rates are also presented for youth who receive a technical violation or a new criminal charge while under supervision. The Colorado Department of Human Services Office of Children, Youth, and Family Services, Division of Youth Corrections (DYS) reports recidivism for youth exiting juvenile corrections. Recidivism is defined as a new adjudication or conviction resulting from a misdemeanor or felony offense. Recidivism rates are presented at 12 month intervals with a maximum follow up period of 36 months.

Data sources

Pre-release Termination and Post-Release Recidivism Rates of Colorado’s Probationers: FY2014 Releases
Kris Nash, Evaluation Unit Division of Probation Services, State Court Administrator’s Office, Colorado Judicial Branch
Recidivism Evaluation of the Colorado Division of Youth Corrections Regarding Youth Discharged in Fiscal Years 2011-12, 2012-13, and 2013-14
Colorado Office of Children, Youth and Families, Division of Youth Corrections

About this project

Juvenile Justice GPS (Geography, Policy, Practice, Statistics) is a project to develop a repository providing state policy makers and system stakeholders with a clear understanding of the juvenile justice landscape in the states.

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