After a person is convicted of a felony offense in Denver, Adams, or Douglas County, the judge has many choices at sentencing for placement and probation of the person who has been convicted. After someone is found guilty of, or pleads guilty to an offense such as Sexual Assault – C.R.S. 18-3-402, or Incest – C.R.S. 18-6-302, a judge can decide where that person should go – whether it be prison, county jail, or Community Corrections.
What is Community Corrections in Denver, Jefferson and Arapahoe County?
Many counties (but not all) in Colorado offer a locally managed Community Corrections program for felons. Admittance to this corrections program is controlled by the local board. This board is composed of representatives from treatment professionals, members of the community, probation officers, district attorneys, the police, and a defense bar member. The focus of Community Corrections is to provide an inmate with the tools to reintegrate back into society: a less-restrictive setting, better connection to treatment programs, training, and help finding a job.
The Focus of the Community Corrections Board is Public Safety
Each member of the board is especially focused on community safety, mainly because they don’t want bad press. If a felon reoffends while under their care, they don’t want their agency to draw a negative response from the public. In order to best preserve public safety, a District Court judge in Larimer, Denver or Arapahoe County court will have a defendant “screened” for community corrections. This is essentially a pre-sentence acceptance into the CC program. If someone is sent to community corrections at sentencing, it is called a “direct sentence.”
Community Corrections is Cost-Effective
If the local program allows it, the Colorado Department of Corrections (DOC) also has the option to house their inmates at a facility operated by Community Corrections. Before this happens, the local board assesses any risk to the community, where the offense took place, and whether funding is available. DOC often houses inmates in the CC facility if they are less risky to the public. Often, this is done as a way to save funds: It costs DOC roughly $32,000 to house an inmate in prison, while it is only $16,000 to house an inmate in Community Corrections. Once an inmate is allowed to move into their own apartment, the cost decreases even more.
Who Can Be Housed in Community Corrections?
Usually, DOC houses inmates in CC who pose less risk to society. This means the sex offenders are usually the last to be transitioned, while drug offenders are the first to move into Community Corrections.
A Criminal Defense Attorney’s Perspective on Community Corrections vs. Department of Corrections
Community Corrections provides a much better program for rehabilitating an inmate, and reintegrating back into society. CC stresses improvement, while DOC is focused more on containment and public safety – above everything else. We argue that Community Corrections is often the best option. While public safety is paramount, sex offenders have a very low recidivism rate, and when combined with the economic reality that we face in today’s world, it is time we reevaluate our definition of safety. Our goal should be to rehabilitate and reintegrate offenders back into society, not simply lock them up.
Our criminal defense attorneys understand the importance of rehabilitation and reintegration. We work hard to integrate a sentence to Community Corrections into a judge and district attorney’s considerations at sentencing. Often, it is the last resort before prison. Don’t stand alone in court – put our experience to work for you to avoid a sentence to the Colorado Department of Corrections.
If you are contacted by the police, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the O’Malley Law Office at 303-830-0880, or submit the “Get Help Now” form. Together, we can protect your future.