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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 EMBARC (Enhancing Motivation by Achieving Reshaped Cognition) pilot program (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy - CBT) , and Sex Offender Supervision and Treatment Programs (SOSTP).
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.
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 placed in community corrections as bed-space becomes available.
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, but not locked. 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.
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.
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. View their locations on this Community Corrections Facilities-Location Map .
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 and, to a degree, their progress in community corrections. The average offender spends between six (6) to seven (7) months living within the facility before progressing to non-residential status or parole. The average length of time that clients are in non-residential community corrections is between ten (10) and eleven (11) months.
Approximately 3600 people are in community corrections on a given day.