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The Office of Community Corrections is embarking on a long-term endeavor to advance Colorado Community Corrections. This strategic effort centers around two primary strategies:
These two strategies complement our existing work in funding, regulation, and technical assistance to boards and providers in Colorado Community Corrections.
Please read this detailed letter from OCC Director Glenn Tapia explaining in detail the strategic direction and changes to the Standards.
The 2017 Colorado Community Corrections Standards were approved [on this date] by the Governor's Advisory Council. If you are a Community Corrections provider, we recommend that you commence proactive and immediate work in 2017 to adhere to the updated Operations Standards in preparation for future audits. Starting in 2018, OCC will focus on audits of the Operations Standards.
Additionally, OCC is working to establish a baseline measurement of the PACE evaluation tool and several aspects of the Behavior Change Standards. Providers are advised to use the PACE baseline process to develop both short-term and long-term strategic plans in order to demonstrate gradual and increasing adherence to the Behavior Change Standards. OCC plans to measure, track and report incremental increases in adherence to these Standards throughout the next decade.
We encourage the leadership of community corrections providers to apply focused, intentional, assertive, and authentic initiative in order to align practices with the goals and expectations set forth in the Standards. The work ahead for all of us is as meaningful as it is challenging. The OCC commits to offering collaborative technical assistance to providers, through the PACE evaluation and audit processes, as part of a larger cycle of continuous quality improvement.
On March 30, 2017, Governor Hickenlooper signed into law House Bill 17-1147. This Act establishes that the purpose of Colorado Community Corrections is, in part, “to further all purposes of sentencing and improve public safety by reducing the incidence of future crime through design and implementation of research-based policies, practices, programs, and standards” [emphasis added]. The Governor’s Community Corrections Advisory Council has chosen to adopt research-informed methods to crime control and community safety. Thus, updates to the Standards are guided by the data that OCC has tracked over the past 15 years.
Through its collection and analysis of 15 years of longitudinal data, OCC has documented increasing levels of risk, need, mental illness and criminal histories of our client population. As our population has grown to be more challenging and more complex, short-term and long-term outcomes have reflected this change. This is very consistent with well-researched relationships between risks, needs, and outcomes of our client population. Meanwhile during the last seven years, our system has become smaller in population, yet larger in appropriations from the Colorado General Assembly. We believe we must work harder and adapt our practices to better fit the risks and needs of our modern client population. We also must strive to use public funds in the most responsible manner in order to help control crime and promote wellness in local communities. Our intent is to promote supervision and risk-reduction practices that align with the published sciences of our field.
The Standards also serve ethical and humane purposes:
Simply put, the standards promote wellness among the human lives that are touched by crime.
Finally, the Standards provide a genuine opportunity for community corrections in Colorado to serve as a national model for offender risk reduction. Updating the Standards provides an opportunity for providers to go from good to great. While change is inevitable, progress is a choice – and we choose to be progressive and forward-thinking in our continuing evolution as a system. We believe the 2017 Standards help to achieve a vision of the Governor’s Community Corrections Advisory Council that was set forth in 2009 and that they serve as an artifact of a cultural paradigm shift in community corrections strategy.
The Division of Criminal Justice's statutory purpose is to fund, regulate, and provide technical assistance to boards and providers throughout the state. While many have perceived our role to be only that of regulation and funding, the OCC stands committed to assist providers and boards with the Standards through measurement, feedback, technical assistance, training, and implementation support.
While we are not the only resource for technical assistance available to providers, we invite providers to request and accept our help. For those providers that look to us to provide technical support, we commit to working with you toward a common goal of adherence to these Standards. We hope and trust that providers and boards see our role in the field as both regulatory and supportive of efforts at the local level to advance community corrections into the future.
OCC will complete the “Study” portion of the “Plan-Do-Study-Act” cycle through Audits and Program Assessment for Correctional Excellence (PACE) evaluations. Following the “Study” portion, OCC is available for technical assistance and strategic planning, as well as implementation support to assist programs with creating internal processes for Continuous Quality Improvement cycles.