Community Corrections in Colorado

Linda Harrison, Colorado Division of Criminal Justice

We will present the results of an analysis of information on 3,054 community corrections offenders who terminated from 25 community corrections facilities in Colorado during FY98. The study explored issues related to success and failure in community corrections. We found that nearly 2,000 of these 3,054 offenders had successful terminations, and that success in community corrections was linked to participating in a wide variety of services offered by these programs. We then tracked successful termination cases for 24 months to obtain recidivism information about cases that were arrested and filed on in district court. We found that within 24 months of leaving the program successfully, 31 percent of those who completed community corrections had a new felony or misdemeanor crime filing. Nearly 38 percent of all recidivating offenses were for alcohol and drug offenses. We found that higher scores on Colorado's battery of substance abuse assessment tools were more likely to recidivate with a substance abuse crime. Also, prior criminal history, young age, a high Level of Supervision Inventory (LSI) score, and a lack of post-release supervision statistically predicted recidivism. (The LSI measures a number of domains such as criminal history, education, financial, substance abuse, and other needs.) We found that women who successfully completed community corrections recidivated less often than men. Researchers complemented the quantitative research elements by conducting site visits to each of the 25 community corrections facilities and interviewing 206 staff and offenders.

Results of the study provide important information relevant to policy decisions regarding types and quality of services provided in community corrections facilities; the needs of special populations, particularly females; issues surrounding hiring and retaining quality staff; and, the importance of post-release supervision in reducing recidivism.

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Updated 05/20/2006