Education, Library and Programs


The Colorado Department of Corrections Prison Programs Unit provides a unique and varied number of programs and services to incarcerated individuals for the purpose of enhancing lives, creating opportunity for personal exploration and development, providing employable skills, promoting personal fulfillment, and laying a foundation for a positive release and full participation in life. These evidence-based programs and services include Academic, Social Science, Career and Technical Education, post-
secondary programs, peer advocacy, library programs and services and volunteer programs.

High School Equivalency

The academic coursed are designed to prepare individuals for the High School Equivalency/General Education Diploma assessment. Learners will gain both language and mathematic literacy skills as well as content knowledge through direct instruction, independent, small group and large group work,
interactive peer tutoring, and self-guided computer-based learning modalities. Education currently utilizes the Essential Education HSE computer-based learning system through Chromebooks. In addition to the computer-based learning, students will have access to print based materials, peer educators, and Colorado licensed educators.

Social and Behavioral Science (SBS)

Social and Behavioral Science (SBS) courses help individuals identify criminal thinking and behavioral patterns by dealing with societal and personal awareness. Programs seek to improve the cognitive skills of the participant in order that they can lead constructive and satisfying lives. Programs include teaching metacognition, social skills, problem solving skills and coping strategies. SBS curriculum consists of programming developed based on facility needs. SBS courses currently include Thinking for a Change, Decision Points, Moral Recognition Therapy, and Why Try.

Peer Education and Support 

The Peer Education and Support programs provide opportunities for incarcerated to receive basic mentor training and Adult Basic Education delivery training.  These individuals will have opportunities to work within the Prison Programs areas to provide academic and life skill tutoring and small group instruction in the identified topics such as financial literacy, reading, mathematics, cognitive skills and communication.  

Incarcerated may also choose to delve deeper into the Peer Specialist world with additional training and opportunities offered in conjunction with the Behavioral Health Unit.

Career and Technical Education (CTE)

Career and Technical Education programs create opportunities for incarcerated individuals to learn skills to obtain entry-level positions upon reentry.

The CDOC works in partnerships with the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) to offer a wide variety of programs in several career pathways. All CTE programs are industry and/or college credentialed. The time it takes to complete a program certificate and receive college credit varies based on the course and the number of contact hours.

Programs include Automotive, Business Fundamentals, Estheticians, Hairstylists, Manicurist, Culinary Arts, Computer Information Systems, Computer Aided Drafting, Machining, Construction Technology, Wildland Fire, Environmental Services, Visual Communication, Customer Service and A+.

A description of programs may be found in the Course Catalog.


The CDOC collaborates with the Colorado Department of Labor to implement Apprenticeship programs in various areas including food industries, laundry services, office clerks, welding, education, and CCI programs. Through partnership with various community agencies and organizations, apprentices are able to transition to community apprenticeship upon release. Currently, the Prison Programs Unit has 22 available occupations dependent upon the facility and continues to develop new opportunities with the CDLE.

Postsecondary Education and Industry Trade Training Programs

Postsecondary and Industry trade training programs are classes and training contracted through colleges and industry training centers including the Community College system, Colorado State University, CU- Denver, Rocky Mountain Education Center, CDOT, and Ironworkers Union. Opportunities include classes and industry training opportunities that lead to college certificates and/or industry certificate programming. These offerings include Non-Destructive Testing, Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC), CDOT Flagging, Health and Fitness, Mobile Electrical and Mechanical labs, Ironworkers Training, and OSHA Safety Specialist training.

Prison Education Programs, PELL funded

The Prison Education Program (PEP) program offers an opportunity for colleges to partner with the Colorado Department of Correction. Currently the CDOC partners with Trinidad State College, Pueblo Community College, and Adams State College to offer PELL funded opportunities. Colleges must apply and be approved through a lengthy application process which goes through Department of Education approval, Accrediting Agency approval, and CDOC approval. During the process, the college identifies which facilities it will offer classes. CDOC hopes to expand the colleges offering programs in facilities.

Trinidad State College offers an AS of Technology, AA of General Studies and an AA in Psychology. Trinidad State is available in the following facilities: SCF, LCF, AVCF, TCF, DWCF, LVCF, YOS, FCF, FMCC, CSP, CCF, CTCF, SCC, BVCF, DCC

Pueblo Community College offers a Business AA at LVCF and offers Behavioral Health Certificate classes at AVCF, SCF, and BVCF

Adams State University offers a Bachelors in Business and Interdisciplinary Studies.  Students earning a Bachelors through ASU will also earn a AA in general studies in the process.  Classes are offered at CTCF, LCF, FCF, FMCC, and DWCF

IDEA and ECEA Procedural Safeguards

Procedural Safeguards Notice

Faith and Citizens

The Colorado Department of Corrections has hundreds of Faith and Citizen programs available to incarcerated individuals. These programs are supported by volunteers from the community whose goal is to support, encourage and help sustain positive change. Faith and Citizen Programs continually recruits volunteers to support correctional staff and to create opportunities for inmates in activities including: Addiction rehabilitation programs; Basic educational programs; Faith group chaplains, spiritual advisors, and services; Parenting programs; Recreational programs; and Reintegration programs (inside and outside of prison).

For more specifics, please see our Community Engagement page

Library Services 

Library services are provided via the State Library System and strive to maintain the public library model of patron services. Library collections are curated to represent diverse points of view in a variety of accessible formats, as well as a variety of public library style programs to serve the unique needs of the
incarcerated library users. Correctional facility Libraries provide opportunities for incarcerated to explore and develop interests, relax in a comfortable environment, and to participate in programs that support family connections such as the Read to the Children programs.

Organizations, Contractors, and Vendors

The CDOC does work with outside agencies to bring in services, training, and education.

If you are interested in bringing your program to CDOC, you will need to submit an initial proposal form. 

Please attached a curriculum with your proposal for the review committee. This form with curriculum must be sent to doc_education@state.co.us.  

Proposals will be reviewed on a quarterly basis.  



Ruler on Chalkboard