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 Advocacy

The Peer Advocacy programs promote healing and recovery through a wide variety of education and support opportunities. Programs and curriculums include peer support and service, healthy living, physical fitness, meditation and goal setting. Peer advocacy education offers opportunity for everyone whether they just want to learn more about themselves or take it further to helping their peers to pursuing a career path in the field. The department has built a robust training system with opportunities to practice skills, participate in real work inside the facilities, and to transition to the outside with their skills.

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+.

For a description of programs, please follow the link HERE

Apprenticeship Programs

The CDOC collaborates with the Colorado Department of Labor to implement Apprenticeship programs in various areas including maintenance, food service, laundry, institutional maintenance, peer advocacy, 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.

Second Chance Pell Program

The Second Chance Pell program offers an opportunity for colleges to partner with the Colorado Department of Correction. Participating schools provide Federal Pell Grants to eligible students who are incarcerated in Federal or State penal institutions. Through the current Second Chance PELL Pilot
program, CDOC is working with three institutions of Higher Education: Trinidad State College, Pueblo

Community College, and Adams State University to bring 3 Associate Degrees, 1 Bachelors Degree, and 4 Certificate programs. CDOC hopes to expand the program upon full roll out of the federal PELL Grants for Prison Education Programs. During the transition and implementation period of the full PELL Grant implementation, CDOC will continue working its current cadre of colleges while soliciting applications from additional colleges to expand available opportunities.

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 follow the link: https://cdoc.colorado.gov/about/community-engagement

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.



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