Medical and Mental Health

Overview of Services 

Clinical Services in the Colorado Department of Corrections (DOC) is structured to function  similar to a community health care organization and is accredited through the American Correctional Association (ACA). DOC provides a range of health care services to the inmate population which includes but is not limited to medical, dental, behavioral health, support services, quality management, staff recruiting, training, and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. 



Primary medical, behavioral health and dental care is provided by state and contract employees which includes but is not limited to physicians, pharmacists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, dentists, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, certified substance use disorder clinicians, sex offender therapists, and ancillary staff.

Medical Services

Clinical Services provides direct patient care which includes but is not limited to dental services, pharmacy services, X-ray services, dementia care, infirmary care, dialysis, a special medical needs unit, end-of-life care, 24-hour emergency care, on-site emergency acute care, crisis intervention, and 24-hour on-call providers. Health care services outside of DOC facilities are managed through a contracted third party  administrator. 

Behavioral Health Treatment Programs

Mental health services are provided for inmates such as group therapy, psychiatric services, and crisis intervention which vary in levels of intensity to include inpatient mental health programs, intensive mental health services, and Residential Treatment Programs (RTP).  RTPs offer highly specialized treatment to inmates with mental health disorders and/or intellectual and developmental treatment needs. These programs utilize a planned incentive level system to promote pro-social behavior and treatment progress while meeting behavioral goals.

Sex Offender Treatment and Monitoring Program (SOTMP) is a specialized treatment for  individuals with identified sex offender treatment needs. The SOTMP is designed to reduce  recidivism and enhance public safety by providing a continuum of identification, treatment, and  monitoring services throughout incarceration. 

Alcohol and Drug Services provide substance use disorder treatment and education that produces  long term change, increasing quality of life, reduces or eliminates substance use and criminal  conduct, and facilitates successful reintegration into the community.

Therapeutic Community Programs are available at designated facilities for inmates with histories of substance use and an identified need for this specialized treatment program. 

Access to Care

All inmates are provided a Clinical Services Handbook at the time of admission to the DOC which outlines how they can access health care as well as the co-pay guidelines. 

Kites/Appointment requests:  The most commonly used method to access routine health care from DOC is sick call. Requesting health care services is a self-referral process by the inmate, done by completing the Request for Sick Call Form, commonly known as “a kite.”  An inmate is never charged a fee for submitting a kite.  Upon receipt of a request (kite) for health care services from an inmate, designated Clinical Services DOC employees or contract workers at each facility clinic will review the inmate initiated request for health care and schedule appointments accordingly. Each inmate is responsible for all applicable co-pay fees that are incurred; however, offenders are never denied health care because of their inability to pay.

Medical Emergencies: Inmates who believe they are experiencing a medical emergency and require emergency care may notify staff they are having a medical emergency and will be seen and assessed by a nurse who will assess the patient and determine if a higher of level of care is necessary.

Determining the Plan of Care

Primary care services are handled by licensed medical professionals employed by Colorado Department of Corrections at the clinic at the inmate's assigned correctional facility.  Determination of the plan of care, including all treatments, restrictions, and medication orders is at the discretion of the care provider based upon their evaluation of the patient and medical knowledge/training.

HIPAA and Release of Information

Colorado Department of Corrections and the care providers it employs are bound by federal HIPAA regulations to protect patient privacy.  Please be aware that due to HIPAA regulations and patient privacy laws, staff will not be able to discuss a patient's medical, behavioral health, or dental needs or treatment with you unless the patient has signed a release of information authorizing the disclosure of their confidential healthcare information to you and filed it with the clinic.  Inmates may kite the clinic if they wish to file a release of information with the clinic.

Doctor talking to a patient