Reducing Recidivism

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The Department of Corrections has a mission to help people on parole make positive changes and become law-abiding citizens. To this end, the agency targets high-risk/high-need people with intensive programs – such as housing and employment training – both prior to and upon release to the community.

Following implementation of reforms passed by the Colorado General Assembly in 2014, the Colorado Department of Corrections, in partnership with the Colorado Evaluation and Action Lab and Mathematica Policy Research, has conducted a study to examine current implementation of state-level reentry services.

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Among the key findings:

  • Colorado’s expansion of reentry services initiated new connections between prison, parole, and the community that build the foundation for a more integrated system.
  • Targeting reentry series to the people who need them most is challenging but key to having efficient and effective services.
  • Modernizing and connecting data systems that evolved from different contexts for different purposes is a strategic priority for improving service delivery.

The research team is currently in the process of examining multiple sources of internal data to learn how the “high-risk, high-needs population” is identified and targeted for services in different settings within DOC. This second phase of work will support the identification of priority focus areas in terms of systems alignment for the incoming DOC leadership.