Youthful Offender System was in response to the Colorado Governor's call for a program to address youth violence. The Colorado Legislation passed, in Special Session, Senate Bill 93S-9 which created the Colorado Department of Corrections Youthful Offender System. It stated, in part, "It is the intent of the general assembly that the youthful offender system established pursuant to this section shall benefit the state by providing as a sentencing option for certain youthful offenders a controlled and regimented environment that affirms dignity of self and others, promotes the value of work and self discipline, and develops useful skills and abilities through enriched programming."
The Youthful Offender System is calculated to firmly and rigorously break down gang affiliations and negative peer influence. This is accomplished by firm disciplined regimentation with a full schedule of programs emphasizing academics, work, interpersonal relations, mentoring, and pre-vocational skills within a positive peer culture that reinforces a pro-social behavioral normative system. This program targets youth, 14 to 18 years of age, who are charged with a violent weapons- related Class 2 through 6 felony, or are chronic juvenile youthful offenders, have been direct filed by the District Attorney into District Court and convicted as adults. All sentences to Youthful Offender System are determinate sentences of 3 to 7 years which includes a mandatory intensely supervised community release program of 6 to 12 months in duration.
The Youthful Offender System was amended by Senate Bill 94-201 on June 3, 1994. In part, this revision gave the Divisions of Adult Parole and Community Corrections statutory responsibility to operate the Community Supervision and Reintegration phase, Phase III. This phase offers intensive supervision and monitoring to enforce compliance to rules that are intended to control the youthful offender's behavior and maintain strict discipline. In June of 2002 Adult Parole, Community Corrections and Youthful Offender System assumed responsibility for the facility and community components of the program.
The mission of Youthful Offender System is to provide youth offenders with a controlled and regimented environment that affirms dignity of self and others, promotes value of work and self-discipline, and develops useful skills and abilities. Youthful Offender System provides a comprehensive programming continuum for all offenders with individualized options to meet offenders’ special needs throughout each of the four program phases.
Intake, Diagnostic, and Orientation: The IDO component (30 to 45 days) transfers an offender to the custody of Youthful Offender System, orients the youth offender to the program, and implements a comprehensive diagnostic process.
Youthful Offender System Facility: Phase I provides intensive residential programming in a secure facility. Depending upon the sentence, a youth offender remains in Phase I for eight months to six years.
Community Supervision is a highly structured, intensely monitored program designed to protect the public and facilitate the habilitation of the Youthful Offender System resident.