Sociology Index

Youthful Offender System - YOS

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 (C-DOC-YOS).

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 (YOS) 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.

The Colorado Department of Corrections by implementing this bill created a "middle-tier" between traditional adult and juvenile corrections, targeted for violent youth felons. 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 offenders, have been direct filed by the District Attorney into District Court and convicted as adults. The Court can then, as appropriate, suspend the adult sentence and commit the youth to the C-DOC-YOS. 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 youth offender’s behavior and maintain strict discipline. Public safety is maintained through supervision standards set by Colorado State Statute and CDOC Administrative Regulations. These standards provide a comprehensive on-going risk assessment of the resident which emphasizes frequent face-to-face contacts, restrictive curfews, substance abuse monitoring, treatment programs, and day reporting requirements.

In June of 2002 Adult Parole, Community Corrections and Youthful Offender System assumed responsibility for the facility and community components of the program. Adult Parole, Community Corrections and Youthful Offender System is sensitive to the needs and safety of the public, is responsive to changing criminal patterns and threats, and is flexible in its administration of programs to address those needs.

 

MISSION

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 through a comprehensive, needs-based phased program preparing the youth offenders for positive reintegration followed with supportive aftercare.

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

YOS provides a comprehensive programming continuum for all offenders with individualized options to meet offenders’ special needs throughout each of the four program phases. IDO, Phase I, and Phase II are located at the Youthful Offender System facility in Pueblo, CO. Phase III is implemented throughout the state of Colorado.

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. Emphasizing group discipline and group incentives in the context of a highly structured routine and an intense physical regimen, IDO establishes the attitudes and behaviors requisite to the offenders’ effective participation in the positive peer culture and programming that characterize Phase I.

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. Phase I utilizes a functional approach within a positive peer culture.

Pre-Release: Phase II is a three-month pre-release program that supports Phase I redirection programs and establishes the basis for an effective and well-planned Phase III community re-entry.

Community Supervision: Phase III is the community supervision component of the program that provides intensive supervision and surveillance of the youth offenders in the community. Phase III is a highly structured, intensely monitored program designed to protect the public and facilitate the habilitation of the Youthful Offender System resident. Phase III implements the transition plan developed in Phase II emphasizing an interactive partnership of state and community agencies, resources and support services that provide a comprehensive aftercare program.