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Colorado Department of Corrections 2016 Highlights

Colorado Springs, CO: As 2016 draws to an end, the Colorado Department of Corrections would like to highlight its most significant achievements of 2016. “The Department, in 2016, focused on a path to successful offender reintegration into society. The innovative ideas set into motion this year focus on getting offenders every resource or tool they need before releasing from prison and not after they are released into the community. We are proud of the accomplishments made at the facility and department levels,” Executive Director Rick Raemisch. Department of Corrections 2016 accomplishments include: • NAMI Award - The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Board of Directors selected Colorado Department of Corrections Executive Director, Rick Raemisch as the recipient of its 2016 Sam Cochran Criminal Justice Award, given in recognition of outstanding work within the criminal justice system to deal fairly and humanely with people living with mental illness. The award was presented for the hard work done by the Department of Correction’s staff. It is a reflection of the dedication and diligence in implementing widespread reforms in the use of solitary confinement in Colorado’s prisons, with particular focus on eliminating its use for inmates with mental illness, as well as for improving treatment and rehabilitative options for individuals with mental illness incarcerated in Colorado’s prisons. • Implementation of the Gladiator Program – The Colorado Department of Corrections Education Department has completed three Iron Workers Union 847, Gladiator Training programs. Through the collaboration of Ironworkers Union 847, the Department of Correction offenders were offered this demanding and intensive training to promote job opportunities within this technical field. Upon completion of this training, offenders have the opportunity to interview for employment within the union or be recommended for local job sites with assistance from Iron Workers Union 847. • Culinary Arts College Credit Program – The Department currently offers a culinary arts college certificate program, through a partnership with Pueblo Community College, in five correctional facilities. The Culinary Arts program offers classes and training opportunities with credits earned. Food service occupations are one of the top 10 employment areas for offenders upon re-entry. • Re-entry initiatives – The CDOC initiated an objective to implement facility based re-entry living units. The focus of the reentry units is to bridge the gap between facilities and parole by providing releasing offenders with tools and resources necessary to facilitate a fluid transition based back into the community. Also, to ensure offenders are job ready to be productive citizens contributing to their family unit. As the offender progresses and approaches the post release time frame (6 months – 12 months prior to release), they are moved to a centralized location in the facility where the additional key players (private/public stakeholders, facility staff, pre-release, volunteers, faith based agencies, business representatives, and facility parole officers) become more engaged in that individual’s reentry planning. The Reentry Unit initiative provides offenders the best advantage for successful reentry through a process of in-reach with community partners. • The Division of Adult Parole has initiated reforms to safely reduce technical parole violations by implementing SB 15-124, expanding a CDOC pilot program to allow for a short term jail sanction in lieu of revocation. This is commonly referred to as “Sure and Swift”. The Division is currently working with 20 participating county jails. Intermediate sanctions, such as these, help reduce arrests for technical parole violations and assists officers in recognizing positive behavior through the use of incentives. • 2016 yielded the Department’s first ever, President’s Volunteer Service Award for two volunteers who accumulated (documented) 8,643 hours of volunteer time to the Colorado Department of Corrections. This prestigious civil award is bestowed by the President of the United States. The President’s Volunteer Service Award is the premier volunteer awards program encouraging citizens to live a life of service through Presidential gratitude and national recognition. “The DOC is inspired by the accomplishments made through the diligent work of our staff, who focus on assisting offenders to successfully re-enter into society. I am consistently impressed by staff professionalism and work ethic and proud to serve as the executive director of this department.”