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The Colorado State Prison System

The Colorado Department of Corrections manages the 20 state-run prisons in Colorado, with its headquarters located at Spring Office park in El Paso County, Colorado. The state also works with several privately owned prisons. After a person is convicted, the Denver Reception and Diagnostic center is usually the first stop. It is the place where the Department of Correction will decide the befitting facility. These prisons are categorized based on security levels, and the assignment of inmates is primarily determined based on the security level into which the inmate falls. The highest designation into which an inmate can fall is “Close,” which is the category for death row inmates.

The death penalty was abolished in the state of Colorado in the year 2020. Prior to this, detention of death row inmates was at the Colorado state penitentiary until the year 2011, when a federal lawsuit forced the relocation of death row inmates.

What is the Difference Between Jail and Prison in Colorado?

One of the most fundamental differences between a prison and a jail is the length of time offenders spend in both. Jails usually hold a convict for any length of time between two (2) days and one (1) year, whereas prisons can keep an inmate for any number of years, even for the rest of the prisoner’s life.

Jails usually hold detainees who are awaiting sentencing or a trial, offenders convicted of a misdemeanor and are serving a one year sentence or less, or individuals who are awaiting transfer to a prison. This means that an individual in jail may not yet be convicted of any crime. However, an inmate in prison is already convicted of a crime, usually a felony with sentences longer than a year.

In Colorado, the Sheriff’s department in each county manages the jails and even the release of certain inmates before completing the sentence. Prisons, on the other hand, are state­-managed. Prisons are usually more equipped and more comfortable than jails as these facilities hold more people over a more extended period.

How Many Prisons are in Colorado?

There are 20 state-run prisons in the state of Colorado, namely;

  • Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility (Ordway)
  • Arrowhead Correctional Center (Cañon City)
  • Buena Vista Correctional Facility (Buena Vista)
  • Centennial Correctional Facility (Cañon City) (Maximum Security)
  • Colorado Correctional Center (Camp George West)
  • Colorado State Penitentiary (Cañon City) (Maximum Security)
  • Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility (Cañon City) (Medium Security)
  • Delta Correctional Center (Delta)
  • Denver Reception & Diagnostic Center (Denver)
  • Denver Women’s Correctional Facility (Denver)
  • Four Mile Correctional Center (Cañon City)
  • Fremont Correctional Facility (Cañon City)
  • LA Vista Correctional Facility (Pueblo)
  • Limon Correctional Facility (Limon)
  • Rifle Correctional Center (Rifle)
  • San Carlos Correctional Facility (Pueblo)
  • Skyline Correctional Center (249 inmate capacity) (Cañon City)
  • Sterling Correctional Facility (2545 inmate capacity) (Sterling)
  • Trinidad Correctional Facility (500 inmate capacity) (Trinidad)
  • Youthful Offender System (Pueblo)

How do I search for an Inmate in Colorado State Prison?

Members of the public who intend to find an inmate in a Colorado prison can use the Colorado Department of Corrections’ online locator. The user must supply a DOC number or the inmate’s first and last name to use this tool. Also, parties can locate individuals in county jails by making an inquiry through the local Sheriff’s desk or using an online locator tool on many county Sheriff’s websites.

Upon search, the locator reveals information such as sex, date of birth, assigned facility, and release date as regulated by the Colorado Open Records Act.

Are Incarceration Records Public in Colorado?

Incarceration records are criminal records containing official information about an individual’s arrests, convictions, and criminal history. According to the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA), interested individuals can access criminal history arrest records by submitting a request to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, a Colorado Department of Public Safety division.

The Colorado law enforcement agencies give essential information of arrest, and this information is stored in the computerized criminal history (CCH) database. However, warrant information, Social Security Numbers, juvenile records, financial institution account numbers, and sealed records are not obtainable by the general public.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How to Look Up Jail Records in Colorado?

Parties can look up Colorado jail records by visiting the respective facilities in person. Alternatively, members of the public can use the inmate locator online, using the DOC Number, last and first name of an inmate, the date of birth in month, date and year format, and lastly, gender. All fields can be selected if the interested party searching is uncertain of the inmate’s gender.

Can Jail Records be Expunged in Colorado?

Interested parties can file a petition to the District Court to seal or expunge jail records. However, the court only grants expungement for dismissed and petty cases. In filing a petition, the petitioner must obtain the criminal history containing case numbers and arrest details. Criminal history information is accessible from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, at a cost. The prerequisites for expungement requires that;

  • The applicant must have completed a diversion agreement with no criminal charges
  • There was an arrest, but the case did not go to court, and the statute of limitation has elapsed

The court charges $224.00 for expungement. Petitioners with no capacity to pay the filing charge must submit a Motion to File Without Payment, alongside a Financial Affidavit. The court then reviews the petition and may decide to set a hearing.

The court can send an order denying the petition with specified reasons or grant the request to seal arrest and criminal records. The court can concede a petition without hearing as a result of the petition’s adequacy. After the hearing, if the court grants the petition, the court automatically seals the criminal record, and the bearer can deny its existence.

  • Criminal Records
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  • Warrants
  • Driving Violations
  • Inmate Records
  • Felonies
  • Misdemeanors
  • Bankruptcies
  • Tax & Property Liens
  • Civil Judgements
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  • Probate Records
  • Marriage Records
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  • Death Records
  • Property Records
  • Asset Records
  • Business Ownership
  • Professional Licenses
  • And More!