What Happens If I am Sentenced to the Department of Corrections?

I. The Judge Pronounces the Sentence of x years to The Colorado Department of Corrections
  1. You are handcuffed and taken to the County Jail.
  2. The Jail holds you until you are either taken to or picked up by the – Denver Reception & Diagnostic Center and transported there. Usually this occurs within a few days.
II. What is the DRDC?

DRDC is the first stop for all offenders sentenced to the Department of Corrections. The facility is located on Smith Road, just east of the Denver County Jail. Staff at the 480 bed maximum security facility process, test, and classify offenders entering the system, prior to their placement at one of the Department’s permanent facilities.

Offenders are given a complete diagnostic evaluation including medical, dental, mental health assessment, and personal needs assessments, as well as academic and vocational testing, initial classification, and a custody level recommendation. The facility also houses a 36 bed Infirmary.

The purpose of the Denver Reception and Diagnostic Center is to provide the Department with reception, assessment, and classification of all offenders sentenced to the Department of Corrections. Following the assessment – the inmate is assigned to and transported to the prison selected for them at the end of this process.

While the Diagnostic Process is considered temporary – the Process can take several months

III. Visiting Inmates at DRDC

DRDC is a temporary facility assignment. New arrival offenders are given a Special Visit request form during their initial orientation. They may list up to five (5) immediate family members, approval will take approximately ten (10) working days at which time the offender will be notified. Upon offenders arriving at their assigned facility, a permanent visiting application will need to be completed by all visitors to be processed in accordance with policy and procedure

Here is the address to their website.

IV. After the Inmate is Transported to the Prison Facility

Please go to this link for more detailed information about the Colorado Department of Corrections.

The DOC is responsible for managing and operating 19 secure prison facilities and the Youthful Offender System (YOS). The facilities are designed to supervise offenders in five custody levels: minimum; minimum restrictive; medium; close; and administrative segregation.

The Department is also responsible for the supervision of offenders in appropriate community placements. The Adult Parole, Community Corrections, and Youthful Offender System (APCC/YOS) division oversees transitional offenders in community corrections programs, offenders on parole.

The YOS program is operated separately from the adult prison system by the APCC/YOS.

V. Visiting an Inmate in the Colorado Department of Corrections

Visitor Approval. Applying for Visitation at a Public Facility: Visitor Application. Click this link to print a visitior application.

The Rules
  • New visitors applying for on-going visitation of an offender housed within a CDOC operated prison, a Visitor Application needs to be completed and mailed to the facility where you will be visiting.
  • One-time or infrequent visitors (i.e., one to two times per year), to a public facility, please request a Special Visitation Application from the facility where you will be visiting.
  • Minor Children ( any child under 18 ), to a public facility, needs a Minor Child Visitor Application to be completed and mailed to the facility where they will be visiting. Applying for Visitation at a Private Facility
  • New visitors applying for on-going visitation of an offender housed within a privately operated prison, a Visitor Application needs to be completed and mailed to the Private Prisons Monitoring Unit at the address below, with the exception of offenders housed at the Cheyenne Mountain Re-Entry Center in which case the application is sent directly to the facility at the address listed below.
  • Minor Children (any child under 18), When making application for Minor Children to visit at a private facility, the Minor Child Visitor Application should be sent with the Visitor Application to the appropriate address below.
  • One-time or infrequent visitors (i.e., one to two times per year), a Special Visitation Application (pdf) is required in lieu of the on-going CDOC visitor application listed above. The special visiting application and minor child visitor application needs to be completed and mailed to the Private Prisons Monitoring Unit (or Cheyenne Mountain Re-Entry Center if applicable) at the address listed below

Private Prisons Monitoring Unit 2862 South Circle Drive Colorado Springs, CO 80906

Cheyenne Mountain Re-Entry 2925 E. Las Vegas Street Colorado Springs, CO 80906

The number of visitors an offender may receive and the length of visits may be limited only by the facility’s schedule, space, and personnel constraints. The intended visitor must complete the Visitor Application (Attachment “A”) and return the completed, signed form to the facility where the offender is housed.

Upon being received by the DOC, DC Form 300-01A, Visitor Application (Attachment “A”) will be available at the facility visiting area or from designated facility staff. Minor children must be named on DC Form 300-01A, Visitor Application, but will not be counted toward the eleven (11) approved visitors. Only one (1) adult name per application will be permitted. Minors must be listed on the application of the legal guardian or immediate family member that will accompany the minor on the visit.

The Administrative Head is the assigned authority to approve, deny, or delete names of visitors on visiting lists. An offender’s visiting list shall be subject to the following restrictions:

  • No person will be allowed to socially visit more than one (1) offender unless the person is a member of the immediate family of each offender being visited.
  • Approval for a person to change from the visiting list of one offender to another offender will only be considered if the visitor applicant has been placed on inactive status with the original party for a period of at least one (1) year.
  • Any person representing any potential health hazards to offenders, staff or other visitors will not be approved for visits, until the health hazard is cured (i.e., communicable disease). Staff medical practitioners will render final decisions in such matters.
  • Any other person(s) who have become acquainted with an offender in any manner during the course of the offender’s incarceration WILL NOT be allowed to visit.
  • Should the offender be transferred to a new facility, a new visitor application must be submitted to the new facility’s Administrative Head who may or may not approve the new request.
  • Persons, including immediate family members, who are on active parole, probation or other forms of conditional release, e.g., community programs, furloughs from custody, etc., or who have a felony record within the past three (3) years, will not ordinarily be approved for visits.
  • Any victim of the offender who wishes to visit the offender must submit such request in writing to the Administrative Head seeking authorization to visit. The Administrative Head will respond to the victim indicating the decision within thirty (30) days from the receipt of such letter.
  • If it is determined that an individual is likely to have a detrimental effect on the offender, or present a security threat, he/she will not be approved for visits.
  • All visitors under age 18 must be listed on the Visitor Application (DC Form 300-01A) and be accompanied by at least one adult who is identified as legal guardian or immediate family member authorized to accompany those specific minors listed on their application. Exceptions will be made for emancipated minors.
  • The approved visitor application and subsequent changes will be entered into the Department of Corrections Information System (DCIS) visiting computer system for system-wide utilization and access during the course of the offender’s incarceration.
  • An approval to visit an offender may be revoked when information which would have resulted in denial of visits becomes known after an approval to visit has been granted. Revocation and/or suspension of visits may be ordered by the Administrative Head for any activity or event occurring subsequent to the approval for visits (See Section IV.L.). All revocations and/or suspensions with beginning and ending dates will be entered into the DCIS visiting computer system.
  • An individual may be listed on the approved visitor list as a “spouse” only if a legal marriage is established. A marriage may be validated by presentation of a recorded Certificate of Marriage; recorded License to Marry; recorded Marriage by Proxy; or established and recognized Common-Law Marriage. The burden of proof documenting a legal marriage is the responsibility of the offender.
  • An official valid document with the visitor’s photograph secured thereupon (driver’s license, student identification card, etc.) is necessary to establish visitor identification.
  • An individual who is listed on the approved visitor list, but has never visited that person for one (1) year will be placed on inactive visitor status in the DCIS visiting computer system. Information Systems staff will automatically review visitor status quarterly. The offender may request activation of an inactive visitor deactivated for such a reason during the 90 day intervals without requiring a new application.
VI: Sending an Inmate Money

To do this go toJPay and create a free acct. Then follow the instructions. You can easily send money that way for stamps, envelopes, etc and the money will follow the inmate to the inmate’s final prison destination.

Great Links to help you understand how to visit and communicate with your loved one:

VII. How Much Time Will the Inmate Actually Serve?

For an excellent very recent article on this subject visit a dear colleagues website and read his excellent analysis of this subject: please plug this link into your browser. I will summarize his article in a few weeks and publish it on my website.

The Public Facilities of the Colorado Department of Corrections

  • ACC – Arrowhead Correctional Center
  • AVCF – Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility
  • BVCC – Buena Vista Correctional Complex
  • CCC – Colorado Correctional Center (Camp George West)
  • CCF – Centennial Correctional Facility
  • CSP – Colorado State Penitentiary
  • CTCF – Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility
  • DCC – Delta Correctional Center
  • Department of Corrections Central Office
  • DRDC – Denver Reception & Diagnostic Center
  • DWCF – Denver Women’s Correctional Facility
  • FCF – Fremont Correctional Facility
  • FLCF – Fort Lyon Correctional Facility
  • FMCC – Four Mile Correctional Center
  • LCF – Limon Correctional Facility
  • LVCF – La Vista Correctional Facility
  • RCC – Rifle Correctional Center
  • SCC – Skyline Correctional Center
  • SCCF – San Carlos Correctional Facility
  • SCF – Sterling Correctional Facility
  • TCF – Trinidad Correctional Facility
  • YOS – Youthful Offender System

The Private Facilities of the Colorado Department of Corrections – Privately Run “Contracted Prisons”

  • BCCF – Bent County Correctional Facility
  • CCCF – Crowley County Correctional Facility
  • CMRC – Cheyenne Mountain Re-entry Center
  • Contract Jails
  • KCCC – Kit Carson Correctional Center
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