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Colorado will continue locking up 10-year-olds, for now, after legislation to raise the prosecution age to 13 stalls

The youngest kids arrested and locked up in Colorado’s youth corrections system are 10 years old, a practice that will continue for now after legislation to raise the prosecution age to 13 was rewritten in the final days of the legislative session.  So far this year, Colorado has arrested and locked up 33 kids ages […]

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Colorado’s new professional ultimate disc team wants to grow the sport — so it turned to young offenders

Aaron Alvarado, a 21-year-old inmate with a tiny, Cindy Lou Who-style ponytail on his head, got the hang of it pretty quickly, even though it was his first go at ultimate disc. “All you have to do is run fast and jump high,” said Alvarado, who played baseball and football in high school back in […]

Posted inColoradans, Economy, Health, Housing, News, Politics and Government

Colorado governor eyes former youth corrections campus for new homeless recovery center

WATKINS — On the treeless flatlands east of Denver, in a field of yellow-brown weeds that feels like the middle of nowhere, sits an empty campus with seven dormitories, 500 beds, a cafeteria, a gym and a football field.  Gov. Jared Polis has big plans for the place, a state-owned facility that for two decades […]

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Colorado hires private investigators to find teens who went missing when the state abruptly closed a youth center

When state child welfare officials arrived at a now-closed youth center to collect teenagers and send them to other placements, surprised kids scattered into the fields surrounding the residential facility in Watkins. A month later, two teenage boys are still missing.  And in the aftermath of what critics are calling a botched operation to abruptly […]

Posted inCOVID, Crime and Courts, Health, News, Politics and Government

For incarcerated youth in Colorado, the coronavirus pandemic isn’t over yet

It was late April and Renee sounded drained and worried. She hadn’t hugged her son or seen his face without a screen pixelating his features since the COVID-19 pandemic began in Colorado more than a year earlier. “It’s heartbreaking,” she said over Zoom. “That is something a parent could never describe. It’s 24/7 of a […]

Posted inColoradans, COVID, News, Politics and Government

Colorado youth corrections system sees biggest spike in violent offenders in a decade

The number of young people in Colorado’s youth corrections system because they killed someone jumped by 32% in the past fiscal year, an alarming increase that coincides with the system’s largest spike in youth violent crime in a decade.  Even more startling: In the past four years, the number of youth in the Colorado Division […]

Posted inColoradans, Crime and Courts, News, Politics and Government

A youth corrections center plagued by escapes, drugs and a riot is headed for a physical — and cultural — reorganization

GOLDEN — Colorado’s most troubled youth corrections center, where several teens and staff were injured in a riot last spring and where a new report found rampant drug use, will undergo a physical transformation this year.  The massive complex — surrounded by mesh fence that bends inward to prevent escape — will become four separate […]

Posted inCrime and Courts, News

For teens in Colorado corrections who have kids of their own, the state is trying to keep parental connections intact

The few dozen paper ornaments hanging from the Christmas tree in the lobby of the state human services department were gone in little more than an hour last year. Employees snatched them up, eager to buy the requested gifts: a box of diapers, a warm coat, a baby doll. Like most other giving trees, this […]