DOC Administrative Practices

Did you know there are 165 countries on earth? Crazy huh? It’s a lot more than I realized. But something I found shocking, of those 165 countries, did you know the US is ranked #1 for recidivism? There are 164 countries who have better success in their correctional system. The US is also 23rd in crime rates. People tend to believe Mexico is a dangerous, violent country, the US has a higher crime rate.

According to the United States Sentencing Commission, in 2005, our recidivism rate was 49.3%. This was within 8 years of being released from prison. As of 2018, recidivism in the US reached 66% within 3 years of release. And 82% within 10 years of release.

The United States has a prison population of 1.9 million individuals, as of 2023. According to the Colorado Department of Corrections, as of February 29, 2024, Colorado has 15,843 individuals in our 21 prison facilities. Nearly 800 per facility. There are 1, 317 who are on jail-back logs (96), residential transitions (1036), ISP (1201), or escapees/walk aways (65). As of 2021 (and mind you the inflation is raising this so much more) just the 15,843 individuals in facilities would cost Colorado $675,939,218.55 per year.


House bill 24-1181 for DOCs funding just passed. I believe this is an important document that you, as a tax payers, should be aware. $6,338,843 goes to vehicle lease payments alone. $9,064,000 goes to stipends for correctional staff’s housing (including new hires). While $1,595,754 goes to the aftercare of youth offenders after they are released. And $2,720,328 goes to community re-entry programs. Tell me where the focus is.

Now if you’re still reading, thank you. I know this is a process and a lot to understand. Let’s dig a little and speak about where this all starts. Because it’s important to remember these individuals will re-join your community, what type of figure do you want in your community? Villegas completed a study that showed 97% of individuals who are incarcerated had experienced childhood trauma. I want you to take a second to think about how many of them were molested as children, imagine the trauma that stems from that. Johnson et al. (2006) found that of 100 male individuals who were incarcerated, 59% reported being sexually abused as children. And if you understand studies like this, you will understand that self reporting many times is not accurate and generally for this subject, higher than what is reported.

These individuals likely faced very traumatic lives while their brain was developing and likely never were given an opportunity to get help. Most, turn to drugs to help cope with that trauma. Those drugs likely contribute to their crimes in one or the other. Could you say that someone who is all for the continued abuse, neglect, and lack of humanity within our prisons, are supporters of child molesters? In a way, yes. Maybe not directly, but to say these children who grew as adults with some very real issues that most adults themselves wouldn’t be able to face, never learned to cope properly, deserve more pain, punishment, and abuse?

Let me speak freely. I hope that most will understand, I don’t play victim for anyone. I seek for people to get help when needed. I have a Masters in Psychology with a concentration of Forensics. I have seen first hand, the mental and physical abuse directed towards people who are incarcerated by the DOC employees. Recently, an issue at a prison complex that houses 6 facilities was posted on Facebook by DOC. Family members of those effected were concerned and rightfully so, they voiced concerns and DOC staff began laughing at their comments. They were attacking families, individuals (such as my husband) who are incarcerated (because they read news articles that do not portray my husband’s last conviction correctly. The news is shock and awe, and court transcripts are public record.), they attacked family members based on their physical features, they referred to them as morons, and other grotesque etiquette. No government entity should employee people that act that way in the public view, what do they do behind closed doors?

First Facebook Post
Second Facebook Post

This is a example of why our recidivism rate is #1 in the world. We continue to allow and ignore the abuse that goes in prisons because we believe these criminals should learn from this and deserve it. However, according to psychology, these individuals need intensive help and definitely not more abuse. I’m not saying serving their time is not acceptable, however, the treatment and lack of humanity is.

Without even trying to understand that these are people, these are people who likely faced some extreme trauma as children and society, their parents, and the state did nothing help them, we are just as much of scumbags as we believe them to be, if not more.

Many also came from places like the Netflix series, The Program. Or places such as El Pueblo Boys and Girls Ranch here in Colorado. Which was closed in 2019 for the multiple reports of abuse, starvation, and neglect.

We have the power to end this abuse. Contact your legislators, ask them why there isn’t a structure that provides therapy instead of abuse.

A documentary shows the US prisons and the Warden of Halden prison in Norway visits the prisons. Norway has a prison population of 3,068. Recidivism rate of 20%. Before you say it, Norway has a population of 5.457 million people, the US has 333.3 million. Norway has 1.5% of our population. However, 3068 is 0.16% of our 1.9 million prison population. This prison shows a humanistic side to prison. They care for those who live there. They provide them help, therapy, and a more normal life. This not only helps them, it helps us. We have lower tax rates, we have lower crimes rates, and our communities are safer.


Johnson RJ, Ross MW, Taylor WC, Williams ML, Carvajal RI, Peters RJ. Prevalence of childhood sexual abuse among incarcerated males in county jail. Child Abuse Negl. 2006 Jan;30(1):75-86. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2005.08.013. Epub 2006 Jan 18. PMID: 16412506.

Villegas, C., (2021). Prison project teaches inmates about childhood trauma and its effects. Spectrum News 1.