Oct 6, 2011 2:56 PM by AP Posted by James H Egbert
DENVER (AP) The Colorado Department of Human Services announced Wednesday a plan to re-align capacities within the Department's Division of Youth Corrections. Due to recent successes within the State's Juvenile Justice and the reductions in overall crime and delinquency, have led to significant reductions in DYC detention and commitment populations.
The Division of Youth Corrections' average daily population of committed youth has decreased from a high of 1,480 in March of 2006 to a level below 1,000 in August of 2011. This is the lowest commitment average daily population in DYC since Fiscal Year 1997-98. As a result of these recent population trends, the Department has developed a plan to close 44 State-operated beds designed to provide services to youth committed by the District Court to the custody of DYC.
The most recent plan includes the closure of the 20 bed Sol Vista Youth Services Center located on the grounds of the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo. CDHS plans to re-purpose the Sol Vista facility by transferring the Division of Mental Health Institutes' Circle Program, a substance abuse treatment program for adults from its current location at CMHIP to the physical plant vacated by Sol Vista. The 20 youth currently served by Sol Vista will be placed in other Division of Youth Corrections secure facilities that provide similar services.
"It is important to maintain, to the best of our ability, the outstanding employees that will be displaced by this change," Bicha said. "With this focus, a process of placing employees into qualifying vacant positions across the Department of Human Services will begin immediately."
The closure of Sol Vista is also linked with the Division of Youth Corrections' Key Strategy of providing the right services at the right time. Based on analyses of the characteristics of newly committed youth, the Division determined that a more appropriate balance between secure State-operated and private community-based residential programs could be achieved through a downsizing of secure capacity.