Colorado Operational Master Planning Studies, CO
As part of its efforts to assess long-term population trends and program needs, the Colorado Division of Youth Corrections engages in Operational Master Planning efforts on an ongoing basis. In response to rapidly expanding commitments during the 1990s, the DYC completed master plans on a biennial basis. These master plans examined state-operated detention and correctional capacities (secure), privately contracted capacities (secure and non-secure), and privately contracted community-based services.
Although state-operated capacities were increasing during this period, privately funded operations were expanding at a much faster rate. According to state authorities, the private residential and community-based programs implemented at this time were all that stood between the DYC and “gross overcapacity and operational chaos”. Then, too, DYC experience showed that community-based care provided greater flexibility in responding to constantly changing needs and limited the costs that had to be approved by the legislature.
Equally important, master planning efforts focused on identifying detention and commitment needs on a regional basis to minimize youth placements far from home. It also sought to establish the facilities and services required by the state’s burgeoning special populations (mental health, females, substance abuse). During this period, new programs and facilities were implemented for committed females, multiple mental health diagnosis residents, and, in a coordinated effort with the Department of Human services, a medical model treatment program for youth with the most severe behavioral deficits.
Mr. McMillen conducted two of these master planning studies under contract with the Division of Youth Corrections.