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Colorado's State Prison Libraries

CDOC and DYS libraries

The ILD unit and correctional library staff serve

  • DYS: Over 10,000 residents served by libraries in 11 state-run facilities
  • DOC: About 20,000 residents served by 21 libraries in state-run facilities

In keeping with the public library model of patron services, our library collections represent diverse points of view in a variety of accessible formats, as well as a variety of public library-style programs to serve the unique needs of our library users.

The Colorado correctional libraries hold intellectual freedom and the Prisoners Right to Read in uniquely creative tension with the demands of security in a sometimes volatile environment.

Libraries have the power to change the world one person at a time. Many of us find correctional library users to be the most appreciative and enthusiastic we’ve ever worked with, and serving them to be the most gratifying work we’ve ever done.

How our libraries support re-entry

  • 97% of people incarcerated in Colorado will eventually be released.
  • Half of them will return to prison within five years.

Recidivism has devastating social consequences for families, victims, and residents themselves. It also costs Colorado taxpayers three-quarters of a billion dollars annually.

Successful re-entry means never returning to prison. It depends on education, housing, finding employment, staying healthy, and reconnecting with family and friends.

Our libraries contribute to reducing recidivism by:

  • Providing current, quality materials to meet needs for recreation and information
    • to help residents constructively manage their leisure time and stay connected to events and cultural trends in the outside world.
  • Providing materials and programs on specific re-entry subjects:
    • Interview skills
    • Parenting
    • Getting a driver’s license
    • Personal finance
    • Eating healthily on a budget
    • And more!
  • Helping residents stay connected
    • with their children by encouraging them to read through the Read to the Children program at every CDOC facility library.
  • Giving residents more choices
    • and allowing them to exercise good decision-making and explore previously unimagined possibilities and opportunities.


Go to: Institutional Library Development | Correctional Librarianship | Staff