The Colorado State Library’s Institutional Library Development unit serves over 15,000 adult offenders in 21 Department of Corrections facilities statewide, and 900 residents in 11 Division of Youth Corrections facilities statewide.
In keeping with the public library model of patron services, our library collections represent broad and varied points of view in a variety of accessible formats. Our libraries also offer a variety of public library-style programs ranging from book clubs and Spanish classes to resumé writing and literacy.
The Colorado Correctional Libraries hold intellectual freedom and the Prisoner’s Right to Read in uniquely creative tension with the demands of security in a sometimes volatile environment.
The Colorado State Library’s Institutional Library Development unit and the staff of the Colorado Correctional Libraries believe that libraries have the power to change the world “one reader at a time.” Many of us find prisoners to be the most appreciative and enthusiastic library users we’ve ever worked with, and serving them to be the most gratifying work we’ve ever done.
Re-entry and Recidivism
Reflective of the prison population nationwide, 97% of Colorado’s incarcerated offenders will eventually be released. Also reflective of national trends, over 50% these individuals will return to prison within five years. This degree of recidivism produces devastating social consequences for families, victims, and offenders themselves, and entails a more than three-quarters of a billion dollar annual price tag for Colorado taxpayers.
Successful reentry means never returning to prison. It depends on numerous interrelated factors, including education, housing, finding employment, staying healthy, and reconnecting with family and friends. The Colorado Correctional Libraries contribute to reducing recidivism by:
Parenting from Prison - for Children of Offenders
Working in Prison
Jobs in Prison Libraries
For the Public