Project: Elevate


Project: Elevate is a collaborative endeavor between the City and County of Denver and The Empowerment Program, Inc. The collaboration represents an innovative, research-based program model that is trauma informed and gender responsive for women with increasingly complex needs. The Program enables Denver women with criminal justice involvement to return and thrive in their home community. 

Project: Elevate Video

The Empowerment Program

Empowerment’s mission is to holistically help individuals build healthier lives from the inside out. Empowerment’s primary goal is to decrease rates of recidivism by providing care management, employment services, basic skills education, health care, and resource coordination that can offer alternatives to habits and choices that may lead to criminal behaviors and limit individuals’ ability to become self-sufficient and productive members of the Denver community.

What is Project: Elevate?


Community corrections is an alternative to incarceration in jail/prison for those struggling to be successful under probation supervision and a safe way for women to smoothly transition from prison to our community.  The facility serves up to 55 adult women in residence as well as a small post-residential population.  In the future, the program may expand to meet the needs of other women in the community who have needs which align with the program’s service offerings.  Each participant will have a team which supports the development of an individual care plan designed to articulate a clear path to successful reintegration. Staff provide continuous monitoring and support, helping participants align their actions and choices with their long-term goals.

Project: Elevate's Approach to Care:
  • Trauma informed care
  • Gender responsive approaches
  • Cooperative leadership
  • Staffed by persons with lived experience
  • De-emphasizes institutional living
  • Mentorship
  • Individually tailored programming
  • Engagement in natural community
  • Facility engagement in the community
  • Participant choice
  • Diverse, equitable and culturally relevant services


The program is an integrated community location, providing a continuum of care to women facing complex challenges. Community corrections provides more than housing and supervision.  It also facilitates access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment services. It provides evidence-based treatment services that are responsive to women’s needs including language preference, learning abilities, gender identity, cultural identity, and age/developmental needs. Each participant has a team which supports the development of an individual care plan designed to articulate a clear path to successful reintegration. Staff provide continuous monitoring and support, helping participants align their actions and choices with their long-term goals.


Project: Elevate’s vision is to empower participants to make healthy and safe decisions through trauma, gender, and culturally responsive holistic behavioral health services.  Project: Elevate will strengthen social services, keep residents and neighborhoods safe, deliver an equitable and inclusive city, and ensure financial stability for residents.  

Frequently Asked Questions 

How is Project: Elevate different from other community corrections facilities?


Project: Elevate draws on the strengths of both the City and County of Denver and the Empowerment Program to create an environment that supports the safety, health, and well being of the participants it serves.  One of it’s most unique features is the emphasis on staff who have lived experiences and identities that mirror those of the participants it serves.  Project: Elevate’s staff includes people who are multi-lingual, people of color, formerly incarcerated people, people who changed substance misuse, and women.

Metrics for Success

Project: Elevate proudly emphasizes the success of it's participants. Care managers work closely with participants individually to help create, work toward, and achieve goals. The definition of success includes traditional metrics such as program completion and recidivism. 

These metrics include things like achieving goals related to employment, financial independence, safe housing, supportive peer communities, establishing healthy adult relationships, re-connection with children, overcoming previous challenges with substance misuse, and overcoming challenges with mental health.

Project: Elevate is committed to using evidence based practices which draw from a broad array of academic research. Practices within the facility are frequently evaluated to assure that best practices are used to craft individual care plans and interventions. 

Community Partnerships 

Project: Elevate emphasizes the importance of community partnerships in the services it provides.  It has numerous community partners that provide services from experts within the local community.  Community partners are frequently delivering services onsite, as well as creating welcoming spaces for Project: Elevate participants in their primary service locations.

What are the placement criteria for Project: Elevate?

Project: Elevate seeks to give female identified participants an opportunity to achieve success.  Project: Elevate is unable to accept applicants who are a danger to themselves, or others.

Project: Elevate reviews each potential participant to assure that the programming offered presents that participant with an opportunity to be successful. 


When do Project: Elevate Participants obtain passes and/ or visitation?

Project: Elevate Participants begin engaging in medical, mental health, medication assisted treatment, and identity document acquisition passes very quickly without a mandatory hold period.  Leisure passes begin after three weeks in the program. 

Passes involving visitation with family and/or children are customized by a participant and their care team based on their highly individualized needs.  


What is the average length of stay at Project: Elevate?

Project: Elevate is a very new program, therefore data is not currently available.  Project: Elevate projects length of stay for most participants will be approximately 9 months. Project: Elevate prides itself on its individually tailored programming and recognizes that the length of stay varies for each individual participant. Participants work closely with their designated care manager to coordinate a plan that accounts for legal supervision needs and individual responsivity factors that may impact their length of stay. 

How does someone apply to get into Project: Elevate?

Participants who come to Project: Elevate can be sentenced directly to community corrections by the courts for a felony level conviction (Diversion), can come to the program following an experience of incarceration in the Department of Corrections and are community corrections eligible (Transition), or as a condition of their parole.  Regardless of referral source, participants must be approved by the Denver Community Corrections Board prior to being placed at Project: Elevate.