Inmate Programs & Services

A group of inmates sit in a circle having a discussion about what is and isn't working within the pod

While incarcerated, people in our care acquire valuable knowledge, skills, and work experience through Denver Sheriff Department vocational training opportunities and/or other occupational education courses offered at our facilities. Learn more about these opportunities, and much more, by downloading the Inmate Handbook(PDF, 906KB). If you're looking for more information about time spent in jail, this book will give you answers.

Staying Safe During COVID-19

Like many of you, we are working to maintain continuity and a sense of normalcy as we strive to keep everyone safe and informed of the latest public safety processes and protocols. Although implementing these changes can be challenging, we are concerned, along with our families and colleagues, about the health of our employees, the public, and the hundreds of people who reside in our care.

In providing this information, our goal is to keep you updated on how we are doing our part to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Colorado. #DoingMyPartCO

Here is what we are doing to keep everyone safe while continuing to provide safety and security for the Denver Metro area:

Inmate-Related Changes:

  • Remote video visitation encouraged, although on-site video visitation available
  • Enhanced cleaning protocols for all areas of the jails
  • Passenger areas of transport vehicles disinfected after each use
  • Cases reviewed to reduce the jail population
  • Arrestees screened at intake, COVID-19 tests and masks are provided
  • Denver Public Health and Environment (DPHE) provides COVID-19 tests in housing units
  • COVID-19 vaccines offered and provided to inmates throughout their stay
  • Inmates exhibiting COVID-19-related symptoms are isolated and monitored by medical staff
  • Medical staff decide if testing inmates is needed based on presenting symptoms

Employee-Related Changes:

  • Increased cleaning and sanitizing of all facilities and vehicles
  • Protective gear provided to all staff and face coverings required
  • If sick, employees are urged to stay home and get tested for COVID-19
  • Wash hands often, avoid touching face, minimize contact with others, maintain 6 feet distance when possible, and use disinfectant spray or wipes to sanitize work spaces and department vehicles
  • Large group activities (i.e., department and community meetings, facility tours, etc.) conducted virtually or canceled
  • Some professional staff authorized to work a hybrid schedule (if duties allow)
  • When at the facilities, DPHE will provide COVID-19 tests to employees 

Alternate Sentencing & Work Release

The Alternative Sentencing Program allows those in our care to maintain their employment, education, and/or treatment. Learn more about the Alternative Sentencing Program.

The Work Search Program allows people to search for employment while in jail. Learn more about the Work Search Program on the Work Release Program page.

Breastfeeding Accommodations

The benefits of breastfeeding for moms and babies are plentiful. Even the community benefits from breastfeeding; research shows that if 90% of babies breastfed exclusively for 6 months in the U.S., nearly 1,000 deaths and $18 billion in health care costs could be saved each year!

Breastfeeding individuals, and those who exclusively use a breast pump, may need information, support, and simple accommodations to maintain lactation or to safely wean and stop milk production without the risk of infection or serious health concerns. Milk must be expressed/pumped as often as the baby nurses, or takes a bottle, throughout each day (typically every two to four hours) to keep the lactating person comfortable, to prevent infection, and maintain an adequate milk supply.

To support women in a dignified and respectful manner, the Denver Sheriff Department (DSD) created the Inmate Lactation Support Policy, the purpose of which is to support inmates in maintaining an adequate milk supply, provide expressed milk to their child(ren), and/or to safely wean and prevent serious medical complications. The DSD offers educational materials, breast pumps and supplies, as well as a dedicated lactation space. Those in our care may also utilize the Milk Storage and Transport Program, which provides frozen storage of human milk for three days and may be picked up for the inmate's child(ren).

Those in our custody who are lactating will receive:

  • A new hand pump at intake within four hours of identified need or request.
  • A new breast pump collection kit/supplies for use with an electric breast pump.
  • An assigned locker to store pump supplies (available at the Denver County Jail).
  • Access to the locker/pump supplies, the pump, and a lactation location (other than a bathroom) to express milk that is shielded from view and free from general intrusion.
  • Reasonable time – at least every three to four hours over a 24-hour period, or as needed – for up to 30 minutes each time, to pump or hand express milk to maintain an adequate milk supply. (Access is based on the inmate’s needs for milk expression and shall be accommodated as quickly as possible to provide a consistent schedule and prevent pain and medical complications.)
  • Access to a sink and cleaning supplies to properly wash hands and pump parts between uses (and discard human milk, if needed).
  • The option to participate in the Milk Storage and Transport Program, which includes: a) human milk storage bags and labels and b) access to the designated freezer to store milk.
  • A lactation consultation (Denver Health staff) within 24 hours of a submitted request.

Faith Services

The Religious Services staff is responsible for assuring people have the opportunity to participate in religious practices deemed essential to their faith while incarcerated. This is accomplished through the leadership of the Inmate Programs Chaplain and trained religious services volunteers, representing churches and other faith-based organizations in the community. Religious services include bible study, religious studies, worldview classes, and more.

On a weekly basis, services and bible studies are held.

Annually, hundreds of people receive individual spiritual counseling through the Sheriff Department chaplains and/or volunteers from various church organizations.

When a religious leader of an inmate’s faith is not represented through volunteers, the chaplain assists the inmate in contacting such a person. 

In addition, local churches and/or charitable organizations donate the majority of religious reading materials distributed in the jails.

The Denver Sheriff Department is fortunate to have the support of numerous religious leaders in the community to provide services to people of different faiths.

Food & Wellness

It is the mission of the Denver Sheriff’s Food Service Department to ensure that all inmates housed in our facilities receive meals that are nutritionally balanced, diverse, and prepared and served in the manner that upholds industry standards for health and safety.

Meals
Inmates receive three meals per day (breakfast, lunch & dinner). Bread is also baked on premises weekly. Food is prepared daily under controlled sanitary conditions. All meals have been approved by an independent Registered Dietician to ensure balance and variety.

Religious Diets
We provide religious meals that are reviewed by certified personnel to ensure adherence to religious requirements. We are also observant of food needs for religious holidays.

Special Medical Diets
Our partnership with the Medical Department provides immediate communication for inmates with special dietary and health needs. Special medical diets are verified before all meal times.

Home Detention Eligibility

Unless specified by the court, only inmates sentenced through County Court are eligible for the Sheriff Home Detention Program

Here is some information on eligibility and policies of the program:

  • Sentenced to 35 days or more and half of that time spent in jail
  • Spend 10 days or more in the Sheriff Home Detention Program
  • Electronic monitoring required
  • Proof of a suitable residence
  • Subject to random alcohol and drug testing
  • May work, if employed
  • Physical job search is not allowed
  • Random, unannounced home and job site checks by uniformed officer
  • Must have a disposition compatible with this program

Housing

To appropriately classify individuals who enter our correctional facilities, we use two models: Direct Supervision and Objective Classification Direct Supervision Model.

The Direct Supervision model combines two key elements:

  1. The physical design of the jail and housing units
  2. Inmate management strategy

Direct supervision jails focus on actively managing the behavior of those in their care to ensure a safe and secure environment for inmates, staff, and visitors.

Staff interact continuously with inmates in the housing units, actively supervising them to identify problems in their early stages. They use basic management techniques to prevent negative behavior and encourage positive behavior. Staff assume control of the jail and establish a professional supervisory relationship with inmates. There are no barriers separating staff and inmates in the housing units.

The physical design of the jail supports the management of inmate behavior by reducing physical barriers that impede upon staff and inmate interaction and ensures clear sightlines into all areas of the housing units. Incorporating certain design elements in fixtures and furnishings promotes positive behavior, as well.

For more information, visit the National Institute of Corrections website.

Objective Classification relies on a narrow set of well-defined, standardized factors to determine housing and program needs within the jail. Some of these factors are:

  • Severity of current offense
  • Prior convictions
  • Prior incarcerations
  • Institutional behavior

For more information, visit the National Institute of Corrections website.

Mail Services

Mail addressed to the Downtown Detention Center or the County Jail will be returned to sender. Please address mail to:

[Inmate’s name], CD #
Denver Sheriff Department
P.O. Box 1108
Denver, CO 80201

Inmates may receive paperback books only and they must be shipped directly from a bookstore or publisher. Items not allowed to be given to someone in our care include stationery, hardcover books, or religious items.

Medical, Mental, Dental

Denver Health is a comprehensive, integrated organization providing level one care for all, regardless of ability to pay. Twenty-five percent of all Denver residents, or approximately 150,000 individuals, receive their healthcare at Denver Health. One in three children in Denver is cared for by Denver Health physicians.

As Colorado's primary safety net institution, Denver Health has provided billions of dollars in uncompensated care. Denver Health is an integrated, efficient, high-quality healthcare system serving as a model for other safety net institutions across the nation.

Denver Health's Mission:

  • Provide access to the highest quality health care, whether for prevention, or acute and chronic diseases, regardless of ability to pay
  • Provide life-saving emergency medicine and trauma services to Denver and the Rocky Mountain region
  • Fulfill public health functions as dictated by the Denver Charter and the needs of the citizens of Denver
  • Provide health education for patients
  • Participate in the education of the next generation of health care professionals
  • Engage in research, which enhances our ability to meet the health care needs of Denver Health system patients

Mental Health Services

The behavioral health services team consists of psychologists, psychiatrists, advanced practicing nurses, nursing staff, case managers, and social workers. They work together to provide the best care to those in our care. Services include medication management, individual therapy, group therapy, and case management. The High Acuity Transition (HAT) unit is located at the Downtown Detention Center and is a voluntary program designed for inmates with chronic and persistent mental illness.

The Male and Female Transition Units are located at the County Jail and provide clinical and transitional services to appropriate inmates with mental illness. A 30-day prescription for psychiatric medications is provided to inmates released into the community from Denver County in order to encourage a continuum of care.

Learn more about Denver Health by visiting denverhealth.org.

Programs & Inmate Wellness

The mission of the Denver Sheriff Department (DSD) Programs Unit is to build opportunities around successful transition. Empowering people to be productive members of the community through collaboration with community-based partners benefits the community as a whole.

Programs operates out of the Van-Cise Simonet Downtown Detention Center and the Denver County Jail. To learn more about these locations, visit our Contacts webpage.

Some of the programs that are offered vary by location, however, both locations provide the following services:

  • Journaling:
    Self-study journals in English and Spanish, referred to as Carey Guides, address the following key life areas: thoughts and beliefs, coping/self-control skills, friends, family/relationships, alcohol and/or drug use, and use of free time. There are fourteen journals that you can work through and they will be assigned one at a time upon request to Programs.
  • Denver Human Services Outreach:
    Eligibility determination for health insurance options and food assistance upon release.
  • Religious Counseling and Services:
    Spiritual counseling through the chaplain and volunteers from outside organizations. Religious items, reading materials, as well as religious diets.
  • Reentry Services:
    Services to assist inmates through case management, classes, and community resource information prior to and after being released provided by Transition from Jail to Community Collaborative (TJCC).
  • Mental Health Assistance:
    Mental health screening and therapy provided by the Denver Health team and include mental health Transition Units at County Jail and High Acuity Transition unit at DDC. 
  • Educational Development
    Preparation and testing for those looking to obtain a GED while in custody.

The Downtown Detention Center offers:

  • Productive Day:
    Provides a wealth of information and enrichment on a large scale to as many people as possible with a limited amount of time available. Productive Day provides educational DVD videos that are played twice daily during specific hours.
  • Change Pod:
    Designed to focus on transition resources concentrating on inmates who are motivated for change. The program provides core cognitive, substance abuse and case management sessions, and education to assist offenders with establishing a foundation for change that will lead to better decision making.

The County Jail offers:

  • Reentry Program
    • Identify criminogenic needs as a result of an evidence-based assessments
    • Enrollment in jail-based interventions, such as cognitive behavioral interventions, job readiness, career assessments, healthy relationships, anger management, parenting, education, and financial health
  • Substance Abuse Programs
    • R.I.S.E. (Recovery In a Secured Environment):
      Peer-led intensive substance abuse and alcohol treatment program; priority is given to inmates who are court-ordered into RISE
    • Substance Abuse Education:
      Substance abuse and alcohol recovery education program
    • Relapse Prevention:
      Trauma and Substance Abuse education specifically affecting the female population

Other Programs

  • Yoga:
    Controlled exercise, meditation, and breathing
  • Project Bedtime Story:
    Allows inmates to voice-record bedtime story reading for young children; promotes family well-being and connection

For more details on programs and services offered according to location, download the following documents:
Downtown Detention Center Programs & Services(PDF, 282KB)
Denver County Jail Programs & Services(PDF, 287KB)

Property Information

Property belonging to a person in our care can be retrieved from the Vehicle Impound Facility (VIF) – visit the VIF webpage for details.

Property can be released to someone else as long as the inmate allows, having authorized the release of property. Property requests cannot be completed by mail and property will not be mailed to a requestor--it must be picked up in person. Here is a list of what is needed from the person in our care and the person picking up the property:

Must-Haves for Releasing Property (Inmate):

  • Authorize release of property

Must-Haves for Retrieving Property:

  • Valid government photo ID--state or federal--such as a driver's license, state ID, passport, or military ID
  • Fill out a property release request at the Downtown Detention Center:
    490 Colfax Ave.
    Denver, CO 80204
  • You must be present when the officer presents the property

If the property is released to you, you will be responsible for taking all of the inmate's property at that time. You will not be allowed to pick and choose which items will be released. Prior to your arrival, please make arrangements to take the entirety of the property home with you. The facility does not have bags for boxes for the toting of property.

You cannot drop property off to an inmate. Inmates can purchase sundries, underwear, and t-shirts from the commissary. Inmates are provided shoes and other clothing by the facility.

You cannot bring in stationery, religious items or books to an inmate. However, you can mail books to an inmate directly from a store or publisher.

Reception (Intake)

The intake process includes the following steps:

  • Persons are searched
  • A digital mugshot and right index fingerprint are taken
  • Individuals receive medical and mental health evaluations by medical staff 
  • Property is inventoried and a thorough pat search and metal detector search is performed 
  • Fingerprint cards are sent electronically to the Federal and Colorado Bureau of Investigations for clearance
  • A check for additional warrants is made by the Denver Police Department Identification Bureau once fingerprints are classed and searched

Booking times vary as many things can prolong the identification process–it usually takes 2 - 6 hours to be fully processed through the intake system. The jail has no control over how long the process will take.

ICE holds are immigration holds. Any questions regarding the ICE processes should be directed to the ICE detention center:
3130 North Oakland St.
Aurora, Colorado 80010
303-361-0723

Send Money to Someone in Our Care

There are three ways to place monies on an account for someone in our care. Each way requires a Criminal Descriptor number which can be found by doing an Inmate Search:

  1. Lobby Kiosk:
    Payments can be made by kiosk–cash or credit card–located at the Downtown Detention Center (490 Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80206) or the Denver County Jail (10500 E Smith Rd, Denver, CO 80239).
  2. Money Order:
    Only a US Postal Service money order (no other money orders/checks will be accepted) for an inmate's account. Write the name and CD number of the person in our care directly onto the money order to ensure the money goes to the correct person.  
    In person:
    The US Postal Service money order can be dropped off at the information desk at either the Downtown Detention Center (490 Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80206) or the Denver County Jail (10500 E Smith Rd, Denver, CO 80239). 
    Mail:
    Money order can also be mailed to PO Box 1108, Denver, Colorado 80201
  3. Online Pay:
    Monies can be placed on an inmate’s account by going to Access Corrections

Money can be withdrawn from an account if agreed to by the inmate and they have ample funds in their account. A valid government issued ID will be required to make this request.

Calling Cards

In order to receive calls from a person in our care, you need to create an account with Securus Technologies. To set up an account with Securus, visit their website at www.securustech.net or call 800-844-6591.

Did you pay into GlobalTel*Link (GTL), our previous telephone service provider? Because GTL monies will not transfer to Securus, you'll want to contact them to get a refund at 877-650-4249 or www.gtl.net

A GTL agent will either process the requested refund or provide instructions for receiving a refund by mail.

If refunding to a credit or debit card, a GTL agent will submit a refund request after obtaining the card details from the customer over the phone. A credit should appear on the card account within 30 - 60 business days.

If refunding a Western Union or money order payment, GTL will submit a refund request to the agency. 

Requesting a refund online? Follow these steps:

  • Select Inmate Friends and Family Members
  • Select Global Tel*Link Billing Support
  • Select Refund Inquiry Support

Sending in a written refund request? 

  • Refund checks are mailed from GTL within 30 - 60 business days after the refund request is processed.