Trending Topics

For first time in state history, Colo. enacts statewide jail standards

The standards set baselines for several jail conditions, including prenatal care for pregnant women, the use of force on inmates and the basic rights of those in the jails

Colorado State Penitentiary

Colorado State Penitentiary. (Dreamstime/TNS)


By Seth Klamann
The Denver Post

DENVER — For the first time in state history, Colorado’s system of jails will soon be required to follow a minimum set of standards and hold regular inspections of its facilities under a new oversight program signed into law Monday.

A group of advocates, law enforcement officials, attorneys and experts have worked on the standards since 2022, when the legislature approved a framework to oversee the state’s more than 50 jails and the thousands of people incarcerated inside them. The standards set baselines for a spectrum of jail conditions, including prenatal care for pregnant women, the use of force on inmates and the basic rights of those in the jails.

The safety of your personnel, your facility and your inmates depend on inspections. In the video below, Gordon Graham talks about the importance of performing necessary inspections regularly to avoid future problems.

The standards were approved late last year, and a law enacting them and establishing an oversight process was passed by the legislature in May. Gov. Jared Polis then signed it Monday. The law was sponsored by Democratic Reps. Judy Amabile and Lorena Garcia and Sens. James Coleman and Rhonda Fields.

Though the legislature has increasingly sought to regulate jail and prison operations, the state has never before had a uniform set of standards or mechanism to oversee jail conditions. Advocates have said that problems in jails usually only come to light through lawsuits.

“The framework that we have created will serve as the foundation for more work going forward to continue improving our jails, both for the sake of people experiencing incarceration and for the staff who work in the jails,” Meghan Baker, an attorney with Disability Law Colorado who led the standards-drafting process, said in a statement Tuesday.

The standards will be monitored by an advisory committee made up of law enforcement officers, two county commissioners, a public defender, a health care provider with experience in jails, and an advocate. Jails will be assessed for compliance at least every five years, though the Colorado Attorney General can make special assessments of individual facilities based on complaints.


©2024 MediaNews Group, Inc.
Visit at
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.