Youthful Offender System (YOS)

If you are trying to reach YOS, click here for YOS contact information.

The Colorado Juvenile Defender Center is an advocacy organization that monitors the treatment of youth in secure facilities.

The Youthful Offender System (YOS) is a medium security prison created in 1994 for 14 to 17 year old youth who were prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced as adults.  A 2009 law expanded YOS to admit young adults who were 18-19 years old at the time of the crime if they were under 21 at sentencing was re-enacted during the 2013 legislative session.

You can access the YOS annual reports here since 2000:

Click here for the 2019 YOS Annual Report

The Division of Criminal Justice is mandated by statute to conduct a bi-annual evaluation of the Youthful Offender System and present the findings and recommendations to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. Please see below for the Prior Evaluations and keep your eyes peeled for the 2020 YOS Evaluation.

Click here for the 2018 YOS Evaluation 

Click here for the 2016 YOS Evaluation

Click here for the 2014 YOS Evaluation

Click here for the 2012 YOS Evaluation

Richard Ross YOS _Orentation Traininig


Richard Ross: “Orientation Training Phase, Youth Offender System, Pueblo, Colorado, 1” (2010, Digital Inkjet Print, 24”x38”). Courtesy Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York. See Richard Ross: Juvenile-In-Justice Exhibit. Ross focuses on the lives and stories of incarcerated youth. Over the course of five years, Ross has visited more than 200 institutions in 31 states and has spoken with more than 1,000 juveniles. This exhibition is a moving reminder that the U.S.’s heavy reliance on juvenile incarceration is unique among the world’s developed nations.

Every youth sentenced to YOS has a permanent adult felony conviction, even if they complete the program.

In 2010, 82% of YOS admissions were Black and Hispanic Youth.

You can read more about the history and operations of YOS in CJDC’s Re-Directing Justice report, which also detailed the following concerns:

  • lack of mental health treatment
  • lack of evidenced-based adolescent intervention programming
  • lack of gender-specific programming for girls
  • lack of staff with prior juvenile experience
  • lack of stringent recidivism measures

YOS Parent/Family Association

Click here to access the YOS PARENT ASSOC GUIDE Jan 2019

The YOS Parent and Family Association is a self-supported organization, made up of parents and family members of YOS residents, with no direct affiliation with the Colorado Department of Corrections. The mission of our organization is to provide support to one another while navigating the YOS system and making sure the needs and the rights of our loved ones are being met. The Parents Association is available for guidance to the new parents and families and can answer questions about the visitation process, dress code, provide clarification on peer levels and any other miscellaneous issues that come up.

Throughout the year, the Association organizes fundraising events in an effort to sponsor various special events such as a pizza party and treats for the residents on New Year’s Day, as well as a Holiday celebration with gifts for residents at Christmas and other holidays.

For more information about the association or you have any questions, send an email to and someone will respond as soon as possible.