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.

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

CJDC will carefully review the YOS evaluation and its recommendations.

YOS Parent & Family Association Flyer

For more information, or to tell about us your experience at YOS, or the experience of your child at YOS, please contact CJDC at