The purpose of this guide is to help Colorado criminal justice agencies, health care professionals and community organizations locate professional resources to assist justice involved individuals who qualify for Health First Colorado (Medicaid).
A person’s specific status and interaction with the criminal justice system may affect Health First Colorado (Medicaid) eligibility and other health care options. This online guide provides county level health-related and criminal justice-related information to help professionals in these fields build relationships and assist their clients with better access to care.
Glossary of Professional Guide Terms
There are 56 county jails in Colorado. County jails are run by a county sheriff and are funded through local government. Some Colorado counties do not operate their own jail but contract with a nearby county jail. County jails are commonly used to hold a variety of justice involved individuals, including those who may be serving a sentence for a misdemeanor or are being held in custody pretrial.
Individuals can be held in jail for a number of reasons:
- Pre-trial detainees: Refers to people that are in jail who have not been convicted of a criminal offense and have not (yet) made bond.
- Convicted – serving jail sentence: Refers to people who have been convicted and sentenced to serve a period of time in jail. Usually this is for a misdemeanor conviction but people can also be sentenced for a felony and required to do some jail time as a condition of probation. Some jails have a work-release program or weekender program that allows people to leave jail to go to work, school, treatment, and then return to jail either at night or over the weekend.
- Immigration hold/detainer: Some people can be in jail because Immigration Control Enforcement (ICE) has placed a hold or detainer pending a deportation investigation/hearing.
- Other law enforcement/court detainer/hold: A person can be in jail when another law enforcement agency or court has filed a detainer/hold because of pending criminal action in another jurisdiction.
- Pending probation revocation: If a person is on probation and is noncompliant, a probation officer can ask the court to revoke a person’s probation sentence for violation of a condition or supervision (or for committing a new crime). In this circumstance, an individual may be held in jail until the court holds a revocation hearing.
- Pending community corrections revocation: If a person is sentenced to community corrections and is noncompliant, a probation officer can ask the court to revoke the community corrections sentence. In this circumstance, an individual may be held in jail until the court holds a revocation hearing. Being in jail is usually temporary as the court will impose a new sentence, most often a prison sentence.
- Pending parole revocation: If a parolee is non-compliant, a parole officer can file a complaint requesting that the Parole Board revoke parole. The parolee may be taken to jail awaiting the parole revocation hearing.
The state judicial system is divided into 22 Judicial Districts. Each Judicial District manages its court system, which may include a number of District Courts, County Courts, and Specialty Courts. Judicial Districts also manage a probation department and a Chief Probation Officer is assigned to each Judicial District. Similarly, every District has an elected District Attorney who is responsible for prosecuting criminal cases in their respective district.
Health First Colorado (Medicaid)
Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid Program) is a low-cost, public health insurance program for Coloradans who meet income guidelines. Health First Colorado is funded jointly by the federal and state government and is administered by the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing.
Parole is a period of supervision after a person is released from prison. Common conditions of parole supervision include maintaining an approved residence, employment and attending any recommended treatment programs. Parole is a division within the Colorado Department of Corrections.
Probation is a sentence option for people convicted of either misdemeanor or felony offenses where the person is living in the community and under supervision of a probation officer with court oversight. Colorado probation officers are part of the judicial system and work as agents of the court.
Problem Solving Courts
Problem solving courts are special courts designed to deal with adult and juvenile defendants whose criminal behavior is directly related to a specific population or condition. For example, some of the problem solving courts in Colorado include: Recovery/Drug Court, Veterans Court, Mental Health Court and Family Court. Participants in problem solving courts must be referred by the district attorney, accepted into the specific court program, and agree to participate. Problem solving courts are managed by judicial districts.
Health First Colorado members are assigned a primary care provider who belongs to one of seven regional organizations. Which regional organization your client is connected with will depend on who their primary care provider is. Each regional organization connects Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid Program) clients to Health First Colorado providers, including physical and behavioral health services, and also helps Health First Colorado clients find community and social services in their area. Each regional organization helps providers and patients communicate with each other, so that Health First Colorado clients receive coordinated care. A regional organization will also help Health First Colorado clients get the right care when they are returning home from the hospital or a nursing facility, by providing the support needed for a quick recovery. All regional organizations have a care coordinator who is focused specifically on justice involved people as they transition back to community from incarceration.