Adult offenders in the fourth-largest county in Colorado spend time in the Jefferson County Detention Center. The 388,000 square feet jail holds about 1,300 inmates in various security units and housing areas for both male and female offenders.
Constructed in 1986, an expansion project in 1999 converted the jail to a utilitarian building that was redesigned to ensure lower operating costs while increasing the size and maximizing security. Like modern correctional facilities in the state, the facility also spots recreation yards, an online law library, and multipurpose rooms.
The Sheriff’s Office is in charge of the Jefferson County Jail, and upon arrest or incarceration, jail staff will book an inmate. Booking is a standard criminal procedure that involves collecting the inmate’s personal and criminal information and uploading it to a database. The Sheriff’s Office makes this information available to interested members of the public and the press alike. To find information about an inmate, you may visit the facility in person or contact the records unit on the telephone via:
200 Jefferson County Parkway
Golden, CO 80419
Phone: (303) 271-5542; (303) 271-5444
Alternatively, you may use Inmate Lookup, an online database of inmates currently housed at the Jefferson County Jail. Using the Inmate Lookup is the fastest way to obtain information on an inmate because the Sheriff’s Office updates booking information every fifteen (15) minutes. To use the online tool, however, you need to know the offender’s name or booking number. Upon query, the database returns search results, and you may click on a result to obtain more information. Some of the information available to online searchers includes the offender’s charges, bond details, court dates, and release date.
Attorneys and loved ones can also visit an inmate at the jail or via remote video visitations during designated hours. The length and frequency of in-person visits depend on the security classification as well as the housing unit of the inmate. On the other hand, there is no limitation to the frequency of scheduled video visitations, but the visitor must pay applicable charges. Regardless of how you want to visit an inmate, you must schedule and confirm visitations at least 24 hours in advance. Furthermore, all in-person visitors must be on the inmate’s visitation list, comply with the facility’s dress code, and carry a government-issued photo ID at all times.
Inmate life at Jefferson County Jail is, for the most part, uneventful, but the jail encourages inmates to participate in self-development programs. Most activities are designed to teach inmates necessary life skills that facilitate successful reintegration into society after completing their sentences.
Meanwhile, Jefferson County Jail is among the correctional facilities hard-hit by COVID-19, according to the Denver Post. The health crisis that halted economic activities, and impeded the pace of the criminal justice system, could not have been more badly timed. The correctional facility had announced budget cuts in the face of limited government spending and a rise in the jail population. The budget cut, which is expected to extend into the 2021 fiscal year, remains a hotly debated topic among county officials.
Regarding reasons for the cut, the county commissioner Cassey Tighe cited Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights Act (TABOR). The Act uses a formula to limit government spending on public services in relation to tax revenue. Some of the services affected include education and public safety. Although Jefferson County adjusted spending to accommodate inflation and growth, there remains a 1.5 percent total deficit that made the cuts in operating costs inevitable. Nevertheless, Tighe opines that the current formula is far from current reality and will continue to constrain the government’s ability to provide optimum services, especially in the middle of a public health crisis.
In response to the budget cut, the Sheriff had to close a floor at the jail and release eligible inmates early. These measures, however, did little to ease the pressure on amenities and infrastructure at the correctional facility. As of September 2020, the Sheriff’s office continues to release more inmates and eschew taking new offenders into custody. In an earlier interview, the Sheriff said that he will continue to weigh available options even as his priority remains public safety. Activities at the Jefferson County jail continue, albeit at less than capacity and under public health guidelines.
Meanwhile, Jefferson County operates several reformatories and assessment centers for juvenile offenders in the county. Unlike the correctional program for adult offenders, which is under the Colorado Department of Corrections, juvenile reformatory programs are managed by the Colorado Department of Human Services in partnership with the judiciary and other government agencies.
One of such facilities is Mount View Youth Services Center. The center operates as a public school for juvenile offenders and at-risk youths. Mount View also partners with Jefferson County Public Schools to provide continuing education for students at the center. Thus, students get credits for coursework taken at Mount View, which is forwarded to the students’ neighbourhood school.
While the facility also operates as a co-ed detention center, the families of students are encouraged to see their loved ones after scheduling visitations. The facility is located at:
7862 West Mansfield Parkway
Lakewood CO 80235
Phone: (303) 987-4575
Fax: (303) 987-4564
Similarly, the Jefferson County Juvenile Assessment Center (JCJAC), is a preventive program that integrates family welfare with the assessment of at-risk youth and juvenile offenders. However, unlike Mount View, the JCJAC is not a detention center and primarily works with juveniles and their family. Furthermore, all assessment reports by JCJAC are confidential and the center does not provide confidential reports to law enforcement — even as part of ongoing criminal investigation.
The center is located at:
11011 West 6th Avenue
Suite 120, Remington Building
Lakewood, CO 80215
Phone: (720) 497-7770
Despite their method of operations, Mount View Youth Center and the Juvenile Assessment Center often work together. According to the system flow, juveniles who are arrested by law enforcement are held at Mount View. Likewise, the Juvenile Assessment Center may refer a juvenile to Mount View for continuing education. As they move through trial stages, juveniles spend their time at Mount View and the court may sentence them to a period of detention at the facility.