Not a CBA Member? Join Now!
Find A Lawyer Directory
Legal Directory

TCL > February 2000 Issue > Court Business

February 2000       Vol. 29, No. 2       Page  103
From the Courts
Court Business

Court Business

Colorado Judicial Department
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Directives

Notice of Availability

A full set of the Chief Justice Directives may be purchased from the Colorado Judicial Department for $15, which includes copying, handling, and postage costs. Checks should be made payable to Colorado Judicial Department and should be mailed to: Court Services Division, Office of the State Court Administrator, 1301 Pennsylvania St., #300, Denver, CO 80203. Individual Chief Justice Directives will be assessed a $5 charge, pursuant to Chief Justice Directive 96-01, concerning standard research fees. Chief Justice Directives also are available from the Colorado Supreme Court homepage at: www.courts.state.

Publication in The Colorado Lawyer

Chief Justice Directives will be published on a space available basis in this "Court Business" section of The Colorado Lawyer. Some attachments may be omitted. To obtain a copy of attachments, contact the Court Services Division, Office of the State Court Administrator, 1301 Pennsylvania St., #300, Denver, CO 80203.


Supreme Court of Colorado
Office of the Chief Justice
Establishment of Statewide Probation Priorities

Directive establishing statewide probation priorities and their relationship to judicial district management practices; defining the authority of the Supreme Court to issue standards and guidelines for the administration of probation services; establishing authority and scope of contract probation services; and defining the role and responsibilities of the probation program review process, and the creation of the Probation Advisory Committee.

Probation services in Colorado promotes public safety through the delivery of four basic functions:

  • Pre-sentence investigation services to the courts;
  • Supervision and services to offenders based upon "risk of re-offending;"
  • Victim notification and assistance, and;
  • Development of community programs in response to specific offender, community and victim needs.

Public safety concerns require that offender supervision resources be directed toward the highest risk offenders in the community. The State Court Administrator shall submit to the Supreme Court for approval standards and procedural guidelines for the administration of probation services, including any specialized programs mandated by the general assembly. Each district shall develop policies and procedures that assure the maximum efficiency and effectiveness of available probation resources. Such procedures shall emphasize compliance with established standards approved by the Supreme Court.

PART I. Investigation Services

Investigation services shall be governed by the four levels of priority established in Table 1 on next page.

Allocation of appropriated investigation staff resources shall be based upon the priority order of services. Resource limitation may prevent a district from providing all priority one services, as well as lesser priority investigations. Districts may develop a plan, subject to policies established in this directive, to 1) modify the priorities when such modifications are determined necessary by the Chief Judge and/or 2) utilize contract probation services to provide supplemental support to probation officers in conducting priority two and three investigations. Such plans shall be submitted to the State Court Administrator's Office for review. The procedures for the use of contract probation services shall be as set forth in the Standards for Probation in Colorado, Standard 2.15.

All evaluations or pre-sentence investigations, ordered under this Part I, shall include the application of screening and assessment instruments developed by the State Court Administrator's Office.

A. District Court Investigations

District court investigation shall be provided in accordance with applicable law and Probation Standards, Section 5. Such standards provide for uniform assessment of offender risk, initial supervision planning and the evaluation of available sentencing options.

B. County Court Misdemeanor Investigations

Probation investigation resources are finite, limiting the availability of pre-sentence investigations in the county courts. In conjunction with the local probation department and other criminal justice agencies, the county courts may implement a screening and assessment procedure for priority 2 investigations, as set forth in Probation Standard 5-2.1. Such a process shall assist the court in determining referrals to the district probation department or to a contract probation provider. The initial screening and assessment procedure shall be administered by the sentencing court.

C. Domestic Violence Screening and Assessment

Domestic violence cases shall be initially screened, utilizing Probation Standard 5-2.2.

Domestic violence cases determined by the court to be a high risk for re-offending may be referred to the probation department for further evaluation or pre-sentence investigation.

Domestic violence cases determined by the court to be a lower risk for re-offending may be referred to other public or private entities, approved by the court, for further evaluation or pre-sentence investigation.

D. Victim Impact Statements

Victim Impact Statements shall be included in pre-sentence reports pursuant to CRS16-11- 102. Probation departments shall consider the victim impact statement when developing an initial supervision plan recommended to the court. Initial supervision recommendation should incorporate measures to assure victim safety. Reference Probation Standards 4-6, 5-7, 5-8.

PART II. Supervision Services

Supervision of probationers shall be governed by the principle of "risk of re-offending." The level of supervision shall be established based upon the initial assessment and subsequent reassessments by the probation department. Probationers considered "high risk", irrespective of offense classification or court of sentence shall receive priority services, and be supervised in accordance with Probation Standard 4-6. Given limited resources, non high-risk offenders, either felony or misdemeanor may be supervised by use of contract probation services, or other alternative means such as volunteer programs and administrative "banked" caseload approaches.

PART III. Supplemental Contract Probation Services

As provided in CRS 19-2-1501 and 16-11-202(2) districts may enter into agreements with public or private entities for the provision of probation services. Such agreements may be utilized for investigation services and the supervision of lower risk probationers. All fees for such services shall be paid by the offender. Procedures and contracting provision are set forth in Probation Standard 2-15 to 2-15.6.

PART IV. Victim Notification and Victim Services

Probation departments shall inform victims at critical stages of supervision as directed by CRS 24-4.1-303. Additionally, departments may expand victim services through the creation of victim services coordinators. Such activities shall be conducted in cooperation with other local victim services programs. Reference Probation Standards 2-8, 2-19 to 2-19.4

PART V. Community Initiatives: Restorative Justice

Probation is urged to provide the public with opportunities for input regarding the criminal justice system, and to provide assistance, education and support for communities harmed by criminal actions.

A. Public Education: Probation departments are urged to provide ongoing education in restorative and community justice to probation staff and the community at large.

B. Community Services: Probation should establish services and sentencing options available to the court that specifically address restoring the community harmed by a criminal action. These services may require establishing working associations and cooperative lines of communication between agencies, non-profit organizations, criminal justice officials, and the public at large.

PART VI. Probation Performance Review

A probation performance review, at the direction of the State Court Administrator, will be conducted in each judicial district. Reviews will address the performance of essential probation functions and practices (pre-sentence investigation/intake process; case planning; case management; specialized programs and issues). At least one essential function, specialized program or issue will be reviewed annually across all districts. The reviews will build upon one another, establishing a data base that will enable the Office of Probation Services and local probation departments to assess cases from the pre-sentence investigation through termination. The purposes of the review are: 1) to aid each probation department in assessing performance and program operation in accordance with the prescribed priorities, standards, guidelines and the case classification and assessment system; 2) to provide assistance to each probation department in meeting the objectives of probation within the available resources; 3) to aid each probation department in assessing their own performance and assessing contracting activities with respect to the utilization of supplemental probation services; 4) to assist each probation department in complying with state probation standards, statutes, Chief Justice Directives, Judicial Branch and Judicial District policies, and any specialized programs mandated by the general assembly; and 5) to facilitate the development of best practices through the analysis of the performance review data and dissemination of this information on a state-wide basis.

PART VII. Probation Advisory Committee

In order to coordinate the probation function within the Judicial Branch, and to facilitate communications between the judges and staff of the State Court Administrator's Office the Probation Advisory Committee is created. The Probation Advisory Committee shall consist of 16 members appointed for a two year term by the Chief Justice. The purposes of the Committee are: 1) to coordinate the activities of standing probation committees; 2) to initiate and review probation standards, policies and program development; 3) to serve as an advisory body to the Office of Probation Services; and, 4) to have its members serve as liaisons to their respective organizations. Membership shall include: one justice of the Supreme Court, two district court judges, one of whom shall be a chief judge serving as chair, two county court judges, four chief probation officers, two probation supervisors, two probation officers, two public at large members, and the Administrator of the Office of Probation Services. The chair shall convene the committee a minimum of four times per year, and may establish sub-committees to perform the tasks deemed appropriate to carry out the responsibilities of the committee.

This directive rescinds CJD 96-05.

DONE this 28th day of December 1999, effective January 1, 2000.

Mary J. Mullarkey
Chief Justice

TABLE 1 - Investigation Services Priority

Functions Priority 1 Priority 2 Priority 3 Priority 4
Adult Services  
   Presentence Investigations Felony 2-6 Misdemeanors Traf., Petty 1 Felony, Petty 2
   Deferred Sentence & Judgement Investigations   Felony 2-6   Misdemeanor, Traffic, Petty
   Pre-Plea Investigations       Felony, Misd., Traffic, Petty
   P.R. Bond Investigations       Felony, Misd., Traffic, Petty
   Domestic Violence Screening & Assessment Felony 2-6, Misdemeanor      
Juvenile Services  
   Social Summaries Deliquency     Dependency & Neglect
   Preliminary Investigations   Deliquency (F) Deliquency (M)  
   Pre-Plea Investigations       Deliquency
   Detention Investigations     Deliquency  
   Transfer Investigations Deliquency      

© 2000 The Colorado Lawyer and Colorado Bar Association. All Rights Reserved. Material from The Colorado Lawyer provided via this World Wide Web server is protected by the copyright laws of the United States and may not be reproduced in any way or medium without permission. This material also is subject to the disclaimers at