Skip to main content
Colorado General AssemblyToggle Main Menu
Agency NameToggle Agency Menu

Use Of Restraint And Seclusion On Individuals

Concerning statutory provisions related to the use of seclusion on individuals, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.
2016 Regular Session
Children & Domestic Matters
Crimes, Corrections, & Enforcement
Human Services
Bill Summary

The act strengthens the safety provisions for the use of restraint and seclusion on youths who are being detained in a secure state-operated or state-owned facility (facility). Language is added to clarify that restraint or seclusion must never be used as a punishment, sanction, part of a treatment plan, for retaliation, or for protection, except in the case of demonstrated emergencies.

The division of youth corrections (division) within the state department of human services (department) may place a youth in emergency seclusion for a maximum of no more than 4 consecutive hours in a calendar day unless a prescribed protocol is followed, including examination by a mental health professional, for an extended emergency situation, including documentation of the incident. If the emergency situation continues and the youth is in seclusion for 8 total hours in a 2-calendar-day period, the division must obtain a court order to continue the seclusion.

The division may confine a youth in a room alone if such confinement is part of a routine practice that is applicable to substantial portions of the population and is imposed only for the completion of administrative tasks and lasts no longer than necessary to achieve the task safely and effectively.

If an agency uses seclusion:
  • Staff shall adhere to strict timeline protocols for youth in seclusion for emergency situations, including having a staff member check the youth's safety at varying intervals, but at least every fifteen minutes, and within one hour and every hour thereafter a staff member must notify the facility director or his or her designee and obtain written approval of the use of seclusion;
  • Within 12 hours, the facility shall notify the youth's parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the fact of and need for the seclusion; and
  • If the emergency requiring seclusion continues beyond 4 hours, the division may only continue the seclusion if a qualified mental health professional who has met with the youth, or the facility director or his or her designee, determines that referral of the youth to a mental health facility is not warranted, and the director of the division, or his or her designee, approves the use of seclusion at or before the conclusion of 4 hours and every hour thereafter.

A division facility that utilizes seclusion is required to ensure that all staff who are involved with the use of restraint and seclusion are properly trained in the health and behavioral effects of such action, effective de-escalation techniques, positive versus negative reinforcement, and methods for implementing positive behavior incentives.

Additional reporting requirements are imposed in the act. The division is required to keep specific documentation, including incident reports, on file for each individual placed in seclusion. The division shall provide semi-annual compilation reports to the youth seclusion working group (working group), created in the act. Similarly, any facility that operates for the purpose of detaining youth shall report semi-annually to the public health and human services committee of the house of representatives and the health and human services committee of the senate, or any successor committees, on its use of seclusion. The division is required to meet the reporting requirements, to the extent possible, using its current reporting mechanisms. The division shall fully comply with all reporting requirements of the act on or before January 1, 2018.

The working group is created to study the issues surrounding the use and effect of seclusion on youth. The working group is repealed, effective September 1, 2024.

The act appropriates $4,900 for the 2016-17 state fiscal year for the provision of legal services by the department of law as related to the act.

(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)


Became Law


Bill Text

The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details