Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado

The Legal System and Brain Injury

The Brain Injury Alliance of  Colorado (BIAC) envisions our state to be one in which all survivors can thrive, including those that have been or are currently involved in the legal system. Research shows that individuals who have been incarcerated are 7 times more likely to have experienced a brain injury than the general population.

Our goal is to offer support for these individuals so they may improve their well-being and strengthen the greater community. We approach individuals involved in the legal system with the same compassion and nondiscriminatory mindset as we do for all survivors of an injury to the brain.

Prevalence of Brain Injury

(Shiroma, Ferguson, & Pickelsimer, 2010)

  • Over 2 million people are currently incarcerated (CDC)
  • TBI is associated with higher impulsivity, aggressive behavior and negative emotion ratings (Farrer, Frost, & Hedges, 2013)
  • Individuals who have been incarcerated with brain injuries:
    • Greater risk of mental health disorders
    • More likely to abuse substances
    • Greater risk of suicidal ideation & attempts
    • 50% higher rate of recidivism
    • Lower treatment completion rates
    • Higher rates of disciplinary incidents

(Piccolino & Solberg, 2014)

Number of Coloradan’s Involved in the Legal System 

(Sources and data notes:

Our Work with Professionals in the Legal System

Since 2014, BIAC has been partnering with agencies, universities, and state programs around Colorado to meet the needs of survivors and professionals in the legal system. We have created educational materials, trained professionals, and received referrals throughout the state. Our effort is to engage professionals in the legal system, including law enforcement, judicial staff, court professionals, correctional personnel, and re-entry agencies to provide training, collaboration and support for survivors.

Dr. Kim Gorgens, Clinical Professor of Psychology at the University of Denver

                                                           – Survivor involved in the legal system, Adams County Probation

Survivor involved in the legal system, Denver County Jail

BIAC’s Policy

As a 501(c)(3) we are a nonpartisan agency. BIAC uses our expertise in community resources to provide support directly to survivors and professionals in a legal systems context.
BIAC embraces a trauma-informed approach in all services and we recognize potential sensitivity to legal system related matters. Please note:

  1. We help individuals implement brain injury informed strategies to assist in overcoming challenges, build on strengths, and reduce risk factors that contribute to recidivism.
  2. We do not believe that having a brain injury excludes individuals from accountability nor does it excuse behavior. 
  3. We provide training and outreach to law enforcement and professionals in the legal system.
  4. We do not provide legal advocacy or legal testimony on an individual’s behalf.
  5. We are not medical professionals nor do we provide clinical consultations or recommendations.

BIAC’s Work in the Media

Additional Information and Material

Request a Training

Refer a Client for Support

*Please note that referrals for survivors who are in custody should be made no sooner than 30 days from release to the community or community corrections facility.

Contact Information

Denice Enriquez, CBIS

Program Manager - Statewide Legal Systems