La Cole has more than 30 years of experience in corrections, having worked in both male and female prisons, community corrections, and parole. She held various management positions and oversaw residential community corrections programs including specialized programs such as therapeutic community, youthful offenders, boot camp, and a work release program in a county jail.
She began her career at a private community corrections facility, then went to work for the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) as a correctional officer. Her work there included duties as a parole officer and criminal and administrative investigator. As a parole officer, she developed expertise in working with parolees with mental and substance use disorders.
La Cole began implementing the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) in 2004 and later, the national PREA standards into the CDOC. As the department’s first PREA coordinator, she developed its PREA policy and created processes to prevent, detect, report, and respond to sexual abuse and sexual harassment. Under her direction, the agency became compliant with PREA standards in all their facilities. She retired from the CDOC in 2016.
She was certified as a PREA auditor in February 2014 and has since conducted PREA audits of both adult and juvenile facilities. La Cole began working with the National PREA Resource Center in 2016 as a consultant and joined its team in 2018 as a Senior Program Associate for Training and Technical Assistance. She earned a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Colorado at Denver and has taught criminal justice and management classes for the University of Phoenix for the past 12 years.