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Colorado Legislature Approves Ban on Debtors’ Prisons

DENVER -The Colorado Senate today overwhelmingly passed a ban on the practice of jailing people for being too poor to pay fines.   The legislation, which was unanimously approved by the House earlier this month, follows an in-depth investigation by the ACLU of Colorado that found that many Colorado cities and some county courts order the arrest and imprisonment of poor persons who miss payments of fines and court fees without a process to determine whether a person has the ability to pay, as the.... | Read More

Criminal Justice, Stop Solitary | April 22nd, 2014

Prepared Remarks of Public Policy Director Denise Maes on SB14-64, Limiting the Use of Solitary Confinement for Mentally Ill Prisoners

The physical details of a person's daily experience in isolated confinement is worth examining.  The cells are a bit bigger than a king sized bed and the offender spends 22 plus hours a day there.  In this environment, you sleep, eat and defecate - one lives their entire daily life in that cell. In Colorado, the average length of time one remains in solitary confinement is approximately 14 months.  All experts agree that long-term isolation should not extend beyond 30 days. 30 days versus 14.... | Read More

LGBT Equality, Marriage Equality | April 21st, 2014

Veterans Stand Up for Marriage Equality in New Ad from Why Marriage Matters Colorado

DENVER – In its ongoing work to demonstrate that the broad majority of Coloradans support the freedom to marry, today Why Marriage Matters Colorado, a coalition of state and national organizations, released a 30-second television spot featuring a group of local veterans standing up for their gay comrade in arms. The ad, launched on television statewide this morning, will air tonight during NBC’s “The Voice.” The spot features three military veterans who, together with their friend, U.S..... | Read More

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Stories of Debtors’ Prison

Today our debtors’ prison bill, which is aimed at ending the common practice in Colorado of jailing poor people for failure to pay fines, passed the state legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support.  This victory is the result of two years of hard work and collaboration. In addition to bill sponsors Representative Joe Salazar and Senator Lucia Guzman, we commend  and thank Jared Thornburg and Linda Roberts, the two Coloradans who chose to share their experiences with legislators and helped.... | Read More

LGBT Equality, Marriage Equality | April 21st, 2014

WATCH: Service members support the freedom to marry in Colorado

I served in the U.S. Army in Desert Storm and Panama from 1985 until 1993. It was in the service that I learned the true value of freedom. After I retired, I married my wife Susan. Together, we’re now raising our two sons in Denver. But my friend Sgt. Metcalf, who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, is not afforded the same freedom—despite putting his life on the line to defend this country. See, Sgt. Metcalf is gay and in Colorado, he’s denied the freedom to marry the person he loves. I.... | Read More

Senate Judiciary to hear debtors’ prison bill today

The Senate Judiciary committee will be hearing testimony on HB14-1061 this afternoon. The bill would force Colorado municipalities to comply with existing Constitutional and Colorado laws requiring courts to determine whether a person is too poor to pay their court fines and fees before throwing them in jail for failing to pay. The bill, sponsored by Thornton Rep. Joe Salazar, is the result of a two-year statewide ACLU investigation into the use of these practices by municipal courts. UPDATE:.... | Read More



  • Executive Director Nathan Woodliff-Stanley spoke at the marriage equality rally on March 3rd

  • Leisel Kemp, whose brother Jason was killed by CSP after they entered his home without a warrant, spoke at the 2013 Bill of Rights Dinner about the ACLU’s legal advocacy on behalf of her family.

  • Out of Sight, Out of Mind is an original short film from the ACLU of Colorado about a man who has spent 17 years in solitary confinement and now suffers from debilitating mental illness.

  • A small sampling of the many Coloradans who are grateful to our legislators for making civil unions happen last year.

ACLU of Colorado Campaigns

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Campaign - new Death PenaltyDeath Penalty
The ACLU of Colorado is committed to ending the use of the death penalty in Colorado. Colorado's use of the death penalty is immoral, unjust, and expensive. The death....

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Campaign-Marriage EqualityMarriage Equality
The ACLU of Colorado is committed to bringing full marriage equality to Colorado. In 2013, Colorado took a big step forward by recognizing civil unions for same-sex....

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Campaign-Debtors-PrisonEnd Debtors’ Prisons
The ACLU of Colorado is committed to ending the illegal practice of jailing Coloradans for being too poor to pay fines. Debtors' prisons have long been forbidden under....

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Campaign-Stop-SolitaryStop Solitary
The ACLU of Colorado is committed to ending the use of long-term solitary confinement, especially for people with serious mental illness. Every day, hundreds of prisoners....

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