Colorado Rights Blog

Alejandra Garza By: Alejandra Garza 4.16.2014

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: The bill passed out of committee on a unanimous 5-0 vote.

Read the testimony given by our Public Policy Director, Denise Maes, during the House committee hearing on February 25

Original ACLU press release on results of investigation into Colorado debtors’ prisons

Denver Post article: “Colorado cities jail poor who can’t pay fines for minor offenses”

AP article: “Jail for fines? Colo. lawmaker wants to end policy”



  • 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.