ACLU of Colorado Assists Colorado Department of Corrections Prisoner in Obtaining Proper Medical Care

Criminal Justice


With the assistance of the ACLU of Colorado, a prisoner in Fremont Correctional Facility was able to receive new, unused colostomy bags as required by his physician. The prisoner wrote that he had noticed blood in his stool and urine and started having intense abdominal pain earlier in the year. After much struggle with the prison officials, the prisoner finally received a medical evaluation and was diagnosed with cancer and scheduled for surgery. The surgery removed the tumor and part of the prisoner’s colon, requiring the prisoner thereafter to use a colostomy bag to collect his stools. Despite the doctor’s orders that he should use a new bag once a week because of the serious potential for infection, prison officials refused the prisoner’s numerous requests for a new colostomy bag. Instead, they told the prisoner that they didn’t have the money for new bags and that he should just “wash out” the old one and use it over and over again. As a result, the prisoner began to develop a rash and infection around the skin area where the bag connected to his body. With the help of the ACLU of Colorado, the prisoner drafted and filed grievance noting the prison’s duty to provide medical care for indigent prisoners and directly challenging the prison’s rationale for denying such care. As a result, the prison reversed its earlier position and agreed to provide the prisoner with a new hygienic colostomy bag on a weekly basis. In a letter to the ACLU the prisoner said, “thank you for your help, if it would not had been for you I would of never been able to get the bags.”


Taylor Pendergrass , ACLU of Colorado Staff Attorney

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