Statement of ACLU of Colorado Public Policy Director Denise Maes
“Today’s unanimous passage of Senate Bill 64 is further evidence of a growing consensus among lawmakers, prison officials, and civil liberties advocates in Colorado that warehousing prisoners with mental illness in long-term solitary confinement is a cruel, costly, and unlawful practice that unnecessarily jeopardizes public safety.
“The legislation, championed by Senator Jesse Ulibarri, solidifies and provides critical funding to implement reforms initiated recently by the Department of Corrections to provide adequate out-of-cell treatment for prisoners with serious mental illness, rather than sticking those prisoners in 23 hour-a-day solitary cells. Treatment aimed at rehabilitation is critical, because 97% of today’s prison population will eventually be back in our communities and live as our neighbors.
“The ACLU of Colorado urges swift action in the House to finalize this groundbreaking legislation and deliver it to the Governor.”
Visit the Stop Solitary campaign page: http://aclu-co.org/campaigns/stop-solitary/
Out of Sight, Out of Mind – The Story of Sam Mandez: http://vimeo.com/78840078
Read our report on mentally ill Colorado prisoners in solitary confinement: http://aclu-co.org/news/co-prisons-continue-to-warehouse-mentally-ill-in-solitary-confinement