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  • Anthony Martinez is 84-years-old and suffering from renal failure, as well as other serious medical conditions including dementia. He is currently incarcerated in the Sterling Correctional Facility, site of one of Colorado’s largest COVID-19 outbreaks with almost 600 active COVID-19 cases. He and his family are understandably terrified that he will catch the virus and die.

    In the midst of this public health crisis, incarcerated people as vulnerable as Anthony, could and should be immediately released to safely live out their remaining years with family.

    Read more about Anthony Martinez and other at-risk incarcerated people. 

  • Ronald Johnson is pre-diabetic, suffers from asthma and high blood pressure, and regularly uses an inhaler to breathe. His age and respiratory ailments put him at risk of serious illness and death if he contracts COVID-19. With over hundreds of active cases in Colorado’s prisons, his family fears he will not make it out alive. His daughter, Amber, says, “In prison, he can’t protect himself and he can’t social distance. My deep fear is that my dad will die in prison. That is an awful, traumatic reality to consider. My chest is tight just thinking about how quickly it spreads and how vulnerable he is.”

    Governor Hickenlooper shortened his sentence following testimony from family, friends and correctional officers advocating for his early release. Yet, he is still eight years away from parole. While he remains in prison, COVID-19 continues to spread. Ronald’s three siblings, four children and four grandchildren are desperate for his release.

    Read more about Ronald Johnson and other at-risk incarcerated people.

  • Tuesday Olson knew her pregnancy was in trouble and tried to access hospital care as soon as possible. But there was a problem: she was in jail. This is her story.
  • It’s time to end the death penalty in Colorado. Family members who lost loved ones to murder speak out against an unjust and broken system.

6,000 COLORADOANS ILLEGALLY EXCLUDED FROM VOTING

6,000 Coloradoans illegally excluded from voting

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 2, 2005

While thousands of Colorado citizens cast their ballots on November 1, more than 6,000 Coloradoans were illegally excluded from the polls by a state statute enacted in the early 1990s, according to Mark Silverstein, Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Colorado.

The Colorado statute forbids persons on parole from voting or registering to vote.

According to the ACLU, the Colorado Constitution provides that offenders lose their right to vote only during the time they are incarcerated in prison. Their right to vote is automatically restored when they complete their sentence and are released on parole, Silverstein said.

“More than 6,000 Coloradoans on parole have completed their prison sentence, and they should be entitled to vote under the Colorado Constitution,” Silverstein said. “But in the early 1990s, the Colorado legislature passed a statute that says that persons serving sentences of parole cannot vote and cannot register to vote. We believe that this Colorado statute violates the state constitution, and the ACLU plans to raise this issue in the legislature and the courts in the coming months.”

Around the country, as many as five million Americans are barred from voting by a variety of state laws that forbid convicted felons from voting for some period of time. In some states, felons are barred from voting for the rest of their lives. About a dozen states restore the right to vote when an offender leaves prison, and others restore the right to vote after parole is completed. In two states, prisoners can vote while they are serving their prison sentences.

“Restoring the right to vote to former prisoners is consistent with our country’s principles of fairness and equal protection,” Silverstein said. “We should encourage rehabilitation and reintegration into society. Former prisoners are more likely to respect our legal system and to feel they have a stake in society when they are not deliberately excluded from the democratic process.”

A number of organizations in recent years have criticized the harshness of state laws that deprive former prisoners of the right to vote. The American Bar Association supports restoring the right to vote, as does the American Correctional Association.



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