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
Watch Stephen Colbert skewer the mad scramble for “silent but deadly” executions
The Colbert Report Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Indecision Political Humor,Video Archive The struggle to find drugs to carry out lethal injection has made headlines all over the country and was recently featured on Comedy Central's The Colbert Report. Pharmaceutical companies who make these drugs have started to ban their sale for executions, and states are scrambling to find alternatives, with many dangerous consequences. An Oklahoma execution.... | Read More
Only in America: 16-Year-Old Locked Up for the Rest of His Life
(From the ACLU Blog of Rights) By Steven M. Watt, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program & Allison Frankel, Criminal Law Reform Project, ACLU Juwan Wickware wasn't the shooter. But he and more than 2,500 others nationwide will enter prison as teenagers, grow into adults, and die – all behind bars. This is not right. The sentence must fit the crime, and we cannot throw away kids' lives. Here's Juwan's story: When he was 16, he and another young kid robbed a pizza deliveryman..... | Read More
Re: “Leave solitary to prison officials,” March 12 editorial.
The Denver Post editorial board’s suggestion that Colorado leave the issue of solitary confinement to prison officials is an approach that has been tried for three decades and, until very recently, has failed. Colorado Department of Corrections Director Rick Raemisch has made commendable progress toward reducing the use of prolonged solitary confinement, particularly for prisoners with serious mental illness. But change in DOC leadership at some point in the future is not merely a possibility;.... | Read More
A Room of One’s Own
When I found out that I was pregnant with twins, I was incredibly excited and also completely terrified. There were so many things to learn, including whether or not I would be able to breastfeed two infants. And then, 9 weeks before their due date, my babies decided that they were ready to make their appearance. They were tiny - both under 4 pounds - and not ready to be out in the big, bad world. Because they were so little and needed help eating, they had to stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care.... | Read More
Senate Judiciary to hear solitary confinement bill today
The Senate Judiciary committee will be hearing testimony on SB 064 this afternoon. The bill would put limits on the use of solitary confinement for seriously mentally ill inmates and set rules regarding the discipline of and provision of therapy to such inmates. The bill is sponsored by State Senator Jessie Ulibarri and Representative Joe Salazar. UPDATE: The bill passed out of committee unanimously, 5-0. Read the ACLU of Colorado's report on the overuse of solitary confinement for mentally.... | Read More
On November 21, 2016, 13 Aurora police officers responded to a simple noise complaint at Alberto Torres’s home. As happens all too often, Aurora police officers escalated this minor issue into a brutal affair. They beat Mr. Torres solely because he delayed exiting his garage to ask his wife to interpret for him. With that beating, the lives of Mr. Torres and every member of his family were changed and he has yet to recover. ACLU of Colorado fought to obtain justice for Mr. Torres, and Aurora has now paid him $285,000. But money is not justice, and the brutality of the Aurora Police Department against people of color has continued unabated.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Imagine, if instead of 13 officers being dispatched to Mr. Torres’s home for a noise complaint, the City of Aurora sent a civilian-led response team to check on his welfare and ask that he and his friends lower their sound, resulting in a non-violent solution to a minor issue?
Hope is a discipline. It’s a commitment that together, we can create a more perfect union. We won’t rest until we fulfill the promise of equal rights for ALL people in the United States.
Join us in our fight to fulfill this promise and move forward with hope by donating to the ACLU of Colorado. Your donation supports the ACLU’s strengths that make our work effective and collaborative.
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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.
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.