Make Colorado a Civil Liberties Safe Zone
(Also published on the Huffington Post at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/582c94c5e4b08c963e3439c9?timestamp=1479318036366) The rights and freedoms promised in the U.S. Constitution are the pride of our nation, and our history is defined by a constant struggle to make those promises real for all people, not just for some. For nearly a century, the ACLU has been at the forefront of defending and advancing these civil liberties, with many landmark successes. Now our Constitutional rights.... | Read More
Thanks to all who celebrated with us at the 2016 Bill of Rights Dinner
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ACLU of Colorado Supports Aid in Dying
This year, Colorado voters will be asked to either support or reject Proposition 106, the Colorado “End-of-Life Options Act." After “Aid in Dying” bills were introduced three times in the Colorado legislature without success, enough signatures were gathered to put Proposition 106 on the ballot. If approved by voters, it will add the proposed Act to our state code; it is not a constitutional amendment. The ACLU of Colorado supports Proposition 106. The ACLU has historically been.... | Read More
As a Civil Libertarian, I struggle with Colorado’s Aid In Dying Ballot Initiative
The ACLU of Colorado fully supports Prop. 106, but encourages all voters to carefully consider the concerns of the disability community. I have been a staff attorney at the ACLU of Colorado for over six years and have wanted this job since I was a teenager. The ACLU – and its unending fight to protect civil liberties – is in my blood. Until just a few years ago, I did not question the basic premise, long supported by the ACLU, that terminally ill individuals have a constitutional and.... | Read More
Take Out Slavery – Vote YES on Amendment T
Did you know that the Colorado Constitution still allows legal slavery, and that Coloradans can do something about it this fall? Colorado’s language parallels an exception written into the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, banning slavery and involuntary servitude “except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” When a group of faith and community leaders began a campaign last spring to eliminate the exception allowing slavery, many legislators.... | Read More
Violence at Spring Creek: It’s not the kids, it’s the culture
(This column was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette on 9/28/16) In a recent Gazette article, it was reported that Spring Creek Correctional Facility is again erupting with assaults and riots, leaving youths and staff frightfully unsafe. After more than two years of hearing these kinds of reports from Spring Creek, it has become increasingly clear that the facility is plagued by an unforgiving and punitive culture that breeds violence and chaos. Staff now attribute the source of the violence.... | Read More
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.
- 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.