Colorado Rights Blog


  • 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.

ACLU calls on Denver Council to reject proposal for citywide “camping ban”

The ACLU of Colorado today sent a letter to the Denver City Council, opposing the proposed city-wide ordinance to prohibit unauthorized camping, calling it an unconstitutional and mean-spirited attempt to criminalize homelessness.

In the letter dated April 16, 2012, ACLU Public Policy Director Denise Maes said the proposed ordinance is unwise because it frustrates the work of service providers and is a costly investment of city dollars. The ordinance, Maes wrote, is likely to be counterproductive, if approved, because it perpetuates the cycles of homelessness, resulting in arrests, convictions and making it more difficult for homeless people to gain housing and/or employment.

Maes said the ordinance, as proposed, criminalizes homelessness in plain view.

Denver, Maes wrote, can do better than a criminalization approach and must address the true problem of homelessness in the city.

Read the letter here.

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