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 of Colorado’s New Year’s Resolutions

2020 is here, and this will be a very important year for the ACLU, Colorado and our nation. Here are seven ACLU of Colorado resolutions for the New Year to help guide our work and yours:

  1. Bring Our Neighbors Home. The majority of people in Colorado jails are not there because they have been convicted of a crime. The majority are legally innocent and only incarcerated because they can’t afford to pay a monetary bond. As the Colorado legislative session begins this week, the ACLU of Colorado has launched a Bring Our Neighbors Home campaign to take the next legislative steps in reforming pretrial detention. Our goals are to end wealth-based pretrial detention, to stop racial bias in pretrial detention, and to keep more people home while their cases are resolved.
  2. End the Death Penalty in Colorado. Our death penalty system is extremely costly while doing nothing to prevent crime. Application of the death penalty is often arbitrary and systemically discriminatory. It is traumatizing to those who must carry it out, and it risks governmental processes making fatally irreversible mistakes. It is time for Colorado to end the death penalty for good.
  3. Defend Reproductive Rights. The ACLU of Colorado will fight any form of abortion ban or restrictions on reproductive rights that may be proposed in the legislature or placed on the Colorado ballot in 2020.
  4. Defend our Immigrant Neighbors. The ACLU will continue to defend the rights of immigrants in Colorado and to use the courts and the legislature to hold accountable immigrant detention facilities like the private GEO facility in Aurora contracted with ICE.
  5. Get Out The Vote. The 2020 election will be a crucial one in Colorado and nationwide. Your vote will be needed in national, state and local races, and on state and local ballot measures. The ACLU of Colorado will defend voting rights and the integrity of our election while mobilizing civil liberties voters to be sure to vote this year.
  6. Rights for All. The ACLU will continue to fight in every way possible to defend the rights of people experiencing homelessness, LGBTQ persons, people of color, people without money or facing life crises, and anyone else likely to be denied their rights, their privacy, or their civil liberties.
  7. Build for the next 100 years. 2020 is our Centennial year, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the ACLU. As long as this nation exists, we will need the ACLU to uphold democratic processes, fight for civil rights and civil liberties, and make our systems more genuinely inclusive and equitable for all people in this land. I hope you will join us not only in fighting the battles of 2020 but also in building for a better future ahead.


Nathan Woodliff-Stanley,

ACLU of Colorado Executive Director


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