• 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.

COVID-19 Decarceration


To protect the public health and safety of thousands of incarcerated people and the staff that work in our correctional facilities, as well as the health of the broader Colorado public, ACLU of Colorado is working to reduce the number of medically vulnerable people in prisons and jails.

We must take action to bring our neighbors safely home or more people will die both behind bars and in the community. We need statewide leadership to safely release the most vulnerable communities from prison as a vital step in stopping the spread of COVID-19.

A prison sentence should not be a death sentence. Join us to decarcerate and save lives.


OCT 13, 2020. The ACLU-CO released a new report “COVID-19 Jail Depopulation in Colorado: An Unexpected Path Forward” which found that jail depopulation in Colorado has been smart, safe, and thoughtful, with a clear focus on reserving jail beds for people who pose a threat to others. This report uses original data and research to assess the impact of depopulation policies implemented in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis and calls on legislators to memorialize these policies into law in 2021 to maintain low jail populations.

Read the report here 

Find data on your county jail here

Made with Visme Infographic Maker

Read the stories of incarcerated people at-risk in Colorado’s prisons.


We need you. Tell Governor Polis to safely release the elderly and sick from unsafe, overcrowded prisons in Colorado, and save lives now. The more of us who contact the Governor, the more public pressure we build to push Governor Polis to do the right thing. 

To call the Governor:

Click here or make your own call to (303) 866-2471

To email the Governor:

Click here or write your own email to

To contact the Governor on social media:

Click here or write your own message to him on the social media platforms below

Twitter: @GovofCO or @jaredpolis

Instagram: Governor Jared Polis (@govofco) or Jared Polis (@jaredpolis)

Facebook: or

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