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.
Category Archives: Stop Solitary
Colorado Legislature Passes Bill to Protect Children from Solitary Confinement
DENVER - Statement of ACLU of Colorado Public Policy Director Denise Maes on HB 1328, a bill to protect Colorado children from solitary confinement, which was approved today by the Colorado House of Representatives, after passing the Senate unanimously last week. “The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado commends the Colorado legislature for taking action to protect children from inhumane and dangerous solitary confinement. HB 1328 puts in place permanent guardrails and oversight measures.... | Read More
Governor Hickenlooper Signs Ban on Long Term Solitary Confinement of Prisoners with Serious Mental Illness
June 6, 2014 DENVER - Statement of ACLU of Colorado Public Policy Director Denise Maes on SB 64, a bill banning long term solitary confinement of prisoners with serious mental illness, which was signed into law this morning by Governor Hickenlooper having received near unanimous approval from the state legislature. “The ACLU of Colorado commends Governor Hickenlooper and the Colorado legislature for banning the cruel, costly, and unconstitutional practice of warehousing prisoners with serious.... | Read More
Colorado Legislature Bans Long-Term Solitary Confinement of Prisoners with Serious Mental Illness
April 28, 2014 DENVER - Statement of ACLU of Colorado Public Policy Director Denise Maes on SB 64, a bill to ban long-term solitary confinement of prisoners with serious mental illness, which passed the Colorado House of Representatives this morning after receiving unanimous approval by the Senate earlier this month. “The ACLU of Colorado commends the state legislature for banning the cruel, costly, and unlawful practice of warehousing prisoners with serious mental illness in long-term.... | Read More
Prepared Remarks of Public Policy Director Denise Maes on SB14-64, Limiting the Use of Solitary Confinement for Mentally Ill Prisoners
The physical details of a person's daily experience in isolated confinement is worth examining. The cells are a bit bigger than a king sized bed and the offender spends 22 plus hours a day there. In this environment, you sleep, eat and defecate - one lives their entire daily life in that cell. In Colorado, the average length of time one remains in solitary confinement is approximately 14 months. All experts agree that long-term isolation should not extend beyond 30 days. 30 days versus 14.... | Read More
Senate passes ban on long-term solitary confinement of inmates with serious mental illness
Statement of ACLU of Colorado Public Policy Director Denise Maes "Today's unanimous passage of Senate Bill 64 is further evidence of a growing consensus among lawmakers, prison officials, and civil liberties advocates in Colorado that warehousing prisoners with mental illness in long-term solitary confinement is a cruel, costly, and unlawful practice that unnecessarily jeopardizes public safety. "The legislation, championed by Senator Jesse Ulibarri, solidifies and provides critical funding to.... | Read More
CDOC Takes Momentous Step Toward Providing Better Treatment to Prisoners with Serious Mental Illness
March 25, 2014 The Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) has released a new policy on the treatment of prisoners with serious mental illness that will go into effect on April 1, 2014. The policy provides for increased out of cell time and individual therapeutic contacts for prisoners with serious mental illness and/or developmental disabilities housed in CDOC’s residential treatment programs (RTP). The policy adopts a broadened definition of “serious mental illness” and mandates.... | Read More
Prepared Remarks of ACLU Public Policy Director Denise Maes on SB 14-064, concerning solitary confinement of prisoners with serious mental illness
Bill to be considered March 10, 2014 by the Senate Judiciary Committee at 1:30 pm MT In isolated confinement, the cells are a bit bigger than a king sized bed. A prisoner spends 22 hours a day in there. In this environment, you sleep, eat and defecate – you live your entire daily life in that cell. In Colorado, the average length of time one remains in solitary confinement is approximately 14 months. All experts agree that long term isolation should not extend beyond 30 days. So,.... | Read More
CDOC Takes Step Toward Getting Mentally Ill Prisoners Out of Solitary
December 12, 2013 In a memo provided to the ACLU of Colorado by the Colorado Department of Corrections, all wardens were instructed to no longer refer prisoners that have been designated to have a major mental illness to administrative segregation. Administrative segregation is long-term placement in solitary confinement, in which prisoners are denied all meaningful human contact and must remain alone in barren metal cells in excess of 23 hours per day. Statement of ACLU Staff Attorney Rebecca.... | Read More
CO Prisons Continue to Warehouse Mentally Ill in Solitary Confinement
July 23, 2013 New ACLU report examines legal, moral, and fiscal implications of housing mentally ill prisoners in solitary confinement, urges CDOC chief Rick Raemisch to end the practice DENVER – The Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) continues to rely on long-term solitary confinement to manage mentally ill prisoners, often for months or even years, according to a new report released today by the ACLU of Colorado. Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Colorado’s continued warehousing of.... | Read More
ACLU statement on appointment of new CDOC Director Rick Raemisch
June 14, 2013 Statement of ACLU of Colorado Executive Director Nathan Woodliff-Stanley on the Appointment of New Colorado Department of Corrections Director Rick Raemisch “The ACLU of Colorado is encouraged by Governor Hickenlooper’s appointment today of Rick Raemisch to head the Colorado Department of Corrections. The Governor’s announcement signals an intention to further former Director Tom Clements’ goals of ensuring greater safety for the public, protecting civil liberties,.... | Read More
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