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.

Colorado Removes Unlawful Restrictions on Hepatitis C Treatment for Thousands of Medicaid Patients

DENVER -The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF), which administers the state’s Medicaid program, announced today that it will remove the restriction on providing Hepatitis C medications that has been at the center of an ACLU of Colorado class action lawsuit against the agency. This change means that thousands of Colorado Medicaid recipients infected with the HCV virus will soon be eligible to receive the newer direct-acting antiviral (DAA) medications that have a greater than 90% rate of curing the disease.

ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein issued the following statement:

“Federal law requires that Medicaid provide all medically necessary treatment. Throughout the litigation, we have maintained that Medicaid is obligated to provide the new curative medications to all Medicaid recipients who are living with the HCV virus. With this new change in policy, Colorado Medicaid will no longer restrict treatment to persons who have already sustained serious damage to their livers.

This is a major step toward resolving the litigation and providing necessary medical care to thousands of Medicaid recipients who need it. It is also a much more fiscally sound path for the state, because early treatment saves costs that come from continuing to force patients to wait for treatment until they have suffered serious liver damage.

With Medicare, the Veterans Administration, all major private health insurers, and now Medicaid all agreeing to provide curative treatment for Hepatitis C at all stages of the disease, the only Coloradans who continue to be denied access to treatment are people who are incarcerated in Colorado prisons, where a massive Hepatitis C crisis persists. At least one in every nine prisoners suffers from Hepatitis C, and complications from the disease kill nearly as many Coloradans in custody every year as drug and alcohol abuse, homicide, and suicide combined.

Our class action lawsuit against the Colorado Department of Corrections is in litigation, and similar to Medicaid patients, we are seeking a swift and just result for our clients, who cannot afford to wait for access to treatment while their health continues to deteriorate.”


New HCPF policy:

ACLU Files Class Action Lawsuit Against Colorado Medicaid over Unlawful Hepatitis C Treatment Restrictions

ACLU Lawsuit Seeks Life-Saving Treatment for Thousands of Colorado Prisoners Suffering from Hepatitis C

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