Colorado Rights Blog


  • Cedric Watkins is a father, uncle, entrepreneur-in-training, and a vital community pillar for many others. While behind bars, he has tirelessly devoted himself to serving his peers and his community. He developed gang disaffiliation programs for other incarcerated individuals and is currently involved with Defy Ventures. He sends letters and calls his daughter as much as he can.

    Cedric is currently in prison at Sterling Correctional Facility. He was convicted of aggravated robbery, burglary, kidnapping, theft and sentenced to 80 years; no one was seriously injured or killed. For comparison, a person convicted of second-degree murder in Colorado faces a maximum sentence of 48 years. Cedric has already served 20 years and has fully rehabilitated during that time.

    It’s time to bring Cedric home: Redemption is real. Clemency is compassion.

  • On November 21, 2016, 13 Aurora police officers responded to a simple noise complaint at Alberto Torres’s home. As happens all too often, Aurora police officers escalated this minor issue into a brutal affair. They beat Mr. Torres solely because he delayed exiting his garage to ask his wife to interpret for him. With that beating, the lives of Mr. Torres and every member of his family were changed and he has yet to recover. ACLU of Colorado fought to obtain justice for Mr. Torres, and Aurora has now paid him $285,000. But money is not justice, and the brutality of the Aurora Police Department against people of color has continued unabated.

    It doesn’t have to be this way.

    Imagine, if instead of 13 officers being dispatched to Mr. Torres’s home for a noise complaint, the City of Aurora sent a civilian-led response team to check on his welfare and ask that he and his friends lower their sound, resulting in a non-violent solution to a minor issue?

    ACLU Settles Case With Aurora After Police Brutalize and Unlawfully Arrest Alberto Torres

  • Hope is a discipline. It’s a commitment that together, we can create a more perfect union. We won’t rest until we fulfill the promise of equal rights for ALL people in the United States.

    Join us in our fight to fulfill this promise and move forward with hope by donating to the ACLU of Colorado. Your donation supports the ACLU’s strengths that make our work effective and collaborative.

    Donate now at

  • 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. 

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

December 1, 2017

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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