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. 

Bring Our Neighbors Home – Juvenile Detention Decarceration

Overcrowded. Despairing. Inhumane.

The deplorable conditions of American jails and prisons are beyond what many people can imagine. Today, over 2 million Americans spend each night behind bars. Colorado incarcerates 635 per 100,000 people divided between prisons, jails, immigration detention and juvenile detention facilities. In addition, the penal system continues to incarcerate Black, Latino and Indigenous communities at increasing and disproportionate rates.

Today there are hundreds of active COVID-19 cases in Colorado correctional facilities. This pandemic has proven that the systems of punishment that we rely on to keep us safe do not work. Jails and prisons are not service providers and are not safe places for the people inside them or the community. Without the ability to follow social-distancing guidelines, medically vulnerable and elderly incarcerated people face a serious risk of dying from the pandemic.

Join us for a four-part webinar series where we explore how the remnants of slavery evolved into a racialized carceral system fraught with economic and physical abuses. Understand today’s exploding rates of mass incarceration in the United States, and ways that the system impacts segments of vulnerable communities — from prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities, to immigration detention and those who seek reproductive services while incarcerated.

We must urgently and safely depopulate our state’s correctional facilities by decreasing the number of people who languish in these inhumane conditions. The time to act and save lives is now.

These events are virtual and free to the public. Register on Zoom:

March 18 at 4 p.m.: Juvenile Detention Decarceration –…/register/WN_Dt5MZQAPQxCYzQHVeXhl2g

March 30 at 12 p.m.: Reproductive Rights –…/register/WN_1u7wWJWQR4CYlshWxvLX-w

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