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.

Mariposa and the Saint

Mariposa & the Saint: From Solitary Confinement, A Play Through Letters

A nationally touring theater production, created by Julia Steele Allen, an award-winning playwright and activist, brings to life the true story of a woman locked in solitary confinement for nearly three years, in her own words. Mariposa & the Saint is a play written by Julia Steele Allen and Sara (Mariposa) Fonseca over two and half years while she was in the SHU in a southern CA women’s prison. The text is derived entirely from her letters to Julia and draws on memory, music and myth to create an emotionally charged piece investigating the true injustice of solitary confinement in this country. It is a 45-minute play, followed by a 45-minute dialogue/ workshop where we take a concrete action step together to further a local or statewide campaign. The play is directed by Noelle Ghoussaini and performed by Julia Steele Allen and Ray Huth.

Join us for four performances of Mariposa & the Saint and discussions with ACLU of Colorado, who helped to pass new legislation banning the use of solitary confinement on prisoners with serious mental illnesses, and is now working toward an end to the use of long term solitary confinement in all forms.

For more information: and

10/29 Boulder – Wesley Chapel 7 p.m.
11/1 Denver – Crossroads Theater  7p.m.
11/2 Denver- University of Denver 6:30 p.m.
11/3 Colorado Springs – Colorado College 7 p.m.

“The movement against solitary confinement is growing across the country, but for many, the issue remains abstract. Through her letters, Mariposa tells a story that reveals both the devastating effects of long-term isolated confinement, and, as she says: ‘the magic that comes with the struggle to keep your spirit alive.’ The power of her words, smuggled through so many walls, reaches the audience and impacts them, profoundly.”
– Julia Steele Allen


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