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.

Solitary Confinement Bill Scheduled for Senate Judiciary TODAY

We need you help! Senate Bill 176 is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee this coming Monday, March 14, at 1:30 p.m. in Senate Committee Room 356.

Please call or email members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and tell them you support SB-176.

Tell them: 

The Colorado Department of Corrections is overusing expensive solitary confinement cells as a management tool for those afflicted with serious mental illness, rather than expanding mental health and behavioral health services. Colorado can’t afford to continue to make this choice. It is also bad public policy to allow people who have been contained in administrative segregation for long periods of time to be directly released into the community.
SB176 addresses those concerns and creates a process so that we may start to alleviate these issues.
The bill will increase public safety while protecting inmates' mental health and saving taxpayer dollars. Please vote YES on SB-176.

Commitee members:

Senator Morgan Carroll; Chairman (Bill sponsor—don’t need to contact), Arapahoe D

Senator Lucia Guzman, Vice-Chairman; Denver D

Senator Angela Giron, Pueblo D

Senator Steve King, Garfield/Mesa R

Senator Kevin Lundberg, Larimer R

Senator Linda Newell, Arapahoe/Jefferson D

Senator Jeanne Nicholson, Boulder, Clear Creek, Gilpin, Grand, Jefferson, Summit D

Senator Ellen Roberts, Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma, Montrose, Ouray, San Juan, SanMiguel R

Senator Mark Scheffel, Douglas, El Paso, Lake, Park, Teller R

The bill sets forth the requirements to be met before a state inmate, including an offender with a serious mental illness or other significant mental impairment, may be placed in administrative segregation and the requirements for release, including mental health evaluations. Classification committees are created in each correctional facility and tasked with overseeing classification hearings within the facility. An inmate housed in administrative segregation is ensured time to reintegrate into the general correctional population prior to his or her release into the community. Cost savings from the bill are directed to alternatives to
administrative segregation. The warden of each correctional facility in the state is given
authority to take such measures as are necessary to restrict the confinement of any person who is a confirmed leader or active member of any security threat group. An inmate housed in administrative segregation is provided with the opportunity to accrue earned time to be deducted from his or her sentence.

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