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  • 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.

Governor Hickenlooper Signs Ban on Long Term Solitary Confinement of Prisoners with Serious Mental Illness

June 6, 2014

DENVER – Statement of ACLU of Colorado Public Policy Director Denise Maes on SB 64, a bill banning long term solitary confinement of prisoners with serious mental illness, which was signed into law this morning by Governor Hickenlooper having received near unanimous approval from the state legislature.

“The ACLU of Colorado commends Governor Hickenlooper and the Colorado legislature for banning the cruel, costly, and unconstitutional practice of warehousing prisoners with serious mental illness in long term solitary confinement.

“The legislation solidifies and provides critical funding for policies initiated by Department of Corrections Director Rick Raemisch that provide adequate out-of-cell treatment for prisoners with serious mental illness, rather than sticking those prisoners in 23 hour-a-day solitary cells.  Treatment aimed at rehabilitation is critical, because 97% of today’s prison population will eventually return to our communities and live as our neighbors.

“The legislature’s overwhelming bipartisan support of SB 64 is a fitting tribute to the legacy of the late Tom Clements. This new law moves Colorado one step closer to realizing the former Director’s stated desire of bringing greater safety to the public and humanity to the prisons by ending our state’s historic over-reliance on solitary confinement.

“The ACLU of Colorado values our ongoing partnership with Director Raemisch and his staff, as we continue to work together toward our mutual goal of ending the brutal and inhumane use of long-term solitary confinement in all forms.”

Visit the Stop Solitary campaign page at: https://aclu-co.org/campaigns/stop-solitary/  

Read our report on mentally ill Colorado prisoners in solitary confinement:https://aclu-co.org/news/co-prisons-continue-to-warehouse-mentally-ill-in-solitary-confinement

Watch Out of Sight, Out of Mind – The Story of Sam Mandez, about a Colorado man who spent more than 15 years in solitary confinement and suffers from debilitating mental illness: http://vimeo.com/78840078



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