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.
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.
- 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.
ACLU Statement on the Weld County Jail COVID-19 Outbreak and Response
April 14, 2020 After considerable public pressure, including ACLU’s highly-publicized lawsuit, the Weld County Sheriff has finally taken substantial steps toward compliance with CDC guidance, and the jail population is now decreasing. But serious damage is already done and at least one man is dead. In a development that jail authorities have so far shielded from public knowledge, 78 year old Charles Peterson died from COVID-19 on April 1, only two days after he was released from the Weld.... | Read More
ACLU and Denver Civil Rights Attorneys File Class Action Lawsuit in Federal Court Against Weld County Sheriff
The Lawsuit Seeks an Emergency Order to Protect High-risk People in Jail From COVID-19 April 8, 2020, DENVER – A team of ACLU and civil rights attorneys filed a class action lawsuit last night in federal court, seeking an emergency order to compel Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams to comply with COVID-19 public health guidelines – including physical distancing – for all high-risk people being held in the Weld County Jail. “We have written to Sheriff Reams; we have written to the Chief.... | Read More
Coalition Files Lawsuit Urging State Supreme Court to Protect Jails and Public from COVID-19
April 3, 2020 DENVER – The Office of the Colorado State Public Defender, Colorado Criminal Defense Bar and the Office of Alternate Defense Counsel filed two emergency petitions today asking the Colorado Supreme Court to take immediate action to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Colorado jails by issuing a directive that lower courts are to do their part to safely reduce the number of people who are incarcerated during this crisis. The petitions ask the Court to immediately issue guidance to safely.... | Read More
Join our At-Home Census Outreach Team!
Visit our Census 2020 homepage. [gravityform id="15" title="true" description="true"] Help us encourage Coloradans in Hard to Count communities (HTC) across the state to participate in the 2020 Census. In the past, Hard to Count communities such as those experiencing homelessness, immigrant communities, people of color, and LGBTQ+ folks have been severely undercounted resulting in a disproportionate distribution of federal funding that goes towards programs such as health.... | Read More
Goodbye From Nathan Woodliff-Stanley
On my last day at the ACLU of Colorado, I want to express my gratitude for the opportunity to have led this essential, impactful organization for the last 7 ½ years. I had no idea I would be leaving in the middle of a pandemic, but even this crisis illustrates the critical work of the ACLU, where we have sought to reduce immediately the crowding of people in jails, prisons, and detention centers, protecting people’s rights along with public health simultaneously. As the current crisis evolves,.... | Read More
STOP THE SPREAD OF COVID-19 IN COLORADO JAILS AND PRISONS Experts are sounding the alarm of the public health threat that prisons and jails pose during this pandemic. There is a heightened risk of infection for people who are involved in the criminal legal system – people living in it, people working in it, and the communities they return home to. It is not a question of if the COVID-19 virus will take hold in Colorado’s prisons and jails; it’s a matter of when. We need everyone's.... | Read More