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.

Victories Under The Dome

We had an ambitious legislative agenda entering into the 2019 session and are happy to announce a series of successes. First, we championed legislation that will fund for the first time in our state’s history, comprehensive sex education for schools seeking to adopt such a curriculum. We were able to champion legislation that will bring some relief to our immigrant friends and neighbors and advanced legislation that will reform aspects of our cruel bail system. You made this happen and we thank you for your help and support. Let’s take a look at the rest of our successes:

Reproductive Rights:

HB 19-1032: Comprehensive Human Sexuality Education –  Creates a $1 million program so schools can provide students with the tools they need to make healthy choices and ensures sex ed programs don’t shame or stigmatize students.

Immigrants Rights:

HB 19-1124: Protect Colorado Residents From Federal Government Overreach – Builds trust and promotes public safety by limiting probation cooperation with ICE, ends the unconstitutional practice of relying on warrantless ICE detainers and protects the rights of Coloradans by ensuring everyone receives a written advisement before questioning.

Juvenile Justice:

HB 19-1335: Juvenile Expungement – Creates opportunities for youth to clear their criminal records and get a fresh start.

HB 19-1042: Extend Court Jurisdiction For Vulnerable Youth – Allows Colorado courts to appoint guardians for vulnerable immigrant youth between 18 and 21 who have been abandoned, abused or neglected, thus ensuring their long-term well-being.

SB 19-108: Juvenile Justice Reform – Ensures Colorado’s youth are not left behind bars by providing much-needed services and promoting alternatives to incarceration.

SB 19-136: Expand Division Youth Services Pilot Program – Funds a second program for youth in juvenile facilities that moves away from a punitive approach to one based on providing treatment and care so youth can successfully transition back into their communities.

Criminal Justice Reform:

HB 19-1225: No Monetary Bail For Certain Low-level Offenses – Ensures that poverty is not a crime and prevents judges from setting monetary bonds for petty and traffic violations. 

HB 19-1263: Offense Level For Controlled Substance Possession – Changes low-level drug felony possession to a misdemeanor and provides substance abuse and mental health services for those incarcerated and struggling with addiction.

HB 19-1266: Restore Voting Rights for Parolees – Defends the founding American principle that in a democracy, voting is a right, not a privilege.

HB 19-1297: Jail Capacity Data Collection – Establishes a statewide data collection system for Colorado’s jails so policymakers can make data-driven decisions to improve public safety, reduce costs and identify areas for reform.

SB 19-036: State Court Administrator Reminder Program – Creates texts that remind people of their court date to reduce failures to appear and prevent needless incarceration.

SB 19-191: Prompt Pretrial Liberty And Fairness – Allows people to post bond within 2 hours, ensures people are released within 4 hours after posting bond and limits excessive fees to no more than $10.

SB 19-1119: Peace Officer Internal Investigation Open Records – Promotes government transparency and accountability by allowing public access to these files after the investigation is complete.

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