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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.

Episode 9: “We were in the wilderness and y’all heard our voice.”

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On today’s episode, Judge Powell of the Alamosa Municipal Court violated civil rights and punished defendants for their poverty. He used jail, and the threat of jail, to collect money from defendants who could not pay, in violation of state law. We shined a light on his unjust practices in the investigative report, Justice Derailed. John sits down with an author of this report, Becca Curry, Research and Policy Associate at the ACLU of Colorado. Alejandra speaks with Alex Raines, a former public defender, about his first-hand experiences at the Alamosa Municipal Court. Also, John talks about a case involving a woman who was held in the El Paso Jail, and separated from her children for 27 days, because she couldn’t pay a $55 fine.

Call To Action: Alejandra calls attention to voting rights. Visit peoplepower.org to learn more.

Click here to read or download Justice Derailed.

The Purple State Report is brought to you by the ACLU of Colorado. Our show was produced by Vanessa Michel, Alejandra Garza, and John Krieger with original theme music by Pablo Novelas. Additional music by Dan Auerbach. If you have feedback or suggestions for future episodes email us at purplestate@aclu-co.org.



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