The Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition stands with the Black Lives Matters movement to bear witness to the pain of centuries of racial oppression, inequity and white supremacy intensified by recent brutal actions including but not limited to the murder of George Floyd, the flaunting of white privilege by Amy Cooper, and the recent executions of Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. (continue reading)
Dear CCDC Members: I have long admired the work of the National Federation of the Blind. I have been at a loss for words and thinking about what to say that is meaningful in light of all that is going on. I still have not found the right words, but the message from the president of NFB is important and I think this is relevant for all disability groups. (continue reading)
Starting this week, Denver is transitioning from the stay-at-home order to the safer-at-home phase. Although residents are no longer ordered to stay at home, we are strongly encouraged to do so whenever possible. However, those considered at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 are asked to continue following stay-at-home recommendations, only leaving home for medical care and essential activities. (continue reading)
CCDC has signed on to this letter with other coalition partners. As COVID-19 outbreaks continue to climb in Colorado prisons, several organizations called on Governor Polis today to assert his executive authority and clemency powers to protect the most vulnerable people in prisons before it’s too late. (continue reading)
A letter to the membership from Julie Reiskin, ED. urging calm while we watch the budget process carefully as the process plays out. (continue reading)
CCDC has completed our first review of the budget documents. This is each agency’s projection of what cuts need to be made, and if these are not sufficient what deeper cuts would look like. When reviewing the documents it was clear care was taken to avoid undue consequences to “vulnerable populations”. While we do not like many of these, with a few small exceptions, we can accept them. (continue reading)
Letter from Julie Reiskin to the membership: This week we expect to hear about Medicaid and other state government service cuts. We want everyone to be aware that when news breaks about cuts and changes, often rumors and misinformation become rampant throughout the web and social media. That is why we wanted to let you know ahead of time what we think may be coming and where you can go to trust what you read. (continue reading)
CCDC’s letter to Governor Jarid Polis urging Critical Care Triage guidelines for the state of Colorado. (continue reading)
CCDC’s letter crafted by our Executive Director and several partner organizations to Governor Polis regarding the Survival of People with Disabilities during COVID-19 Pandemic. (continue reading) (Español)
From Julie Reiskin, Executive Director, Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition: To ensure better outcomes for our community during this unprecedented time, Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition is being proactive, compassionate, and conscious in our response to COVID-19.
CCDC members have asked to hear from us about COVID 19 or the Coronavirus, and what it means for people with disabilities in Colorado. This memo will attempt to explain what we know to date. Please be assured that CCDC staff continue working (some from home and all of us safely), advocating, and ensuring the response efforts do not forget people with disabilities.
CCDC has signed on to this letter with other coalition partners
May 8, 2020
MEDIA CONTACT: Vanessa Michel, Director of Communications, Office: 720-402-3112
Deanna Hirsch, Media Strategist, Office: 720-402-3122
DENVER – As COVID-19 outbreaks continue to climb in Colorado prisons, several organizations called on Governor Polis today to assert his executive authority and clemency powers to protect the most vulnerable people in prisons before it’s too late. In a letter sent to the Governor, the organizations cited new data proving that his actions to date are insufficient to protect the lives of elderly and medically compromised people in prisons, correctional staff and the community at large.
“It is clear that the [Governor’s] Executive Order was insufficient to address the crisis and that further action is needed now, before more deaths come. We urge you to exercise your substantial power to safely release as many incarcerated people as possible, most particularly incarcerated people who, due to their age and/or medical conditions, are at serious risk of sickness or death from COVID-19. Without your actions, widespread illness, hospitalizations and deaths are inevitable.”
The letter goes on to say that while Colorado’s COVID-19 curve may be flattening for those who are free, the public health crisis is reaching a fever pitch for people who are incarcerated. Testing at the Sterling Correctional Facility, now the site of the state’s 2nd largest COVID-19 outbreak, has confirmed that at least 278 people there — 266 incarcerated people and 12 staff members — have tested positive for the virus, many of whom are asymptomatic. At four other U.S. state prisons, 96% of the nearly 3,300 people who tested positive also showed no symptoms for the virus, further illustrating that simply isolating those who seem sick from those who appear well is not enough to halt the spread. At least one man died from contracting COVID-19 at Sterling — he was 86-years-old.
The ACLU and eight criminal justice and indigent defense organizations sent a letter to the Governor on March 17 urging him to take decisive action to depopulate prisons and jails. The Governor later issued an Executive Order, which granted Colorado Department of Corrections Director Dean Williams the broad authority to consider releasing more than 7,000 people. But that order has been ineffective. More than a month after the Governor’s executive order was issued, the CDOC has only released around 200 people, with over 16,000 remaining behind bars and prisons still at over 90% capacity. So far, at least 25 CDOC staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 and 57 are on leave related to possible symptoms or exposure. These numbers, like those at other facilities around the country, are almost certainly a dramatic undercount of the number of infected staff members statewide.
Today’s letter makes specific recommendations for actions by Governor Polis that would substantially and safely reduce the prison population. In following these recommendations, Polis would join the ranks of Governors from a dozen states who have worked to release thousands of incarcerated people on an emergency basis to mitigate disaster, including New York, Kentucky and Maryland. In Colorado, the numbers prove that left to its own devices, the CDOC has not effectively and substantially reduced the prison population and the Governor must intervene.
“Colorado just abolished the death penalty. We cannot keep elderly and medically vulnerable Coloradans incarcerated in prisons that are likely to become their death traps.”
The signatories of the letter are the: Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, Physician’s for Criminal Justice Reform, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, Center for Health Progress, Office of Respondent Parents’ Counsel, Black Lives Matters 5280, Colorado Lawyers Committee, Office of Alternate Defense Counsel, Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, Civil Rights Education & Enforcement Center, Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, Working Families Party, Lawyers Civil Rights Coalition, Second Chance Center, Colorado Freedom Fund, Criminal Justice Act Panel Standing Committee and ACLU of Colorado.
ACLU Website regarding Governor Called on to Stop COVID-19 From Becoming a Death Sentence for People in Prisons
The ACLU of Colorado is the state’s oldest civil rights organization, protecting and defending the civil rights of all Coloradans through litigation, education and advocacy.View this press release on our website at: https://aclu-co.org/
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Director of Communications
American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado
303 E 17th Ave., Denver, CO 80203
(720) 402-3112 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Text of the letter sent to the Federal leaders