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DENVER (KDVR) — ACLU of Colorado announced Friday it reached a resolution with the Colorado Department of Corrections (DOC) after a lawsuit was filed in May alleging failure to protect medically vulnerable people in prison from COVID-19.

The resolution is pending acceptance by the Denver District Court.

As part of the resolution, medically vulnerable prisoners will have access to masks and hygiene supplies and safe housing. The resolution also requires prisons to improve conditions during COVID-related lockdowns and responses to COVID-related complaints, as well as implement system improvements aimed at increasing efficiency of the parole

Here are the key provisions of the resolution:

  • Certifies a settlement class of medically vulnerable people who are over the age of 60 or have an underlying medical condition the CDC recognizes as posing a heightened risk of serious illness or death if they contract COVID-19.
  • Requires DOC to identify medically vulnerable people and prioritize their safe housing
  • Provides for an independent expert consultant to advise on policies and protocols for medically vulnerable people
  • Ensures all incarcerated people receive two free bars of soap per week and two free masks
  • Ensures routine cleaning of common spaces
  • Prohibits co-pays for COVID-related medical visits
  • Requires testing of all symptomatic people and wide-scale prevalence testing after any staff or incarcerated person tests positive
  • Provides for reasonable access to facilities, outdoor recreation, and legal materials during COVID-related lockdowns after DOC has had time to test and cohort
  • Consistent access to free, confidential legal calls
  • Continuous information sharing (number of positives, facility lockdown status, people who have recovered, deaths)
  • Creates a Parole Pilot Program to help complete release plans and partner with community providers
  • Provides for continuing jurisdiction of the court to enforce the consent decree

“This resolution gives essential protections to thousands of people who are incarcerated and terrified of this deadly virus, and could not have happened without the significant efforts by all of the State’s leadership from the beginning of this case,” said ACLU of Colorado cooperating attorney Anna Holland Edwards. “That cooperative approach and the willingness to work together to improve the conditions for incarcerated people as well as staff is to be commended.”

While Friday’s resolution resolves the case against the DOC, ACLU of Colorado is still pursuing a lawsuit against Gov. Jared Polis. ACLU of Colorado is alleging that Gov. Polis violates the Colorado constitution by failing to exercise his powers to safely reduce the prison population in the wake of the pandemic.