In response to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, Colorado Governor Jared Polis issued a Guidance to law enforcement agencies and detention facilities in Colorado on their efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19,which states:
“Reducing the numbers of those arrested or incarcerated is vital to our efforts to limit and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, detention centers, and prisons.”
To slow the spread of the Coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that individuals practice Social Distancing, which means maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet from other individuals. In addition, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued a Public Health Order, which prohibits any “activity that brings together ten (10) or more persons in a single room or space at the same time.
Criminal justice advocates say an COVID-19 outbreak in the state’s detention facilities is inevitable, given the sharing of cells and density of the jail populations.
The Governor’s recommendation called on courts, law enforcement, district attorneys and defense attorneys to work together to reduce the number of individuals currently in custody. The Guidance also calls on the courts and law enforcement to set personal recognizance bonds as much as possible.
The Guidance also outlines the following recommendation for detention facilities:
- Ensure that detainees are held in a manner that allows social distancing whenever practicable.
- Detention centers should take steps to ensure that no more than 10 people are gathered in the same confined indoor or outdoor space
- Ensure that detention centers have a plan to disinfect and sanitize all jail facilities
- Ensure each new intake and release are screened for COVID-19 symptoms and receive a temperature check and a request for medical history
- Ensure that staff, contractors and visitors entering and exiting the jails are screened for COVID-19 symptoms
- Ensure that staff follows social distancing whenever possible
- Isolate individuals in custody who are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms are isolated, receive necessary medical care and have access to comfort and entertainment
- Prevent any staff or outside contractors exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms from entering detention centers
- Ensure that individuals in custody have access to hygiene products
- Temporarily suspend visitations to detention centers, including family visits, except for those providing legal representation.
- Detention centers should increase the availability of confidential phone or video calls for legal representation
- Ensure that individuals in custody are not transferred from one detention center to another
In addition, the Office of the State Public Defender called on the Governor earlier this month to help release low-risk inmates from jails, including those who are yet to be convicted and tried for a crime.
If your loved one is currently detained in a Colorado jail, now is the time to work with the judicial system to get them out. Our office is open and we are available to discuss your loved one’s case.
You can call us at (303) 747-6898 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.