On December 17, 2013, prisoners currently or previously incarcerated in solitary confinement at Colorado State Penitentiary ("CSP") filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the State of Colorado. The plaintiffs, represented by ...
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On December 17, 2013, prisoners currently or previously incarcerated in solitary confinement at Colorado State Penitentiary ("CSP") filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the State of Colorado. The plaintiffs, represented by the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center and student attorneys from the University of Denver College of Law, asked the Court to declare that CSP conditions violated the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Specifically, the plaintiffs requested that the Court issue an injunction ordering the state to provide solitary confinement prisoners with regular access to outdoor exercise.
At CSP, prisoners in administrative segregation spend a minimum of 23 hours per day by themselves in a cell. The prisoners in administrative segregation have access to a recreation room for a maximum of one hour per day, five days per week. The exercise area is essentially another cell and is not outdoors. The small room contains only a pull-up bar and there is no opportunity for inmates to run. Plaintiffs alleged that they have suffered from a number of mental and physical problems as a result of being denied access to outdoor exercise.
On July 10, 2014, Judge William Martinez granted the plaintiffs' motion for class certification, certifying a class of all prisoners who are now or will in the future be housed in administrative segregation at CSP and who are or will be subjected to the policy of refusing to provide such inmates access to outdoor exercise. At the same time, the Court denied the plaintiffs' motion to consolidate this class action with a prior-filed pro se damage action. 2014 WL 3373670, __F.R.D.__ (D. Colo. 2014).
The Court granted the plaintiffs' motion to redefine their class by excluding the limitation of administrative segregation housing in April 2015.
On October 2, 2015, the parties filed a stipulated notice of settlement agreement. After a fairness hearing, on July 6, 2016, the court approved the settlement agreement and granted the plaintiffs' motion for attorneys' fees. As summarized in the court order, the settlement agreement provides that inmates will be transferred from CSP to Sterling Correctional Facility where there are outdoor cages available for exercise that have at least 180 square feet of space. These inmates will be permitted to do so for one hour per day, three days per week. Further, pending the completion of new outdoor yards at CSP, inmates will be able to exercise in these yards for one hour per day, three days per week. The plaintiffs were awarded $410,000 in attorneys' fees.
The case is now closed. Nate West - 09/24/2014
Virginia Weeks - 11/01/2016