University of Denver Civil Rights Clinic and CREEC Reach Groundbreaking Settlement with Department of Corrections

Prisoners in restrictive housing and close custody at the Colorado State Penitentiary (CSP) have reached a settlement with Colorado prison officials that will provide outdoor exercise for those inmates for the first time since the prison’s construction in 1993.

The class action lawsuit, Decoteau v. Raemisch, filed by student attorneys in the Civil Rights Clinic at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and co-counsel from the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center, asserted that the denial of outdoor exercise to inmates at CSP constituted cruel and unusual punishment.

This settlement is the culmination of years of litigation by the Civil Rights Clinic and CREEC, starting with Anderson v. Colorado, a lawsuit brought by inmate Troy Anderson in which a federal judge first ruled that the denial of outdoor exercise at CSP was unconstitutional. Student attorneys in the Civil Rights Clinic and attorneys at CREEC have represented the plaintiffs in this case and in Anderson over the past seven years.

As a result of this settlement and the Anderson lawsuit, the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) will build three outdoor exercise yards at CSP, and inmates housed at the prison will be permitted to use them. CDOC is moving its highest security level inmates from CSP to Sterling Correctional Facility, where they will also be permitted to exercise outdoors for the first time. A federal judge in Colorado has granted preliminary approval for the settlement, and the parties anticipate final approval in mid-2016.

For more information about the case and the settlement, please contact:

Lindsey Web (Denver Law) – 303-871-6586 –
Amy Robertson (CREEC) – 303-757-7901 –

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