Decoteau v. Raemisch

In 2012, CREEC and the Civil Rights Clinic at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law prevailed in litigation on behalf of Troy Anderson, a prisoner with mental illness who was held in administrative segregation (solitary confinement) at the Colorado State Penitentiary (CSP). Anderson sued the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) for (among other things) lack of outdoor exercise. In August 2012, the judge issued  a Final Order and Judgment  declaring the lack of outdoor exercise at CSP unconstitutional.

A cinderblock room with walls that narrow toward the far end from approximately 8 feet wide near the photographer to approximately 3 feet wide at the far end. At the end, there are two long narrow windows extending from about one foot off the floor to about 6 inches from the ceiling. The room is empty except for a flourescent light on the ceiling and a chin-up bar on the right wall.

This is what passes for outdoor exercise at CSP.

Because it was an individual action, that decision only applied to Mr. Anderson.   The CDOC responded to the order by moving Mr. Anderson from CSP to Sterling Correctional Facility.   What about everyone else?   The CDOC   had not solved the lack of outdoor exercise at CSP.

The Decoteau case challenges the lack of outdoor exercise at CSP on a class basis, that is, as a class action on behalf of all inmates in administrative segregation at that facility.   We initially started with three named plaintiffs — Ryan Decoteau, Anthony Gomez, and Dominic Duran — who have experienced the same lack of exercise as Mr. Anderson. Recently, Judge Martinez granted class certification to the case under Rule 23(b)(2), certifying a class defined as follows:

All inmates who are now or will in the future be housed in administrative segregation at the Colorado State Penitentiary and who are now or will in the future be subjected to the policy and practice of refusing to provide such inmates access to outdoor exercise.

Here are some of the major pleadings: