Activist and prison abolitionist Elisabeth Epps has been released after being jailed for aiding a man she believed to be in a mental crisis as police officers surrounded him. 

In 2015, Epps was at a pool party in Aurora, Colorado, when she crossed paths with a man who appeared to be dazed. As she was helping him, three officers surrounded them. Fearing they would arrest him, she guided him away from the officers.

“What he needs right now is not men with guns,” the activist told the officers.

A security officer at the complex she was in decided she was causing a disturbance. This conclusion led to the police arresting Epps and charging her with trespassing, resisting arrest and obstructing a peace officer. She received a 90-day jail sentence.

On Jan. 23, Aurora County Judge Shawn Day ordered Epps to serve 27 days of the sentence, despite the overwhelming amount of support that encouraged her to get community service instead of a jail sentence. He even cited her “deep hatred and mistrust of the police and government” as one of the reasons he wouldn’t shorten her sentence.

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The Arapahoe County Detention Center released Epps 15 days into the sentence.

Despite being incarcerated, Epps continued her work with the Colorado Freedom Fund, the community bail fund she founded in 2018 to post bond for dozens of poor defendants awaiting trial.

“My goal is to try to get one woman out for every day that I’m in,” she said on her sixth day of work release.

Though Epps did not achieve that goal, she continues to fight for the rights of those behind bars.

Along with women like Angela Davis, Michelle Alexander and CeCe McDonald, Epps is one of the many brilliant minds committed to fighting for these rights.

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