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Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Child Arrested For Not Testifying - Minnesota


VINELAND, Minn. (AP) -- The 11-year-old boy was led from his school in handcuffs, held overnight in a juvenile detention center, and hauled into court in shackles and an orange prison jumpsuit.

His crime? Missing a court date to testify as the victim of an assault.

The treatment of the boy, a member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, has reignited a decades-old feud between the tribe and officials from the surrounding county in central Minnesota.

''There's other people out there they could have picked to make an example of,'' said Kristie Lee Davis-Deyhle, the boy's mother, in her first interview about the case. ''Not an 11-year-old.''

Tribal leaders are calling for the resignation of the Mille Lacs County attorney, Jan Kolb, who says she was just carrying out policy in the face of a long history of band members ignoring subpoenas.

''I don't know that it should have been done differently,'' said Kolb, who was first elected in 1993. The uproar, she said, ''is a way to make Mille Lacs County look like it's racist.''

The Mille Lacs Band, now the largest employer in the county, and some of its neighbors have long had a tense relationship in their shared home around Lake Mille Lacs, Minnesota's second-biggest lake and a choice spot for walleye fishing and other outdoor recreation.

The official policy of the county is that the Mille Lacs Band's reservation no longer exists because of legal decisions dating to the early 20th century. Federal courts have rejected a lawsuit to that effect, but Kolb and the Mille Lacs County Commission maintain their position.

Kolb caused a flap last year by detailing the policy in a memo to county department heads. Soon after, members of the local American Indians Veterans Post 52 and the Ladies Auxiliary were booed by some spectators while riding a float in the Fourth of July parade in the Mille Lacs County town of Isle.

Against that backdrop came the arrest of the 11-year-old band member.

The boy was allegedly the victim of an assault by a 13-year-old classmate. But, Kolb said, the county was having trouble prosecuting the 13-year-old because the younger boy and his mother ignored subpoenas and missed several court dates. Davis-Deyhle said the family never got the subpoenas, and a tribal lawyer said the county is not diligent in making sure subpoenas are served. NY TIMES ARTICLE

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