Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

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.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

E Coli Outbreak Sickens 70 at Jeffco Jail

Golden - E. coli bacteria has caused up to 70 cases of intestinal illness among Jefferson County Jail inmates, public health officials confirmed Wednesday.

The culprit is shiga toxin-producing E. coli, a family of bacteria that have been associated with eating undercooked beef and spinach, alfalfa sprouts and lettuce contaminated with human or animal feces.

It also can be spread from person to person.

Officials are waiting for test results on the precise E. coli strain.

"We're closer to finding the source of the outbreak," said Nancy Braden, spokeswoman for the Jefferson County Department of Public Health and Environment. "We do not know, and may never know, the exact source."

On Friday, a few inmates complained of abdominal cramping, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and bloody stools. The number grew over the weekend, with more cases identified Tuesday during the ongoing investigation.

Nine inmates have been sent to the hospital for treatment, with one remaining hospitalized. Thirty-seven are still sick.

"We want an answer" on the bacteria's source, said Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Jacki Kelley. "We don't want this to happen again."

Those who are sick have been separated from other inmates and are being given fluids and medications.

Shiga toxin-producing E. coli can cause illness ranging from mild symptoms to severe kidney complications, according to the state health department.

The Denver Post