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

Girl's Reform School Sued - Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss., July 11 — Troubled adolescent girls at the Columbia Training School, a state-run reform school, were shackled for 12 hours a day and forced to eat and to use the bathroom while wearing the shackles, according to a federal lawsuit filed here Wednesday by five of the girls against Mississippi officials, including Gov. Haley Barbour.

Another girl at the school was sexually assaulted by a guard, and three of the shackled girls were able to cut themselves even though they had been placed on suicide watch, according to the suit, filed in Federal District Court by the Mississippi Youth Justice Project.

Most of the 30-odd girls at the school are being held for nonviolent offenses like drug possession or shoplifting, and most suffer from a mental disorder.

Reports of what the lawsuit calls “widespread abuse” at the Columbia school and a similar institution for boys, the Oakley school, are not new. In 1977 a federal judge curtailed the use of isolation cells and pushed for the hiring of doctors; five years ago the State Legislature found numerous inadequacies; and four years ago the Justice Department discovered that young offenders were being hogtied, shackled, choked and beaten. The department sued Mississippi over those and other abuses, and a settlement was reached in 2005.