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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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Friday, August 17, 2007

TYC Spokesman Has Himself Peppersprayed

Grits for Breakfast posted this wonderful article about the Texas Youth Commission spokesman having himself peppersprayed since he is the one who is pushing that practice.

AUSTIN – If the Texas Youth Commission decides to authorize more use of pepper spray on juvenile inmates, Jim Hurley is the guy who will have to defend it.

CHRIS CARSON/Special Contributor
CHRIS CARSON/Special Contributor
Texas Youth Commission investigator Richard Steptoe doused TYC spokesman Jim Hurley with pepper spray at his request Thursday.

So Mr. Hurley, the agency's main spokesman, decided to get shot in the face with it himself Thursday – in full view of his camera-toting colleagues.

"Yeah, that's pretty strong," he moaned once the spray took effect after a few seconds. Soon, he was kicking his feet and gritting his teeth. "It's so hot. It's so hot. God that burns."

Mr. Hurley doubled over in pain, squeezing stinging tears out of swollen, bloodshot eyes and falling to his knees as he struggled to keep his balance. An air of charade quickly broke out at the agency's Austin headquarters, with employees popping out of their offices giggling and taking up-close photos to document the spokesman frantically spitting and trying to stop his nose from gushing.

But for Mr. Hurley, whose agency is considering increasing its reliance on pepper spray to restrain unruly youths, it was for a noble cause. The agency has received tough criticism from juvenile justice advocates who call the spray barbaric, and say it sends the wrong message to inmates and their families.

"Whatever we're doing to our kids, I want to see what it feels like," he said afterward, his shirt waterlogged from cupfuls of cold water poured over his face, his right eye still nearly swollen shut. "Whoever is administering this spray needs to have been sprayed so they know the intensity."

Scott over at Grits had this to say:

TYC recently announced plans to use pepper spray on youth and Hurley had himself sprayed because he will be the main person defending the policy to the press and wanted to know what it was like.

Damn, Jim! You should have said something! If I'd known you wanted to do that, we could have done a Grits fundraiser and raffled off tickets to TYC employees for the honor! It woulda made a fortune!
Let Scott know in his comments who else at TYC you'd like to see pepper sprayed.


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