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.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

What They Won't Let Kenneth Foster Read

Scott over at Grits is looking into this as well...

Kenneth's case has garnered international attention because both prosecution and defense agree that he was 80 feet away from the murder of Michael LaHood. Earlier in the evening, he had been driving the man who pulled the trigger, Maurecio Brown. In Texas, that's enough to land him on Death Row.

Foster and I began to exchange letters on sports and politics after he read my book Welcome to the Terrordome.
thought that sending him my first book, What's My Name Fool?: Sports and Resistance in the U.S., would be a good follow-up -- but here is where the Texas Department of Corrections got its briefs in a bunch. A form titled "Texas Dept of Criminal Justice, Publication review/denial notification" issued to Kenneth on Aug. 9 says that What's My Name Fool? was banned from the row: "It contains material that a reasonable person would construe as written solely for the purpose of communicating information designed to achieve the breakdown of prisons through offender disruption such as strikes or riots."

It specifically said that Pages 44 and 55 met this criteria.

After lifting my jaw off the ground, I went to read those dangerous pages. On Page 44, the radioactive quote in question was from that seditious revolutionary Jackie Robinson -- you know, the guy whose number is retired by all of Major League Baseball. I quoted Robinson's autobiography, I Never Had It Made, when he wrote about suffering racism early in his rookie season:

The officials' fear that ideas -- even the ideas of sports history -- could cause a crisis in the Texas prisons reveals only how aware the Lone Star jailers are of how inhumanely they treat their prisoners.

There was a time in Texas when it was illegal to teach slaves to read. The fear was that ideas could turn anger often directed inward into action against those with their boots on black necks. It is perhaps the most fitting possible tribute to Jackie Robinson and Jack Johnson that their stories still strike fear into the hearts of those wearing the boots.

[Kenneth Foster is due to be executed on August 30th. Visit www.freekenneth.com for more information. PLEASE KEEP CALLING GOVERNOR PERRY! In Austin, call 512.463.1782. From outside Austin, call 800.252.9600. Fax: 512.463.1849. E-mail: send message from website: http:// www.governor.state.tx.us/contact. Contact Dave Zirin at edgeofsports@gmail.com]
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