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.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

What's Going On In Jena?

Is there something in the water?

First youth, then hurricane evacuees were tortured by Jena prison guards Print
Wednesday, 19 September 2007
Jena, Louisiana - Jena, the little town of 3,000 located about four hours north of New
Jena prison KKK on dumpster 100305 by NAACP.jpg
When Human Rights Watch and the NAACP LDF went to Jena in 2005 to investigate prisoners’ claims of severe abuse, they found “KKK” spray painted on a dumpster outside the prison. The Klan is rumored to be planning a counter-demonstration in Jena on Sept. 20. Photo: naacpldf.org
Orleans, where thousands of people are headed from all over the U.S. to a Sept. 20 rally for the young men known as the Jena 6, used to be best known for its notorious prison.

Called Jena Juvenile Justice Center when Wackenhut opened it in 1998, it promised counselors and teachers with college degrees to help young people turn their lives around. But in 2000, it was closed after a federal lawsuit revealed that youth were regularly being raped, brutalized and humiliated.

Expressing shock, the judge said, "The way this facility operates or has operated in the recent past is that young people are treated as if they walk on all fours." The infirmary logged 100 serious traumatic injuries in less than two months - a rate of two a day.

Some teenagers became so distraught they slit their wrists on the razor wire that surrounded the prison. Is it any wonder - considering that Jena was probably the home of most of the prison personnel - that this is the town where injustice against the Jena 6 has shocked the world?

The prison was reopened in September 2005 to house prisoners evacuated after Hurricane Katrina. Pretrial detainees were sent to Jena from Jefferson Parish Prison just outside New Orleans. Like the teenage prisoners housed there before them, treatment of these men by the guards in Jena amounted to nothing less than torture.

Interviews conducted with them Oct. 4, 2005, by Human Rights Watch and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) revealed widespread claims of abuse. Every detainee but one of the 23 interviewed reported that he had been hit or kicked by the prison staff.

Read the article here

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