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, January 31, 2008

Breaking the School To Prison Pipeline

Darius was only nine when he was locked up. For two months, he languished in a juvenile facility -- alone, frightened. He missed his 10th birthday party. He missed Thanksgiving. He missed his stepfather's funeral.

His offense: He had threatened a teacher with a plastic utensil.

Unfortunately, Darius's early introduction to the juvenile justice system is not that uncommon.

Across America, countless school children -- particularly impoverished children of color -- are being pushed out of schools and into juvenile lock-ups for minor misconduct that in an earlier era would have warranted counseling or a trip to the principal's office, rather than a court appearance.

The problem is particularly acute in the Deep South, where one in four African-Americans lives in poverty.

The children and teens most at risk of entering this "school-to-prison pipeline" are those who, like Darius, have emotional troubles, educational disabilities or other mental health needs.

But rather than receiving the help they need in school, these vulnerable youths are being swept into a cold, uncaring maze of lawyers, courts, judges and detention facilities, where they are groomed for a brutal life in adult prisons.

Alternet

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

For this mess you can lay blame at the feet of the wonderful dept of education in Washington and President Busch with his slogan and program of, no child left behind!! djw

Lisa Kenney said...

Locking up a nine year old child is unconscionable. I hope that before February 20th, Coloradans will urge Governor Ritter to support HB 08-1208, the juvenile direct file bill. HB 08-1208 would raise the age at which prosecutors have the discretion to direct file juveniles into adult court from 14 to 16.

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