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.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Deadly Sentences For Juveniles

The Denver Post

Two teenage boys have committed suicide in Colorado jails within the past 10 months.

Jimmy Stewart was 17 years old last November when he foolishly took his father's car and drove while he was intoxicated, killing another person. He was in a juvenile detention facility for three weeks before he was transferred to jail. He was remorseful. The detention center put him on suicide watch.

No one was watching him in the Denver County Jail. After several days in jail, he killed himself.

Robert Borrego was also 17 when he was arrested on May 26 in Pueblo for assault and possession of an illegal weapon (a butterfly knife). According to news reports, Borrego got into a fight outside the state fairgrounds following a tough-man competition and stabbed another kid. He had been in isolation in the county jail when he killed himself on June 15.

Neither of these young men was in jail because they had been a behavior problem in detention. They weren't in jail to protect the public; juvenile detention facilities are locked and secure. They weren't in jail because of a considered decision that jail was where they belonged. No one had assessed their psychological condition, criminal history, risk of flight, seriousness of the offense, and other factors particular to them before putting them in jail.

They were in jail because they were being charged as adults.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is no CO law that says minors charged as adults most be placed in adult jails- Boulder County does not.

The question to be asked is who is responsible for this ill fated practice in other counties?