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, June 16, 2011

Sexting penalties for teens too severe, some states say - The Denver Post

Sexting penalties for teens too severe, some states say - The Denver Post

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A congressman who sends an X-rated photo of himself jeopardizes his reputation and his job. But in many states, teens caught doing the same thing can risk felony charges, jail time and being branded sexual offenders.

That's because minors who transmit sexually explicit photos of themselves, according to many state laws, are manufacturing and distributing child pornography. Lawmakers across the country say the problem of teen sexting didn't exist when they enacted harsh punishments for child porn, and many are considering changes that would ensure that minors don't face jail time for youthful mistakes.

"These are kids we're talking about. I don't think minors should face these severe punishments just for being stupid," said Rhode Island state Rep. Peter Martin, a Democrat from Newport who is sponsoring a bill to downgrade teen sexting from a felony to a juvenile offense.

Legislatures in 21 states have considered bills this year to adjust penalties for teen sexting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Lawmakers in New York, where Rep. Anthony Weiner is embroiled in a sexting scandal, are looking at legislation that would allow judges to send teens who send explicit photos to counseling instead of jail if prosecutors agree they meant no harm.

"It's an extraordinarily common behavior among kids, like it or not," said Amy Adler, a law professor at New York University who has studied how child-pornography laws have been applied to sexting. "I hope lawmakers and prosecutors figure out quickly how to address it because it's not going away."

Studies show that one in five teens has electronically transmitted explicit photos of themselves, and one-third say they have received such photos.

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