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, January 11, 2012

Severe Prison Conditions Greet Young Offenders Serving Life

The Digital Journal
More than 2,500 youth offenders serving life without parole sentences in United States adult prisons experience conditions violating basic human rights, including denied access to education, isolationism, rape, and assault, according to a new report.

A new 47-page report by Human Rights Watch, Against All Odds: Prison Conditions for Youth Offenders Serving Life without Parole Sentences in the United States (pdf), gathered research, interviews and correspondence over a six-year period, from correctional officials and youth offenders sentenced to die in prison, or, serving life without parole (LWOP). “Children who commit serious crimes and who inflict harm on others should be held accountable,” said Alison Parker, director of the U.S. program at HRW and the report’s co-author, in a news release. “But neither youth offenders, nor any other prisoner, should endure any form of physical abuse.” The report defines youth offenders as persons convicted of crimes committed while they were below the age of 18. Spelling and grammatical errors are left in place where prisoners’ survey responses or letters are quoted. Pseudonyms for offenders were used for protection. Against All Odds calls youthful offenders’ survey responses, letters, and interviews
eloquent testimony to the stunting and desperation felt by youth serving life without parole sentences.
The new research reveals severe prison conditions - conditions HRW states “violate fundamental international human rights laws and standards” - youth offenders serving LWOP are facing. Often entering prison while still children, these offenders must cope with solitary confinement, increased risk of suicide, denied adequate mental health care, and the ever-present abuse. Some spend years with only fleeting human contact. Of the 560 youth offenders in 11 states contacted by HRW for the report, none had managed to avoid prison violence. HRW noted prison officials condoning such violence become part of the “serious human rights abuse” problem.

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/317660#ixzz1j9h4MKBq

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