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.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Mass Incarceration’s Collateral Damage: The Children Left Behind | The Nation

Mass Incarceration’s Collateral Damage: The Children Left Behind | The Nation

Steven Alexander was in sixth grade when his mother, Carmen
Demourelle, was sentenced to twelve years in prison for pickpocketing in
New Orleans’s French Quarter. Though she was held in a women’s prison
just an hour away, her four children could not telephone her and visited
only about once a year.

At the time of her arrest, Demourelle was working sporadically as a
beautician, though she was mainly making “fast money” by selling drugs
and picking pockets while her children were in school, she said. But
after school, she was an engaged and caring mother—until she was sent to
prison. “I missed everything about her,” Alexander recalled. “I wanted
her home.”

All four of Demourelle’s children moved in with their grandmother,
who worked nights at a hospital. She supported them financially,
Alexander said, but their schoolwork suffered almost immediately without
their mother, who had been strict, especially about school. She hadn’t
allowed them to play outside or turn on the television until their
homework was done. She enforced early bedtimes. And the children were
not allowed to spend time with neighbors deemed troublemakers.

Soon after their mother’s sentencing, however, homework went undone,
forbidden friendships blossomed, and evenings at nightclubs became
common—even on school nights.

None of the children finished high school. Almost all struggled with
addiction. Steven’s older brother Stanton got into constant fights. His
little sister, Sandria, was taunted by classmates, who told her: “If
your mother loved you, she wouldn’t have gone to jail.” While in ninth
grade, Sandria became pregnant and dropped out. Even the oldest,
Stanley, an honor student, quit school as a senior after getting his
girlfriend pregnant.

Steven stopped going to classes during the seventh grade. “I just wasn’t interested anymore,” he said.

read more ..... http://www.thenation.com/article/193121/mass-incarcerations-collateral-damage-children-left-behind

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