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, February 23, 2007

Families Behind Bars

This story doesn't just leave a bad taste in my mouth, it makes me physically ill. We should be ashamed of ourselves, as a nation. How do we wrap our national conscience around the fact that CCA is making money off the incarceration of children and families?

Named after the co-founder of the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the T. Don Hutto Correctional Center in Taylor, Texas, opened as a medium-security prison in 1997. Today, the federal government pays CCA, the nation's largest private prison company, $95 per person per day to house the detainees, who wear jail-type uniforms and live in cells. (Truthout)

But they have not been charged with any crimes. In fact, nearly half of its 400 or so residents are children, including infants and toddlers.

The advocacy groups -- the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services -- said they based their complaints on visits to these sites by their members and interviews with detainees.

At the Hutto site, their report said, a child secretly passed a visitor a note that read: ''Help us and ask us questions,'' it said. The groups reported that many of the detainees cried during interviews.

''What hits you the hardest in there is that it's a prison. In Hutto, it's a prison,'' said Michelle Brane, detention and asylum project director for Women's Commission.

At a news conference, the groups charged that some families are kept up to two years in the facilities, with those petitioning for asylum or trying to prove they shouldn't be deported, remaining there the longest. NYTimes

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