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Monday, March 26, 2007

Update on Shaquanda Cotton

Here are a couple of updates I found at The Moderate Voice:

Per The Chicago Tribune -

HOUSTON - The sentences of many of the 4,700 delinquent youths now being held in Texas' juvenile prisons might have been arbitrarily and unfairly extended by prison authorities and thousands could be freed in a matter of weeks as part of a sweeping overhaul of the scandal-plagued juvenile system, state officials say.

Jay Kimbrough, a special master appointed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry to investigate the system after allegations surfaced that some prison officials were coercing imprisoned youths for sex, said he would assemble a committee to review the sentence of every youth in the system.

On Shaquanda -

Among the leading candidates for early release is Shaquanda Cotton, a 14-year-old black girl from the small east Texas town of Paris, who was sent to prison for up to 7 years for shoving a hall monitor at her high school while other young white offenders convicted of more serious crimes received probation in the town's courts.

Shaquanda's story was the subject of a March 12 Tribune article that triggered hundreds of Internet blog articles and thousands of message board postings and led to a nationwide letter-writing campaign to the Texas governor decrying perceived racial discrimination in her case.

Cotton, now 15, has been incarcerated at a youth prison in Brownwood, Texas, for the last year on a sentence that could run until her 21st birthday. But like many of the other youths in the system, she is eligible to earn earlier release if she achieves certain social, behavioral and educational milestones while in prison.

But officials at the Ron Jackson Correctional Complex have repeatedly extended Shaquanda's sentence because she refuses to admit her guilt and because she was found with contraband in her cell – an extra pair of socks. (contraband?)

Shaquanda's plight has now hit the talk radio show circuit. There are protests going on, and the letter-writing campaign is getting notice. This is the power of the blogosphere, people. Every voice does make a difference, so please do send in those letters and please keep blogging.


Sharon Cullars Coffee Talk at 3/26/2007 09:12:00 PM Permanent Link     | | Home


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