"Shaquanda may be released soon!"
[from the Chicago Tribune]
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.
The goal, Kimbrough said, is to release any youth whose sentence was improperly extended without justification or in retaliation for filing complaints. In his initial review of sentences, Kimbrough said, he had found many questionable extensions, adding that some experts estimate that more 60 percent of the state's youthful inmates might be languishing under wrongful detention.
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....
On a grimmer note, however:
Shaquanda's father dies
I spoke to Paris, Texas, civil rights activist, Mrs. Brenda Cherry tonight, and she informed me Shaquanda’s father died approximately a week ago in Oklahoma.
The funeral was this past Saturday.
Mrs. Creola Cotton did not tell Shaquanda of her father’s death until today. She delayed breaking the news to her until she could do it in person, rather than by phone.
According to Mrs. Cherry, Shaquanda took her father’s death quite hard.
Shaquanda has received a blizzard of cards and her family sends their thanks.
God love her. Yep: there're those family values in action all right. stick the kid to languish away from her parents, and her father DIES and she misses the funeral, without having seen him or even known it was happening. I'm sure that'll learn her...whatever it was she was supposed to be learning. for FUCK'S sake.