Thursday, March 29, 2007

shaquanda cotton: a candidate for early release?

On Tuesday, we brought you the story of 15-year-old Shaquanda Cotton of Paris, Texas who was sent to the Texas Youth Commission for a an indeterminate sentence of up to seven years for pushing a hall monitor.

Photo credit: Chicago Tribune

Today we learn that Cotton is "among the leading candidates for early release" amid the ongoing TYC sex scandal. The Chicago Tribune sums up the controversy nicely:
Texas' juvenile prison system, known as the Texas Youth Commission, was first rocked by scandal last month after revelations surfaced that two administrators at a youth prison in west Texas had allegedly coerced sex from inmates for years and that prison officials and local prosecutors chose not to pursue the cases.

Since then, the scandal has widened as reports surfaced of cover-ups and alleged sex abuse by guards and administrators at other prisons. More than a thousand investigations have now been opened. Meanwhile, Kimbrough discovered that 111 employees of the youth agency had felony arrests or convictions and another 437 had misdemeanor arrests or charges.

The top leadership of the youth commission was forced out, the board overseeing the agency resigned and Perry essentially placed the commission into receivership when he appointed Kimbrough to clean up the mess.
But back to Shaquanda Cotton. Grits for Breakfast says that even though the mainstream media in Texas has all but ignored Cotton, her story has gotten the attention of TYC Special Master Jay Kimbrough, who in an attempt to deflect even more controversy surrounding the TYC, has said that a special task force will review Cotton's case and consider her early release.

According to the Tribune, though, this wouldn't be the first time.

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.


Shawn said...

Shaquanda Cotton will be released to her mother on Saturday morning.

Check it out

beverly styles said...

i am a concerned citizen from the metro kansas city area and also a relative of ms cotton and i am very pleased to see that ms cotton will be released to her mother a place where any 15 year old young lady should be .i would surely hate to think that in the year 2007 there would still be signs of underlined genisie. aparently ms cotton has some issues that should had been addressed well before such an incident was escaalated to this level. what can we now expect from ms cotton when she has been clearly shown that our system failed her?