The Shaquanda Cotton Story
Last year in Paris, Texas a 14-year-old black freshman shoved a hall monitor at Paris High School in a dispute over entering the building before the school day had officially begun. Shaquanda Cotton was sentenced to 7 years in prison. She had no prior arrest record, and the hall monitor was not seriously injured. Just three months earlier, another Texas teenager of the same age was sentenced to probation for burning down her family’s house. She was white.
Joining us on Law and Disorder to discuss this case and the issue of juvenile justice in Texas on Law and Disorder is Will Harrell. Will is a former NVP and Director of the National Police Accountability Project of the National Lawyers Guild. He’s currently the Executive Director of the Texas ACLU and co-chair of the Texas Coalition Advocating Justice for Juveniles. He’s a primary advocate advancing an omnibus bill in the Texas legislature to reform the Texas Youth Commission. He was also appointed to a panel which is currently reviewing cases where a kid’s length of stay was extended in TYC and making recommendations regarding release. He successfully advocated for Shaquanda Cotton’s release.
Guest – Will Harrell, Executive Director of the Texas ACLU – Update: Will Harrell was recently named Ombudsman for the Texas Youth Commission.
Left Forum 2007: Deborah Small
The panel is titled, Prisons, Prisoners and Political Prisoners and chaired by our own Michael Smith. Deborah Small is the founder of Break the Chains. An organization that seeks to build a national movement within communities of color against punitive drug policies.
Brecht Forum: Joel Kovel, author of Overcoming Zionism
We go now to hear an excerpt from a speech given by author Joel Kovel. He spoke at the Brecht Forum recently about the release of his new book Overcoming Zionism: Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel/Palestine, published by Pluto Press.