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Tue April 3, 2007
By Kevin Jefferies
Paris, Texas – A 15 year old Paris girl sentenced to up to 7 years in a Texas Youth Commission facility for shoving a teacher's aide has been released. Shaquanda Cotton was released from a facility in Brownwood Saturday.
The Cotton case has caused cries of racial injustice in Paris, with the NAACP calling for Cotton's timely release and multiple civil rights protests. The controversy surrounding the case led new TYC conservator Jim Kimbrough to examine the case and call Friday for an early release of Cotton. Kimbrough said it wasn't the circumstances behind the teen's original sentence that warranted the early release, but how her sentence had been extended at the facility. Authorities penalized her for contraband found in her cell and extra pair of socks. Cotton was the first of an estimated 550 juveniles incarcerated across Texas that Kimbrough has ordered released, as he takes charge of cleaning up the TYC after major sex scandals.
The Paris ISD is still under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education for allegations of discrimination.
Cotton has been communicating with the public on an internet blog at freeshaquandacotton.blogspot.com. On Sunday, the blog read simply, "I am free .