Building Bridges

The monthly newsletter of the Prison Action Network

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Thursday, August 31, 2006

September 2006 - Building Bridges

Dear Reader,

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting very excited! Change is in the air. Family Empowerment Day 2 is gathering momentum. Parole Chairman Dennison is telling all at Beacon; the Class Action Lawsuit against Parole is going into Discovery; Courts are ruling against parole decisions; Pataki is on his way out and a new Governor (hopefully with fresh ideas) is coming in. It’s up to us to send a loud, clear, unwavering message at FED2, where media, advocates and politicians will be in attendance. It looks like we’re going to have a huge crowd, so get there early to be sure you get a seat. The Coalition has lined up some truly amazing people to talk to us about what they’ve accomplished and to help us get involved in the movement toward Justice. [See next to last article for details.] Parole is the main issue, but the most important thing is learning how to work together to create the changes that we all want. United we stand, divided we fall. We cannot let ourselves be divided. We must come together to work for what will improve life for all of us. If you’re reading this from your prison cell, encourage your loved ones to skip their visit on Sat 10/21 and attend Family Empowerment Day 2 instead. If you’re reading this from home, your loved one needs you to be out here working to improve conditions for him or her. We’ll have a great day together! This is a chance to give hope a chance, and to be renewed in the struggle for justice and freedom.


Articles:

1. ALBANY VIGILS FOR THE VICTIMS OF PRISON ABUSE - “Those now incarcerated will one day be released and will need to readjust and contribute to our communities.” Show that you care.

2. CHURCH TO PRISON PROJECT - “thanks to you who wrote in response to the article last month”

3. FEDERAL PAROLE BILL H.R.3072 - Support the restoration of federal parole.

4. FROM INSIDE (WILLIAM CLANTON, DENIS MARVIN) - WC: “As much as I am in agreement with Chief Judge Judith Kaye’s Commission on the Future of Indigent Defense Services, I must ponder on the sincerity of the recommendations.”, DM: “I am a 61 year old man serving a 25 years to life sentence... a story changed my life.”

5. HOW TO GET SECTION 8 OR PUBLIC HOUSING, EVEN WITH A CRIMINAL RECORD - “This guide tells people how they can get into Section 8 and public housing even if they – or someone in their household – has a criminal record or is in recovery from a drug or alcohol problem.”

6. MEETINGS - for those recently released, on parole, or with an incarcerated loved one; in Albany, Poughkeepsie, Buffalo.

7. PRISON RADIO PROGRAMS - Hudson River communities have 3 to choose from.

8. SEEKING CASES OF ROCKEFELLER DRUG LAW ABUSES - “The NYC Bar Association is working to put together a portfolio of cases that show a pattern of people being unfairly treated by the Rockefeller drug laws”

9. SHERRY BABY. A FILM ABOUT REENTRY - “Three years after entering prison for robbery as a 19-year-old heroin addict, Sherry Swanson (Maggie Gyllenhaal) begins her first day of freedom, clean and sober.”

10. SHU BILL VETOED BY PATAKI - Headlines from around the State.

11. TELEPHONE JUSTICE CAMPAIGN - “With families in the forefront, we CAN achieve the reform that is so urgently needed to end the existing Verizon/MCI contract and to ensure proper oversight of future telephone service contracts in the prison system.”

12. TRANSPORTATION TO PRISONS - Find a ride: NEST Shuttle, Free Rides, Ride Board [NEW this month; find a ride or give one].or support those riding the DOCS free bus.

Last: FAMILY EMPOWERMENT DAY 2 - “WE HAVE A WONDERFUL SLATE OF SPEAKERS AND DISCUSSION LEADERS!:”

LATE BREAKING NEWS: PATAKI APPOINTS ACTING DOCS COMMISSIONER


1. ALBANY VIGILS FOR THE VICTIMS OF PRISON ABUSE

1. Every Monday at 12 noon, State Street at the entrance to the Legislative Building
2. Every Tuesday at 5:30pm, corner of Washington Avenue and Lark Street
Those now incarcerated will one day be released and will need to readjust and contribute to our communities. Show that you care. Join us. For information call 518 727 4335 or 917 656 8046 or email, courtney920@hotmail.com


2. CHURCH TO PRISON PROJECT
The Justice Committee of FUUSA thanks those who wrote in response to the article last month describing their project to match NYS UU churches with persons incarcerated in NYS to engage in an issues-focused correspondence. The group will be reviewing those letters at their next meeting on Sept 17, as they begin their new season of work on the project.


3. FEDERAL PAROLE BILL H.R.3072
Would restore parole for federal prisoners.
For details of the bill, or for petition, visit www.fedcure.org, or write to FedCURE Plantation, Florida 33318-5667


4. FROM INSIDE (WILLIAM CLANTON, MARVIN DENIS)
Greetings to the Prison Action Network:

My prayers and condolences for the loss of Ms. Janet Elizabeth Lippincott Lugo. Anyone who sacrifices as she did deserves to be acknowledged and remembered. I’d like to find out how I can purchase the book she was co-author of. [“Instead of Prisons: A Handbook for Abolitionists (1976)” can be ordered from: PREAP, 3049 East Genesee Street , Syracuse, New York 13224 , Single copy ..$6.50 + $.50 postage & handling (Enclose payment for single orders) Ed.]

As much as I am in agreement with Chief Judge Judith Kaye’s Commission on the Future of Indigent Defense Services, I must ponder on the sincerity of the recommendations. Its findings are obvious as thousands of men and women have and remain to suffer from the very poor representation they received. Perhaps something should be done for those of us who have already suffered the ramifications of this injustice.

Not in any way to down play this issue of legal representation reform but let’s bear in mind the many politics surrounding some of the recent issues arising. If addressing the injustices is truly an issue then let’s begin in the many impoverished areas where minorities are being disproportionately targeted and sent to prison, by creating more jobs, and giving children in city schools equal education. Let’s not wait until they need equal and quality legal representation!

A few months ago I wrote that prisoners here in Coxsackie were trying to start a program called . C.H.I.S.E.L., an empowerment program to deal with emotional, psychological and spiritual aspects of being in prison and returning back into society. According to the administration here we are in need of support from an outside organization. I humbly request the help of established organizations on the outside to assist in this needed endeavor which will address the impact of incarceration. Please send all letters to me at Coxsackie C.F., PO Box 999, Coxsackie NY 12051.

Sincerely, William Clanton 03A4400


This I Believe:

I am a 61 year old man serving a 25 years to life sentence in a NYS prison. As a result, I have lost my wife, children, home and the comforts that 38 years of hard work enabled me to accumulate. Awakening each day I found myself mired in a swamp of dysfunction and violence that typifies life in a maximum security prison. As my world constricted around me, it suffocated my desire to go on living. There was no way I was going to survive until age 82 and my first parole board hearing. I felt like I had been thrown away and had been buried in a deep hole.

In our lives, if we are truly lucky, our soul is touched by another very special soul. For me that person has been my wife, Hohdel, whose support sustained me. She saw what was happening and sent me a copy of a story that has changed my life.

It was about a farmer whose old donkey had fallen into an abandoned well in a field. After locating the animal, the farmer decided that the well was too deep and the animal was not worth saving. He called his neighbors who all came with their shovels to help fill in the hole. As they started shoveling, the dirt rained down on the donkey and it kicked and brayed loudly in protest to being buried. I felt just like that donkey as the miseries of prison life rained down on me.

Then something strange happened. It became quiet at the bottom of the well. The farmer glanced over the edge and there was the donkey just standing there. As the dirt rained down on its back to bury him, he would shake it off his back and step up; shake it off his back and step up. As the well filled in, he got closer and closer to the top until he was able to step out and walk away.

What I believe is that I can be just like that donkey. If I kept shaking off the horrors associated with my prison environment, I too can step up and someday walk away. The same method that works everywhere else will work for me in prison. To accomplish this, I have surrounded myself with positive people. Yes! There are positive people even in prison and they reside in a self help, inmate run program called Network at the Clinton Correctional Facility Annex in upstate NY.

We voluntarily meet every day of the year for up to six hours to develop and practice new attitudes and behaviors needed to replace the ones that lead us to come to prison. Our programs deal with such things as decision making, overcoming all types of addiction, living a life without violence, learning to be assertive, and mastering parenting skills.

I’ve learned that prison doesn’t have to be a grave for my any more than it was for that donkey.

---Marvin Denis, 99B2409


5. HOW TO GET SECTION 8 OR PUBLIC HOUSING, EVEN WITH A CRIMINAL RECORD
From the Legal Action Center: A Guide for New York City Housing Authority Applicants and their Advocates

This guide tells people in New York City how they can get into Section 8 and public housing even if they – or someone in their household – has a criminal record or is in recovery from a drug or alcohol problem. It contains:

• New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) admissions policies for people with criminal records and recent illegal drug use,

• an explanation of the NYCHA appeals process,

• step-by-step suggestions for how to gather the evidence of rehabilitation necessary to gain housing, and

• sample letters of reference – the type that have proven useful in convincing housing authorities to admit people with criminal records and/or drug histories.

Though the manual focuses on New York City Housing Authority policies, its chapter on How Can You Win Your Hearing? can help people applying to any local housing authority. Its thorough advice for how to marshal evidence of rehabilitation applies equally to housing, employment, or occupational licenses.

This guide is a must-have for case workers, social workers, counselors, paralegals, and others who are helping individuals with criminal records and/or drug histories access public housing.

Go to the Center’s web site, www.lac.org, then click “ publications,” then "free publications" then “criminal justice”, and scroll down to the name of the guide) to download a free copy of the guide. If you can’t do that, Building Bridges will do it for you, but we’ll have to charge you $10. for printing and postage (it’s 80 pages long...)

Also note that through the Legal Action Center’s partnership with the major law firm, Debevoise & Plimpton, the Center can get legal representation for some individuals who have been denied public housing or Section 8 due to a criminal record or drug history. To see if you are eligible for assistance, call the Center at (212) 243-1313 on Tuesdays and Fridays and ask to speak with a paralegal. The Center has additional funding for individuals with HIV, so if you (or your client) is HIV positive, you can mention that and speak to a paralegal any day of the week.

Visit Legal Action Center’s web sites: www.lac.org, www.hirenetwork.org

Legal Action Center
225 Varick Street New York, New York 10014
Phone: 212-243-1313 Fax: 212-675-0286
E-mail: lacinfo@lac.org


6. MEETINGS:

A. Prison Families of New York groups:
ALBANY
7-8:30 pm every Monday at The Womens Bldg. 79 Central Ave, Albany. Ring the bell for the library and lounge to get in. Alison at 518 453 6659.

POUGHKEEPSIE
7 - 8:30 pm Monday Sept 11 and Sept 25 at the Family Partnership Building 29 North Hamilton Street. Deb at 845-616-9698, dabboz@aol.com


B. Other Advocacy/Self-Help Groups:
CITIZENS FOR RESTORATIVE JUSTICE. Thur. Sept 7 at the Family Partnership building at 29 North Hamilton Street in Poughkeepsie. Deb at 845-616-9698 or dabboz@aol.com

COALITION OF FAMILIES OF NYS LIFERS: Any family member or friend of a prisoner with life at the end of their sentence is invited to contact the Coalition of Families of New York State Lifers, PO Box 1314, Wappinger Falls, New York 12590 or liferfamilies@yahoo.com

. If you know anyone who is a family member or friend of a prisoner, please encourage them to write.
 
SURVIVING THE CITY: A support group for formerly incarcerated people in Albany - Sept 9 and 23 and every 2nd & 4th Saturday of the month - 11:30 am
176 Sheridan Ave, at the Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless Bldg.
Together, we're working to advance ourselves far beyond the walls that incarcerate us!!!
All formerly incarcerated individuals are welcome to come and share their hopes, inspirations, and experiences.
Call Nathan at 518 368 3480 for more information.

"PRISONERS ARE PEOPLE TOO!" will hold its monthly meeting on Monday, September 25, 2006 at the Pratt Willert Community Center, 422 Pratt Street in Buffalo, NY, from 6:30-9:00 pm. Programs feature a documentary film on some prison-related issue, guest speakers and a follow-up discussion. The final 30 minutes offers some time for networking, community building,  action organizing and camaraderie. Light refreshments are always provided. This program is sponsored by "The Circle of Supporters for Reformed Offenders" and "Friends of Baba Eng." For more information, call Karima Amin 716-834-8438.

"THE CONTINUUM OF CRIMINAL INJUSTICE," is scheduled to take place on Thursday, September 28, 2006 at the Pratt Willert Community Center, 422 Pratt Street in Buffalo, NY, from 6:00-9:00pm. The goal of the symposium is to take "an insightful look at  the death sentence, wrongful arrests and convictions, excessive charges, and wrongful sentences." The keynote speaker will be David Kaczynski, director of New Yorkers Against the Death Penalty. Featured presenters include: William Babbitt, board member of Murder Victims' Families for Human Rights; John Walker, who served 23 years for a crime he didn't commit, and who is now on lifetime parole; Gary Beamon, who spent time on death row for a crime for which he was later acquitted; and Evangelist Nora Massey, mother of Terrol Massey, who was recently found guilty of murder, a crime he allegedly committed at age 16. This program is being sponsored by the Community Action Organization, the Buffalo Local Action Committee, and Prisoners Are People Too! For more information, call Linda Williams at 716-881-5150, ext. 4410.


7. PRISON RADIO PROGRAMS
VOICES FROM THE PRISON ACTION NETWORK will be heard at 5:00pm on Tuesdays at WRPI Troy, 91.5 FM, until Sept 18, and probably at a new time after that, more than likely in the early morning . For those outside broadcast range, you can listen live at www.wrpi.org. Voices from the Prison Action Network is part of the Indymedia Radio Program which currently starts at 3 and ends at 6. Preceding Indymedia Radio, from 12-2 on Tuesdays, you can hear Wild Style Breaks hosted by DJ Sho' Nuf. Democracy Now! is also heard on WRPI Troy, every day at 9am.

THE FANCY BROCCOLI SHOW airs on somewhat alternate Sundays from 3 - 6pm on Independent Radio WVKR 91.3 FM, Poughkeepsie NY. WVKR streams online - go to www.live365.comand search for WVKR.

ON THE COUNT! WBAI 99.5 FM - Pacifica Radio in NYC 10:30 a.m.-12:00 N Saturdays


8. SEEKING CASES OF ROCKEFELLER DRUG LAW ABUSES:
This is from a letter sent to Joe Rudd, who forwarded it to Building Bridges:

My name is Michael Silverstein and I work for the NYC Bar Association. We’re a public interest organization engaged in public interest advocacy in Albany, including reform of the Rockefeller drug laws.

We are working to put together a portfolio of cases that show a pattern of people being unfairly treated by the Rockefeller drug laws; cases that highlight the injustice of its extreme sentences that are not helped by existing reforms. If you could describe any cases that you know of, or could point me in the direction of people who may be able to help further, please let me know.

It’s always a long road to reform in Albany, but we can make progress on this issue. I thank you greatly for whatever assistance you may be able to provide.

Please write to me at: Michael Silverstein, msilverstein@nycbar.org
or 42 W 44th St., Third Floor, NY NY 10036.


9. SHERRY BABY. A FILM ABOUT REENTRY
From the movie’s website: Three years after entering prison for robbery as a 19-year-old heroin addict, Sherry Swanson (Maggie Gyllenhaal) begins her first day of freedom, clean and sober. A model prisoner who has undergone personal transformation, she immediately sets out to regain custody of her young daughter Alexis (Ryan Simpkins), who has been cared for in her absence by her brother Bobby (Brad Henke) and his wife Lynn (Bridget Barkan).

Unprepared for the demands of the world she's stepped back into, Sherry's hopes of staying clean, getting a job, and becoming a responsible mother are challenged by the realities of unemployment, halfway houses, and parole restrictions. Bobby and Lynn's concerns about Sherry's ability to care for Alexis, and her inability to prove them wrong, threaten to destroy the already delicate relationship she has with her daughter, as well as her newfound sobriety.

Disillusioned and haunted by wounds from her childhood, Sherry is eventually confronted with life-altering questions about her own survival and what it means to be a good mother. Ultimately she learns that as the harsh realities of life often get in the way of her best intentions, sometimes it's best to take life one small step at a time.

It’s opening at the Landmark in NYC on September 8th. If you see it and would like to write a review, we’d be glad to publish it.
 
You can see the trailer at: www.sherrybaby-film/


10. SHU BILL VETOED BY PATAKI:
Alternatives to Solitary Confinement for Incarcerated Individuals with Severe Mental Illness
A.3926/S.2207

New York State Assembly Member Jeffrion Aubrey D-Queens, and Senator Nozzolio introduced A.3926/S.2207, making it illegal to place people with psychiatric disabilities in SHUs, and creating alternative therapeutic housing areas for people with psychiatric disabilities who are having difficulties functioning in prison.  It provides for the creation of psychiatric correctional facilities and transitional services programs for state prison inmates with severe mental illness.  This legislation would also provide for psychiatric correctional facilities to be jointly operated by the Department of Corrections and the Office of Mental Health.

06/23/06: PASSED SENATE, 08/04/06: Delivered to governor, 8/17/06: VETOED by Pataki

"In all, Pataki vetoed more than 70 bills on Thursday, many of them passed overwhelmingly in the Republican-controlled Senate and Democrat-controlled Assembly. That raises the possibility that the chambers could override some or all of the vetoes with a two-thirds vote in each chamber in special sessions this fall." Michael Gormley, Associated Press August 17, 2006

PATAKI'S NO-CARE PACKAGE   GOV'S MOVE WILL KEEP MENTALLY ILL INMATES IN SOLITARY AND IS SURE TO END MORE LIVES by Errol Louis New York Daily News   August 18, 2006: ....It looks like Gov. Pataki won't be running for President as a compassionate conservative. A few days after hobnobbing with potential voters at the Iowa State Fair - a well-known early stop for White House hopefuls - Pataki flew back home and this week vetoed a bill, overwhelmingly approved by the New York State Legislature, that would ban state prisons from putting mentally ill inmates in solitary confinement.

EFFORT TO BAN SOLITARY FOR MENTALLY ILL PRISONERS FAILS by MICHAEL GORMLEY Associated Press Writer August 17, 2006 ALBANY, N.Y. .... A bill that would have banned solitary confinement for dangerous mentally ill prisoners was vetoed Thursday by Gov. George Pataki. In his veto message, Pataki said prisons need to be able to impose disciplinary segregation to protect inmates and staff "from those who are unwilling to adhere to even the most minimum levels of civilized behavior." ... "While we work to ensure that prison inmates receive appropriate mental health services, we must do so in a way that is consistent with our obligation to ensure the continued preservation of the safety, security and order of the state's correctional facilities," Pataki said.

PATAKI VETOES PRISON BILL REGARDING MENTALLY ILL INMATES By: John Milgrim Ottaway News Service August 18, 2006 ALBANY- “Gov. George Pataki vetoed legislation meant to end the placement of mentally ill prison inmates into solitary confinement and to provide them with new treatment facilities....’It's a bitter disappointment,’ said Harvey Rosenthal, executive director of the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services. ‘He (Pataki) missed a great opportunity to make New York state a national leader. It's a terrible thing.’....’Besides being inhumane, placing a mentally ill inmate in solitary confinement makes a bad situation worse,’ said state Sen. Velmanette Montgomery, D-Brooklyn. ‘It creates prisoners who are more disruptive, more disturbed and more likely to hurt themselves or others.’ ...It could not be determined Thursday whether the Legislature planned to override the veto. “[emphasis added]


11. TELEPHONE JUSTICE
Every week on Wednesday encourage everyone you know to call Governor Pataki (212) 681-4580 or (518) 474-8390 and Verizon (800) 621-9900 from 8 am to 5 pm weekdays to say "I’m calling in support of the NY Campaign for Telephone Justice to ask that you put an end to the prison phone contract between Verizon/MCI and DOCS."
 
The New York Campaign for Telephone Justice is a project of the Center for Constitutional Rights, Prison Families Community Forum and Prison Families of NY, Inc.  Each year, New York State receives 57.5% of Verizon/MCI’s prison telephone profits in the form of commissions, which the state uses to fund basic prisoner services such as health care.  Each year, these commissions equal more than $20 million from the pockets of our families. Through lawsuits, legislative reform, public education and grassroots organizing, the campaign works to mobilize opposition against this foul partnership between Verizon/MCI and the New York State Department of Corrections (NYDOCS) that collects millions of dollars in profits each year from families maintaining telephone contact with their loved ones in prison by charging them 630% more than the average consumer ($3.00 connection fee and $0.16 per minute). The NY Campaign for Telephone Justice brings this injustice to the attention of the broader public through a range of media, events, legislative advocacy and direct actions.  With families in the forefront, help from you to get the word out and by continuing to apply public pressure, we CAN achieve the reform that is so urgently needed to end the existing Verizon/MCI contract and to ensure proper oversight of future telephone service contracts in the prison system.  If you are as outraged as I am -- I urge you to take action.
 
In solidarity and struggle, Marion Rodriguez, Organizer, NY Campaign for Telephone Justice


12. TRANSPORTATION TO PRISONS
A. PRISON ACTION NETWORK AND THE SRC JUSTICE COMMITTEE WILL MEET DOCS FREE BUS at the Albany bus terminal, 5:15AM on Saturday morning September 9. The bus will be traveling to Green Haven and Fishkill, and if needed to Mid-State. We will meet on Friday afternoon [Sept. 8] to prepare packets. Please call 518 253-7533 for location.

B. THE SRC JUSTICE COMMITTEE OFFERS RIDES: CALL 518 253-7533 IF YOU NEED A RIDE FROM ALBANY TO VISIT YOUR INCARCERATED LOVED ONE [there is no charge for this service]. Drivers are available only on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.

C. THE NEST PRISON SHUTTLE leaves Oakwood Ave Presbyt. Church parking lot, Troy, at 7 AM, and Albany Greyhound Bus station at 7:15 AM: Mt. McGregor, Washington, and Great Meadow Facilities on Sat, Sept 2 ($30 adults, $20 children), Coxsackie, Greene, Hudson Facilities, Sat, Sept. 9 and Sat, Sept. 23 ($15  adults and $10 children). Trip to the Utica Hub (Midstate, Marcy, Mohawk, Oneida) Sat, Sept. 16 leaving Troy at 5 AM ($40 adults, $25 children). Call for reservations and information: Linda O'Malley 518- 273-5199.

D. RIDE BOARD - If you would like to share a ride to the prison where you visit, please send us a note with where to, where from, and your contact info. We'll post it here. Here are the first requests:

To Bedford Hills from Albany - Qasim - freeb2beme@yahoo.com
To Gt. Meadow from Albany - Qasim - freeb2beme@yahoo.com
To Malone (Franklin C.F.) from NYC - Safiya Bandele - ibnk@aol.com
To Otisville from Albany - 9/3, lv’g 7am - Judith - 518 482 2029
To Sullivan from Albany - N. Johnson - 518 472 0217



FAMILY EMPOWERMENT DAY 2
October 21, 2006, 11 am - 3:00 pm
Enter at 50 East 7th Street (near Second Avenue, Manhattan)
Middle Collegiate Church

SOCIAL JUSTICE AND PAROLE REFORM
Family Empowerment Day 2 will be an event where families and supporters can meet one another to discuss ways to make things better for ourselves and our incarcerated loved ones.

AGENDA: KEYNOTE SPEECHES, DISCUSSION GROUPS, NETWORKING, REFRESHMENTS, INFORMATION TABLES, PETITIONS, LETTER WRITING

WE HAVE A WONDERFUL SLATE OF SPEAKERS AND DISCUSSION LEADERS!:
Karima Amin, Dir. “Prisoners Are People Too!”, educator, storyteller, community organizer
Safiya Bandele, Director, Women's Center, Medgar Evers College CUNY, Performance artist
Deb Bozydaj, Mother of a Lifer
Mark Chapman, Chair of African and African-American Studies At Fordham Univ. and Adjunct Professor of Theology and Ethics in the NYTS MPS Program at Sing Sing
Robert Isseks, Esq., Lead Attorney in the pending class action suit against Parole
Cheryl L. Kates, Esq., Dir. “Edge of Justice”, private attorney
Willie Thomas, 29+ yrs a prisoner,denied parole 7X
Stacey Thompson, CWP Outreach Coordinator
Rima Vesely-Flad, Dir. “ICARE” (Interfaith Coalition of Advocates for Re-entry and Employment).

DISCUSSION GROUPS:
Successful Organizing (Karima Amin),
Re-Entry Issues for Mothers and Wives (Safiya Bandele),
Special Needs of Lifers’ Families (Deb Bozydaj),
Prison Education (Mark Chapman),
Legal Tactics (Robert N. Isseks, Esq.),
Parole Appeals (Cheryl L. Kates, Esq.),
Parole Board Hearings (Willie Thomas, M.A.)
Leadership Development (Stacey Thompson),
Legislative Advocacy (Rima Vesely-Flad)

For more information or to volunteer your help, please email prisonaction@hotmail.com or call:
Western NY: 716-834-8438
Capital District: 518 253-7533
Poughkeepsie Area: 845 616-9698

Be There to Show You Care!



REMEMBER: OUR DISENFRANCHISED LOVED ONES IN PRISON NEED US TO DO 2 THINGS FOR THEM:

1. VOTE!

[If you have never registered or you have moved since you last voted, you will need to fill out a voter registration form and mail it before October 13, or hand deliver it to a Board of Elections by October 18. To be eligible to vote, you must be a US citizen and not serving a sentence for a felony, or on parole. People on probation ARE entitled to vote, as is anyone who has been discharged from parole. - Election Law 5-106.]

2. ATTEND FAMILY EMPOWERMENT DAY 2!


LATE BREAKING NEWS:

NEW YORK STATE GOVERNOR PATAKI PRESS RELEASE
 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 29, 2006
 
GOVERNOR PATAKI NAMES LECLAIRE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICES ACTING COMMISSIONER
 
Governor George E. Pataki has named Deputy Commissioner for Correctional Facilities Lucien J. Leclaire, Jr. as Acting Commissioner. Mr. Leclaire will replace Commissioner Glenn S. Goord, who is retiring after 32 years of service.
 
“I’m proud of the work accomplished with Glenn Goord at the helm of our correctional facilities,” Governor Pataki said. “Mr. Goord’s service has resulted in the creation, implementation and oversight of some of the Department's best innovations and improvements: including the Shock Incarceration Program and ensuring each prison meets nationally-accepted standards, operating at the safest level in 25 years.”
 
“I'm confident that Lucien Leclaire, Jr. will ensure that New York State’s prisons will continue to maintain the highest of standards that has been this systems’ hallmark for the past 11 years. His vast experience as a member of the Department for close to 30 years demonstrates that he can oversee and manage the 31,500 employees and 63,400 inmates held at our 69 state correctional facilities.”
 
Mr. Leclaire began his career with the Department as a Correction Officer in March 1977. He rose through the security ranks of Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Captain at various facilities until September of 1994 when he was appointed Director of Correctional Emergency Response Team (CERT) operations. In April of 1998, Mr. Leclaire was promoted to Assistant Commissioner for Facility Operations followed by his appointment to his current position of Deputy Commissioner for Correctional Facilities on April 15, 1999.
 
Glenn S. Goord, who began as a prison drug counselor and worked to become Commissioner of the New York State Department of Correctional Services - the fourth largest state prison system in the nation - will retire effective August 30, 2006. Mr. Goord's commitment to security contributes to the fact that inmate-on-staff and inmate-on-inmate assaults in recent years were the fewest in nearly a quarter-century. In 1997, Mr. Goord’s outstanding contributions to furthering excellence in corrections has earned him many awards, including the E.R. Cass Award, the highest honor bestowed by the American Correctional Association (ACA).