Building Bridges

The monthly newsletter of the Prison Action Network

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Friday, June 30, 2006

Pataki Appoints 7 to Parole Board

The 7 new appointees and their expiration dates:

Jennifer Arena, June 16, 2008;
Alan J.Croce, June 18, 2009;
James Ferguson, July 6, 2011;
Gerald J. Greenan III, June 18, 2012;
Christina Hernandez, June 02, 2011;
G. Kevin Ludlow, June 18, 2011;
Chris Ortloff, June 18, 2012

Anyone having information on any of these people, please contact PAN.

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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Albany Prison Release Support Group

1. Albany Prison Release Support Group:

SURVIVING THE CITY,

A prison release support group
Every 2nd & 4th Saturday of the month - 11:30 am (next meeting June 10)
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.

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Muntaqim-Hayden Voting Rights Cases Dismissed

May 4, 2006, Disenfranchisement: News
"Court Dismisses Muntaqim-Hayden Voting Rights Cases"
 
Both felony disenfranchisement cases, Muntaqim v. Coombe and Hayden v. Pataki, consolidated in February 2005, were dismissed today by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Muntaqim-Hayden challenged New York's disenfranchisement law that bars people with felony convictions from voting while they are in prison or on parole. Because Blacks and Latinos are disproportionately arrested and convicted of felonies, the plaintiffs charged that the law dilutes the voting power of Black and Latino communities, and in doing so, violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act because of its denial of the right to vote on account of race.
 
In the first of two decisions, the Second Circuit today dismissed Muntaqim v. Coombe arguing that because Muntaqim was a resident of California before his incarceration and was never eligible to vote nor did he ever vote in New York, he lacks standing and consequently, the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. The Court contends: "Because [Muntaqim's] inability to vote in New York arises from the fact that he was a resident of California, not because he was a convicted felon subject to the application of New York Election Law...he has suffered no 'invasion of legally protected interest.' ... [A] favorable decision of this Court on his claim that New York Election Law...violates the VRA would do nothing to enfranchise him."
 
The Second Circuit also dismissed Hayden v. Pataki concluding that "Congress did not intend the Voting Rights Act to cover such [felon disenfranchisement] provisions" and that such an application "would alter the constitutional balance between the States and the Federal Government."
 
The decisions can be downloaded from the Decisions section of the Second Circuit's home page at www.ca2.uscourts.gov/.

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Jailhouse Lawyer’s Handbook available at no charge

The Center for Constitutional Rights, in alliance with the National Lawyers Guild, has just released “The Jailhouse Lawyer’s Handbook: How to Bring a Federal Lawsuit to Challenge Violations of Your Rights in Prison.” The handbook is a free resource for prisoners and their family members who wish to learn about legal options to challenge mistreatment in prison. It can be downloaded at www.ccr-ny.org, or you can request a copy by writing to the following address:

Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook, c/o The Center for Constitutional Rights, 666 Broadway, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10012

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Parole Policies Letter to Candidates

Anyone who would like copies of the following to mail out to the individual Candidates running for NYS Governor: Spitzer, Suozzi, Weld, Faso, please let Kathy know and she will e-mail these to you.  Anyone who would like their name added please send her your full name, city and state.  For those who are from out of state just list the city where your loved one is incarcerated.
 
Here is the copy of what will be sent to each candidate.  Please respond directly to liferfamilies@yahoo.com

Letter:
 
We, the members of the Coalition of Families of New York State Lifers (CFNYSL), represent over 13,000 families who struggle daily with the burden of having a loved one incarcerated in the state of New York with the word life in their sentence.

We are concerned with the parole commission’s stance as it now stands and with your plans for the commission if you become governor. As you are no doubt aware, the parole boards routinely denies parole to eligible men and women with good records and many years of incarceration because of “the severity of instant offense.” Unfortunately, this creates a sense of hopelessness since the nature of the crime is the one thing that can never be changed.
 
Many of our loved ones have served far over the 15, 20 or 25 years their minimum sentence called for.  Many have completed all the programs that DOCS has to offer and are just being warehoused for the political benefit of our current administration.
 
Statistics show that the current administration has managed to control the parole board and to cause men and women sentenced when parole was a realistic prospect, to be constantly re-sentenced to longer and longer terms in prison. We hope that if you become Governor, you will actively seek to reestablish fairness in parole board behavior. We want you to be smart on crime, but keeping an aging population in prison long past their eligibility for parole is not accomplishing that. It is simply ruining family’s lives, creating a sense of hopelessness in men and women who believed they needed to reform and redeem their lives; and echoes vast injustices from the very system that theoretically delivers justice to ALL its citizens.

We seek your response to these concerns prior to our having to make a decision in the voting booth in November.

Thank you.
 

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Friday, June 02, 2006

Help for Rockefeller Drug Law Prisoners

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