Building Bridges

The monthly newsletter of the Prison Action Network

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Friday, August 31, 2007

SEPTEMBER 2007

Dear Reader,

We are so busy preparing for the Biggest and Best Family Empowerment Day events ever, that we’re barely paying attention to anything else. The Family Empowerment Project working group met on August 20 and had a great meeting.  We have developed trust in each other and in our ability to take on this momentous task of starting a movement for change.  We certainly are committed!  And we certainly have hope!  And we have motivation that comes from our own personal experiences with the criminal justice and prison systems.  We are not doing this for a paycheck.  There is no monetary reward for what we are doing; in fact we are digging deep into our own pockets to help finance it.  But we are being rewarded.  We are rewarded by knowing we are doing the right thing; that in the face of oppression and injustice we are not dissolving into apathy, but we are putting our time and energy into building a force of liberation and justice!  What a thrill it is to be part of this!  Please join us!


ARTICLES

1. FAMILY EMPOWERMENT DAY 3 - Updates: Three Locations! Three dates! Three Opportunities!
1. FED3/NYC: Sat Oct 20 - 2. FED3/WNY: Sat Nov 3 - 3. FED3/ALB: Sat Dec 1.

2. COLUMBIA LAW STUDENTS - The law students at Columbia are eager to get involved in FED3. The result of this collaboration could be momentous!

3. GOALS FOR FED3 - We want to fill the rooms of the FED3 events so that we can empty the cells of our deserving loved ones.

4. LEAFLETTING - It’s an opportunity to reach people who may not be already politically active and therefore are unaware of FED3.

5. SPEAKER’S BUREAU - The Family Empowerment Project Speaker's Bureau is now available to speak to your organization.

6. TIPS FOR PROMOTING FED3 EVENTS - Something makes each one of us feel it's important to solicit contributions and get people to attend. It's your enthusiasm that will sell the event. 

7. WHO’S FUNDING FED3? - You are! We all stand to benefit, so let’s all chip in to make this work.

8. DRUG LAW REFORMS - WHERE ARE THEY? - "This isn't the criminal justice system we're supposed to have in this country."

9. FAILURE TO REVIEW SENTENCING MINUTES: REVERSIBLE ERROR - "the Parole Board must give heed to the sentencing minutes in a Parole Board hearing.", says Parole Appeals lawyer Cheryl Kates.

10. INMATES HAVE POLITICAL PULL - In five counties the inmate population was large enough in one or more districts to dilute the political power of residents in the others.

11. JENNIFER ARENA’S QUALIFICATIONS QUESTIONED - If Ms. Arena‘s qualifications are not satisfactory why then is she still sitting on Board hearings? Is there a legal/reversible argument to this issue?

12. PAROLE - Update on Graziano; S2016-A permits discharge from parole; Parole Support for Howard Hughes; Aug. Releases

13. PRISON RADIO - Listen to views you won't hear elsewhere.

14. TRANSPORTATION TO PRISONS - from the Capital District, and elsewhere on the DOCS Free Bus

15. VIOLENT OFFENDERS WINNING INCREASED PAROLE RELEASE - From January to July 2007, [the] percentage increased to more than 15 percent and June's release rate [was] 26.7 percent.

16. WHAT’S HAPPENING AROUND NEW YORK STATE - Buffalo: PRP2! presents film, “Attica Riot: Chaos Behind Bars.” and Leslie James Pickering, author of MAD BOMBER MELVILLE, Sept 24.
Kingston NY: Passing the Torch-Through the Arts Inc presents RECIDIVISM, a one act play about gang violence and WHEN CHICKENS COME HOME TO ROOST about last year in life of Malcolm X.

17. WORDS FROM INSIDE: "Change Requires Persistence, so please stay committed. I will do the same." - Jehan Abdur-Raheem; "History is in the making and it is time for us to be a part of it, rather than just be included in it by those who have for centuries misrepresented us." - Zayd Rashid

18. FED3/WNY ANNOUNCEMENT - Please SPREAD THE WORD.

**SUPPORT MEETINGS - no space for the schedule this month, please see past issues in the archives.



1. FAMILY EMPOWERMENT DAY 3 - UPDATES 
Three Locations! Three dates! Three Opportunities!

"Educating for Empowerment": Family Empowerment Day 3
Presented by the Family Empowerment Project of the Prison Action Network

ONE!
FED3/NYC: Saturday, October 20, 2007
9:30 am - 3:30 pm
Columbia Law School, 435 West 116th St. (and Amsterdam), Manhattan

TWO!
FED3/WNY: Saturday, November 3, 2007
8:30 am - 3:30 pm
Cold Spring Church of God in Christ, 107 Verplanck St., Buffalo NY

THREE!
FED3/ALB: Saturday December 1, 2007
Albany NY - time and location to be announced soon.

This year's Family Empowerment Day will be bigger and better
because it's time to start DOING, instead of just TALKING.

NYC AGENDA - October 20
KEYNOTE SPEAKER: ANNETTE DICKERSON
Coordinator of the Telephone Justice Campaign will describe the strategies that led to lower telephone rates for all of us who accept calls from prison.

A FEW OF THE BREAKOUT-SESSIONS:
Why and How to Vote: Maggie Williams, Voter Enfranchisement Project of Bx Defenders.

Using the Legal Process: Robert Isseks, Lead Attorney, Graziano, et.al. vs. Pataki:

Faith-based Advocacy: Rima Vesely-Flad, Dir., ICARE

Prison Relationships and Re-Entry: Safiya Bandele, Performance Artist, Dir, Women's Ctr at Medgar Evers Coll.


MUSIC: (Please help us find musicians who will inspire and energize our movement for change).

FOOD: A simple lunch will be provided; contributions of homemade food are encouraged.

CHILD CARE: provided by Jorge Diaz, former head of the children's center at Sing Sing, and his staff.


WNY AGENDA - November 3 - SEE ANNOUNCEMENT (#18) FOR DETAILS of event in Buffalo.

ALBANY AGENDA - December 1: ORGANIZER: REV. GLORYA ASKEW, Director of Ministerial Services, NYS DOCS, Co-Sponsored by FEP and The Justice Committee, FUUSA
Plans In Progress

FOR all FED 3 UPDATES: 518 253 7533, prisonaction@hotmail.com


2. COLUMBIA LAW STUDENTS
The law students at Columbia are eager to get involved in FED3. In the next few weeks we will be meeting with them to discuss the ways.  We see this as a great opportunity to reach them at the beginning of their careers, when they are fresh and idealistic (we hope), to show them a side of life they may never before have had the opportunity to see. We hope they will in return be interested in helping us with our legal battles against the injustices that are part of our daily lives.  The result of this collaboration could be momentous!  Who knows where it will lead?!


3. GOALS FOR FED3
We want to bring our incarcerated loved ones home when they are ready and able to contribute to the communities they left. We want to learn the techniques and strategies that will accomplish this. We want to fill the rooms of the FED3 events so that eventually we can empty the cells where our deserving loved ones are kept from us. People in prison need to urge their loved ones to skip their visit on the day of the event! One visit seems a small price to pay for freedom.


4. LEAFLETTING
Family Empowerment Project has been given permission to leaflet at the Free DOCS Bus stop at 41st St and 8th Ave IN NYC.  We need many more people to help with this.  It’s an opportunity to reach people who may not be already politically active and therefore are unaware of FED3.  Unless we show up at the bus stop they may never hear about it.  We have the schedule and we can supply flyers. Contact us at 518 253-7533 to sign up.


5. SPEAKER’S BUREAU
The Family Empowerment Project Speaker's Bureau is now available to speak to your organization if you would like to learn more about becoming a part of FEP. To schedule, please call 518 253 7533 or email resiliencemultimedia@verizon.net.


6. TIPS FOR PROMOTING FED3 EVENTS
Several people at the planning meeting spoke about feeling inadequate to speak about Family Empowerment Day3 when they ask for money or urge people to attend.  The idea of creating a script was suggested.  But everyone, without exception, DID speak eloquently about the event.  Something brings us to these meetings.  Something has YOU reading these words. Something has made you, dear reader, excited about Family Empowerment Day. That’s why checks are rolling in, some of them for only 50 cents and several for $100 or more. Something makes each one of us feel it's important to solicit contributions and get people to attend.  What is it that motivates YOU?  That's all you have to know.  That's all you have to tell people!  It's your enthusiasm that will sell the event.  And if people want details, tell them what you know and refer them to this website or to the information hotline: 518 253 7533 for more information. 


7. WHO’S FUNDING FED3?
You are! We all stand to benefit, so let’s all chip in to make this work. Please, please send a donation! No amount is too small, or too large! If every single reader sent $7.00 we would have enough to support all three events! Please send checks made out to Prison Action Network to PAN, HM-IMC, PO Box 35, Troy NY 12181. And if you don’t have any money to send, you’re invited to use your time talking to everyone you meet about the importance of supporting the FED3 events.


8. DRUG LAW REFORMS - WHERE ARE THEY?
The only hope for a change in the Rockefeller Drug laws, which can sentence a person to the same sentence as second degree murder, is the Prison Sentencing Reform Committee set up by Gov. Eliot Spitzer that has only recently begun to hold preliminary meetings and whose final report is not expected until early 2008. Critics say that the law ignores major drug dealers and only imprisons minor players in the drug trade. For this reason, they argue, it incarcerates a disproportionate number of minorities. Indeed, since the laws were enacted, more than 90% of those sentenced have been black or Latino, according to the group Real Reform New York.

Gov. Spitzer's seven-member commission will conduct reviews of the state's toughest sentencing practices, under which the Rockefeller laws fall, but it is unlikely to bring about a full repeal of the laws.

"These things keep carrying over and you just wonder when it's all going to be done," Cheri O'Donaghue, whose son is in prison for 7-21 years on a first offense, for delivering cocaine to upstate, says. "When do we get the final report? After the next legislative session?"

"The problem is that they are using a prison cell to address what should be public health issue," says Gabriel Sayegh, a project director at the Drug Policy Alliance. "This isn't the criminal justice system we're supposed to have in this country."

[from the article ‘Mandatory Sentencing: Stalled Reform’ by Madison Gray/New York, published on August 17 and sent to us by Anthony Papa, Communications Specialist at the Drug Policy Alliance. You can find the article at www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1653862,00.html]


9. FAILURE TO REVIEW SENTENCING MINUTES: REVERSIBLE ERROR
Cheryl L. Kates Esq.
CPL 380. 70 mandates when a defendant is given a indeterminate or determinate sentence a certified copy of the stenographic minutes of the sentencing proceeding and a certificate of conviction specifying the section and to the extent applicable, the subdivision paragraph, and subparagraph of the penal law or other statute the defendant was convicted, must be delivered to the person in charge of the institution in which the defendant has been delivered within 30 days from the date the sentence was imposed. NYS CPL 380.70.

It has been recognized that the Parole Board must give heed to the sentencing minutes in a Parole Board hearing. It must pay attention to the wishes of the sentencing judge and the district attorney. The Third Department recently visited this issue in the Standley case.

In Standley, the inmate was serving a term of 20-life for Murder in the second degree. The court found that when the Parole Board did not consider the sentencing minutes and the recommendations of the sentencing judge the judgment of a parole denial must be reversed. NYS Executive Law § 259 (i) (a) (1); (2) (c) (a); Matter of Edwards v. Travis, 304 A.D. 2d 576 (2003); Matter of Walker v. NYS Division of Parole, 203 A.D. 2d 757 (1994); Pennix v. Dennison, Index No. 1977/2006 (Duchess Co., Sammarco, Dec. 19, 2006); Standley v. NYS Division of Parole, Index No. 99252 (3d Dept., 2006); Lovell v. NYS Div. of Parole, 2007 NY Slip. Op. 03809 (3d Dept., May 3, 2007). Carter v. Dennison, 2007 NY Slip Op. 501614 (3d Dept., July 19, 2007)

In McLaurin v. NYS Board of Parole, 2006 NY Slip Op. 01806 (2d Dept., May 17, 2007) the court held the Parole Board was required to order a copy of the sentencing minutes and granted the petitioner a new hearing. The Board must consider the minutes prior to making a parole release decision. NYS Executive Law § 259 (i); Matter of Edwards v. Travis, 304 A.D. 2d 576 (2003); Matter of Weinstein v. Dennison, 7 Misc. 3d 1009A (2005). Lovell v. NYS Div. of Parole, 2007 NY Slip. Op. 03809 (3rd Dept., May 3, 2007).

If you have recently been hit by the Board you should immediately file a F.O.I.L. request asking the facility parole officer for a copy of your sentencing minutes and when they received them. If they do not have a copy this issue should be raised in an administrative appeal as it is reversible error. You should order a copy of your sentencing and or plea minutes from the court if the parole office does not have them as often times there are statements in these minutes indicating the court and or DA etc. thought you should serve your minimum sentence.

The new administration has been handling these matters in an expeditious manner for my office in appeals. My clients have been granted de novo hearings when we provided evidence to the fact the facility parole officer did not receive the sentencing minutes prior to the parole board hearing.
[Cheryl L. Kates Esq. can be contacted at PO Box 711, Honeoye, NY 14471. (585) 820-3818.
Her website can be found at www.cherylkatesesq.com]


10. INMATES HAVE POLITICAL PULL
What's new from Prisoners of the Census, www.prisonersofthecensus.org a project of the Prison Policy Initiative:

[The following are excerpts from the original article. You can click on the link below to read the whole article]

INMATES HAVE POLITICAL PULL IN SOME NEW YORK COUNTIES, By Sam Roberts, New York Times, August 7, 2007 [URL: www.nytimes.com

More than 6 in 10 people who live in the western New York town of Groveland have probably never heard of their representative on the Livingston County Board of Supervisors, James C. Merrick. They certainly have never voted for him. But because of them, Mr. Merrick wields more than twice the voting power that he otherwise would on the Livingston County Board of Supervisors. That's because in the weighted voting system that the board uses to apportion political power, Livingston County counts Groveland's 2,100 state prison inmates as town residents, even though virtually all of them have addresses elsewhere and would leave town at the first opportunity. But under the system, the inmates make up about 62 percent of Groveland's 3,500 people. In Livingston County, each of the 17 supervisors gets a weighted number of votes based on population. The census counted about 3,500 people in Groveland last year, about 2,100 of whom are in prison. According to the Prison Policy Initiative study, Mr. Merrick is allocated 107 votes out of 1,752 votes on the board. He would get only 40 if the prisoners were excluded.

A new study has found that 15 counties in New York, as well as the five that make up New York City, include inmate populations when they redistrict or apportion votes in local legislative bodies. In five of those counties, the study concluded, the inmate population was large enough in one or more districts to dilute the political power of residents in the others.

Legislation that has been pending in Albany would reconfigure census results to count prisoners where they came from, not where they are currently incarcerated.

In New York City, 8 percent of the population of the 22nd Council District in Astoria are Rikers Island inmates, which means that the local councilman, Peter F. Vallone Jr., who, as a prosecutor once helped populate Rikers, actually has fewer voting constituents than most of his colleagues. But arguably, the prison population gives residents of Mr. Vallone's district in northwest Queens more weight in Council politics compared with the rest of New Yorkers.

Peter Wagner, the executive director of the Prison Policy Initiative, said that including prisoners in local census totals "has significantly distorted local democracy" in Livingston and four other New York counties -- Chautauqua, Oneida, Madison and St. Lawrence -- where the vote in districts without prisons is diluted by more than 20 percent.


11. JENNIFER ARENA’S QUALIFICATIONS QUESTIONED
Dear Editor,
Last year you published a commentary on an article, Pataki Appoints 7 to Parole Board, originally written by Frederick U. Dicker, 6/24/06, NY Post. The article highlights the two year appointment of Jennifer Arena, who, according to the article, does not meet the work experience qualification to be appointed a commissioner to the Parole Board.
I went to the Board on July 10, 2007 and Ms. Arena was the questioning commissioner during my hearing. If Ms. Arena‘s qualifications are not satisfactory why then is she still sitting on Board hearings? How is the new Administration justifying her functioning as a parole commissioner? Is there a legal/reversible argument to this issue?
I've researched Executive law Section 259-b (2) and have not run into any cases that annulled a denial decision on the basis that a commissioner was not qualified. Do you know of anyone I could contact to assist me in this matter? Thank you. - Alejo Rodriguez
[If you can help, please send your responses to PAN and we will forward them]


12. PAROLE
Graziano, et. al VS Pataki
Still no settlement or decision. Twice in August the parties asked for an extension, because they still had not reached an agreement. The state requested an extension “so the Division of Parole and the Department of Correctional Services could gauge the feasibility of conducting a new series of parole interviews given the limited size of the board.”

S2016-A  
MONTGOMERY, DUANE, KRUEGER
Rpld & add S259-j, Exec L
Permits discharge from parole for any offender if the board of parole is satisfied that absolute discharge is in the best interests of society.
  • Click here to read the bill,
  • put in the number of the bill: S2016-A, choose locate, and then text

    Parole Support
    This month’s featured parole hearing is that of Howard Hughes who will see the Parole Board in Nov. He asks for support letters on his behalf: “I’ve been incarcerated for 29 years. It is very difficult to explain my past antisocial behavior because there is no logical explanation for the things I have done or for the lifestyle I once lived. But I do deeply regret my part in this terrible crime which resulted in the death of a man and lifelong pain for his family. For the rest of my life, I must live with making that wrong decision over and over and over again. I believe that one day I will see my victim because I believe in God and an afterlife. When I see him, I will beg for forgiveness. My punishment is not how many years I may serve in prison; my punishment is living with what I have done. Sad as it is, prison does have redemptive qualities; because it allowed me to experience the sufferings from my past bad deeds. I believe God provides all of us a road, and there exists no person alive who cannot make a new beginning from their past. I have learned that true happiness is doing good for others.” He goes on to describe how he has not had one single disciplinary infraction in his entire incarceration. He hates who he once was and has taken every self improvement course, educational track, drug program, anger management and anti-violence training in order to rehabilitate himself. He has a degree, among others, from the NYTS, and plans to continue his education upon release. Howard has gained many skills and certificates. He’s had outside clearance privileges since 1998. He has the support of many community organizations. You may write him for more details or send your letter of support to him: Howard Hughes 81A2890, Mid-Orange C.F., 900 Kings Highway, Warwick, NY 10990

    August Releases: Congratulations to Brian Conlan who made it on his third board appearance and to Richard Winkler on his second! [if you know of people who get released at this month’s hearings, or of the number of releases at a particular prison, contact us and we’ll publish the good news.]


    13. PRISON RADIO
    Al Lewis Lives, hosted by Karen Lewis, broadcasts on Saturdays from noon to 1:30 pm on WBAI, 99.5 FM, NYC.  Often you'll hear old friends calling in or joining Karen in the WBAI studio.
    [www.wbai.org to listen live from your computer. Program also archived for 30 days]

    The Fancy Broccoli Show: Fancy Broccoli airs on WVKR, 91.3FM, Poughkeepsie NY. on Sundays from 3 - 6 pm, Eastern Time, and streams online - go to www.WVKR.org and click on (or near) the word 'LISTEN'.

    Democracy Now!, with Amy Goodman, also airs on WBAI - from 8AM-9AM weekdays, on WVKR every weekday from 5PM-6PM, and on WRPI Troy, 91.5 FM from 9AM-10AM.

    Justice Pages Audio at www.justicepages.org

    Voices from the Prison Action Network: Latest: Lawyer Cheryl L. Kates discussing the importance of sentencing minutes both at Parole Hearings and in appeals of Parole denials. Scheduled for September 9: Mike Monasterial (see Article 16 below). At www.radio4all.net - browse by series, choose V, then scroll down to Voices from the Prison....


    14. TRANSPORTATION TO PRISONS
    From the CAPITAL DISTRICT:
    The NEST Prison Shuttle schedule: Mt. McGregor, Washington, and Great Meadow CFs on Sat, Sept 1 ($30 adults, $20 children), Coxsackie, Greene, and Hudson CFs on Sun, Sept 9 ($15  adults and $10 children), from Oakwood Ave Presbyt. Church parking lot, Troy at 7 AM, and Albany Greyhound bus station at 7:15. Trip to Utica (Midstate, Marcy, Mohawk, Oneida CFs) on Sat, Sept 15, and Sullivan (Ulster, Eastern, Woodbourne, Sullivan CFs) on Sat, Sept 22 leaving at 5 AM ($40 adults, $25 children). Reservations: Linda O'Malley 518- 273-5199.

    Ride board request - Sharon Crispell - looking for a ride and sharing of gas expenses to Mid-Orange Correctional Facility from Capital District [Contact PAN and we’ll forward your offer]

    Door to door, free rides are offered from Albany to prisons within 150 miles by volunteers of FUUSA’s Justice Committee on weekdays only. Please contact us at 518 253-7533 if you need a ride.

    STATEWIDE: DOCS Free Bus - to find out how to sign up, from NYC area: Deacon Mason on Tues & Fri, 212 961 4026, or on Wed & Thurs, 518 485 9212; from Buffalo area: Rev. Roberson 716 532 0177, x4805; from Syracuse area: Sister Patricia: 315 428 4258


    15. VIOLENT OFFENDERS WINNING INCREASED PAROLE RELEASE.
    Free With Registration: Data Shows Increase In Violent Offenders Winning Parole Bids
    By Joel Stashenko, The New York Law Journal, http://www.nylj.com/
    August 16, 2007

    [The article is too long to print in these pages. Many readers will have seen it. If you haven’t, it's available on this blog, at the very bottom of this post, and also listed in Previous Posts in right column. The following are some of the major points.]

    ALBANY - On Tuesday morning, Gerald T. Balone walked out of Fishkill Correctional Facility in Beacon on parole. It is something that observers of New York state's parole system thought might never occur. It was the 54-year-old Mr. Balone's eighth attempt at parole.

    Eighteen months after the state was sued over its extremely low parole rates for violent offenders, and more than seven months of a new administration in Albany, there are indications that parole boards are easing back on what critics had contended was, in effect, an unwritten policy of denying parole to inmates based solely on the circumstances of their crime (NYLJ, Jan. 31, 2006). WHERE PAROLE BOARDS UNDER FORMER GOVERNOR GEORGE E. PATAKI WERE RELEASING VIOLENT A-1 FELONS AT A RATE OF BETWEEN 3 PERCENT AND 5 PERCENT FROM 2000 TO 2005, MORE THAN 11 PERCENT OF SUCH FELONS WERE GRANTED RELEASE IN 2006. FROM JANUARY TO JULY 2007, THAT PERCENTAGE INCREASED TO MORE THAN 15 PERCENT AND JUNE'S RELEASE RATE OF 26.7 PERCENT RIVALED RATES THAT HAVE NOT BEEN SEEN IN NEW YORK SINCE THE EARLY 1990S, WHEN BOARDS APPOINTED BY FORMER GOVERNOR MARIO CUOMO WERE MAKING RELEASE DECISIONS. [emphasis added]

    Attorney Melvin Beldock, said the "rote" denials of parole in the middle and later Pataki years were especially unfair to inmates sentenced prior to Mr. Pataki taking office. Those inmates who were given indeterminate sentences for murder, of 15 years to life or 25 years to life, had the expectation of at least qualifying for parole consideration when their minimum terms were reached, Mr. Beldock said in an interview. But the parole boards, in essence, resentenced them to ever-longer terms past their minimums, for two years at a time, with each denial of parole, he said.

    One break Mr. Spitzer has made with the past, at least to date, is in not publicly criticizing the parole board's decisions made during his administration.

    Uneven Treatment- Mr. Isseks amended his complaint earlier this year to reflect what he says is the current reality of parole in New York. With the wraps off on granting parole to violent offenders, to some extent, inmates are being subjected to unequal treatment, depending on the makeup of the boards that appear to hear their cases, Mr. Isseks contends. Uneven treatment violates the state statute governing parole boards as well as inmates' due process rights, Mr. Isseks said. Mr. Alexander said the uniform treatment of inmates by parole boards, no matter who is on them, is a goal the division must achieve. Decisions should be contingent on what the inmate brings to the table and what risks are posed if that person is released, he said. "We would like to think we are moving toward the direction of making very consistent decisions," Mr. Alexander said. - Joel Stashenko can be reached at jstashenko@alm.com

    16. WHAT’S HAPPENING AROUND NEW YORK STATE
    BUFFALO: Prisoners Are People Too! is a justice advocacy program that meets monthly on selected Mondays in Buffalo at the Pratt-Willert Community Center, 422 Pratt Street from 6:30-8:30pm. At its next meeting on Monday, September 24, 2007, PRP2!’s guest speaker will be Leslie James Pickering, who heads up the Buffalo Chapter of Arissa, a group that works to “create [a] social and political revolution in the U. S.,” by helping community residents as they strive for improved economic and social well-being. Mr. Pickering, who works as a volunteer in WNY prisons, has authored a new book, MAD BOMBER MELVILLE, the biography of Samuel Melville,-- “...a white working class revolutionary whose guerrilla bombings set in motion a flood of armed revolutionary actions in the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970.” (quotes from arissa.org)

    Preceding Mr. Pickering’s presentation, PRP2! will screen the History Channel’s documentary film, “Attica Riot: Chaos Behind Bars.” While imprisoned at Attica, Sam Melville became a key organizer in uniting prisoners across racial barriers. He was killed by guards in the Attica Rebellion of September 1971.

    The next meeting of Prisoners Are People Too! is scheduled for October 22.  Film and guest speaker(s) TBA.
    PRP2! programs are sponsored by The Circle of Supporters for Reformed Offenders and Friends of Baba Eng.

    KINGSTON NY: Passing the Torch - Through the Arts Inc. is a multi ethnic, community based Theater company, dedicated to education and social change and designed to serve At Risk Youth in an innovative and completely interactive Theater project. We are based in The Arts Society of Kingston, located at 97 Broadway Kingston NY 12401, and all of our productions begin their tour there.

    Passing the Torch - Through the Arts is different from other inner-city programs in that we fund ourselves through producing professional theater performances, and employing local artists and tradesman to bringing the finest in theater and life changing theatric experiences to its audiences. 

    The artistic director, Michael Monasterial, was headed down the wrong path when involvement in Theater and the Arts changed his life. It gave him a love for the written word, self worth, better communication skills and an ability to work with others in a professional manner. These skills made him employable and offered him a different life. He is dedicating his life’s work to giving the same options to the youth of his community.

    Upcoming productions:
    RECIDIVISM, a one-act play by Michael Monasterial, addresses the issue of gang violence and gets to the heart of the initial breakdown of the family and the motivating factors in the surrounding community’s decline. This play was first performed in the Westchester County Correctional Facility, in Valhalla, NY.  It was endorsed by both the warden and the director of the in-house rehabilitation center, (“The Solutions” program).
    WHEN CHICKENS COME HOME TO ROOST by Laurence Holden is about the last year in the life of Malcolm X. 

    These two plays will be presented October 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 25,26,27,28. The Arts Society of Kingston, located at 97 Broadway, Kingston, NY 12401 Ticket price is $20., which supports the program and finances prison presentations. For more information, please contact Michael Monasterial - 845-790-0400, or email Michael.


    17. WORDS FROM INSIDE
    CHANGE REQUIRES PERSISTENCE - In my letter which Building Bridges published in June, the disappointment, frustration and anger I have felt since the new governor took office came through in my words but my intention was not to promote an attitude of futility. My hope is to inspire more activism on the part of the prisoners themselves, most of whom seem satisfied to allow others to do their fighting for them.
    Complaining to one another accomplishes nothing. Every prisoner negatively impacted by current policies should be involved in this struggle. If you do nothing but write a letter or have a family member make a call, or donate a few dollars to organizations like PAN, then do that. To do nothing is no longer an option. Change requires persistence, so please stay committed. I will do the same. - Jehan Abdur-Raheem

    MOMENTUM IS BUILDING - CHANGE IS IN THE AIR. Several deserving brothers and sisters have been granted parole. Society, many disenfranchised and marginalized communities, children, mothers, fathers, wives, and countless others stand to benefit. This is the case when those who are community ready, and have spent years preparing themselves to give back to society, are eventually released.
    Despite the small rays of sunshine, we must not become overly confident, or assume that the work is finished. There is still a lot of ground to cover, and we must continue or things will quickly revert to the old ways. Momentum is definitely building and there is much talk about the Family Empowerment Project and Building Bridges. So now is the time to take the next logical step and begin to act.
    Authentic, accurate and relevant information is power, and this is one of the many things PAN, through Building Bridges, brings to the table. Most of you who know me, know that I will only support an organization that has credibility and is sincere and serious about their work. I am vouching for Prison Action Network, and imploring everyone to support this endeavor by making a donation to FED3 and by increasing your donation for Building Bridges to $15. History is in the making and it is time for us to be a part of it, rather than just be included in it by those who have for centuries misrepresented us. Seize the time. - Zayd Rashid

    [Despite appearances, the previous articles were totally unsolicited promotions for PAN. We appreciate the support.]

    18. FED3/WNY flyer:

    FAMILY EMPOWERMENT DAY
    COMES TO BUFFALO!
    (PRESENTED BY THE FAMILY EMPOWERMENT PROJECT OF THE PRISON ACTION NTWK.)

    “Family Empowerment Day” (FED) was born in 2005
    when Lifers at Otisville Prison had the idea for
    a one-day conference for prison family
    members and supporters to come together
    to further the work of improving conditions
    behind and beyond the wall.
    That conference and FED2 in 2006
    were very successful!


    This year, FED3 will take place in New York City, Albany and BUFFALO!
    Join us for FED3/WNY: “EDUCATING FOR EMPOWERMENT”

    SPEAKERS*WORKSHOPS*ACTION ORGANIZING*VENDORS*CHILDCARE

    KEYNOTE SPEAKER: MR. GEORGE ALEXANDER, NYS PAROLE BOARD CHAIR
    LUNCHEON SPEAKER: MRS. EVA M. DOYLE, HISTORIAN, COLUMNIST, EDUCATOR

    SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2007
    8:30AM - 3:30PM
    COLD SPRING CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST
    107 VERPLANCK ST., BUFFALO, NY 14208

    COSPONSORED BY PRISONERS ARE PEOPLE TOO!, THE CIRCLE OF SUPPORTERS FOR REFORMED OFFENDERS, FRIENDS OF BABA ENG, WNY REENTRY COALITION, COUNTY LEGISLATOR BETTY JEAN GRANT,
    THE CHALLENGER

    INFORMATION: 716-834-8438; karima@prisonersarepeopletoo.org

    (FOR INFORMATION ABOUT FED3/ALB AND FED3/NYC: 518-253-7533 or prisonaction@hotmail.com)
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