Building Bridges

The monthly newsletter of the Prison Action Network

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

APRIL 2008 EDITION

Please scroll down to get to the Building Bridges monthly newsletter.


Posted: April 22 By: Prisoners Are People Too!

Date: Monday, April 28, 2008
Time: 6:30-8:30pm
Place: Pratt-Willert Community Center, 422 Pratt
Street, Buffalo, NY

Film: "Inside Out"-- Incarcerated men and women plead with youth to make good choices. (Suitable for youth ages 11+.)

Guest Speaker: Mr. Antwan K. Diggs, Sr., Program Coordinator of Buffalo's "Weed and Seed" program, tells his story of interrupted education, incarceration, and redemption.





Posted: April 21, 2008

New York City’s Marijuana Arrest Policy Thirty Years after Decriminalization
Wednesday, April 30, 2008 6:30 pm
Association of the Bar of the City of New York
42 West 44th Street
New York, NY, 10036

Members of the Association, their guests and all other interested persons are invited to attend. There is no fee for attending the program. Registration is necessary: https://www.nycbar.org/cgi-bin/calevent_all.pl

Moderator:
JOHN H. MCWHORTER
Senior Fellow, The Manhattan Institute Columnist, New York Sun

Speakers:
JOHN A. ETERNO, Ph.D.
Chairperson and Graduate Program Director, Department of Criminal Justice, Molloy College Managing Editor, Police Practice and Research NYPD Captain (ret.)

BRUCE D. JOHNSON, Ph.D.
Director, Institute for Special Populations Research, National Development and Research Institutes, Inc

HARRY G. LEVINE, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology, Queens College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York

EDWARD D. MCCARTHY, J.D.
Criminal Defense Division, Legal Aid Society of New York

DEBORAH P. SMALL, J.D.
Executive Director, Break the Chains

Sponsored by:
Committee on Drugs and the Law, Noah Potter, Chair

Co-Sponsored by:
Corrections Committee, Judith M. Whiting, Chair

In 1977, New York State decriminalized possession of personal use amounts of marijuana. Nonetheless, researchers report that New York City is now the national leader in detaining individuals for possession of personal use amounts of marijuana.

Beginning with the advent of quality of life policing, the New York City Police Department dramatically increased the number of arrests for marijuana possession: from 1997 to 2006 the Department arrested 362,000 people for possessing marijuana; in 2006 alone it arrested 33,000 people for possessing marijuana. The Department also commonly holds marijuana possession arrestees in detention for up to 24 hours pending arraignment. Published research indicates that the marijuana possession arrests are not in central business districts, and that the police primarily make the arrests in Black and Hispanic neighborhoods.





Posted: April 21, 2008
FAMM SEEKS COMMUTATION CASES FROM NEW YORK

Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan sentencing reform organization that advocates for the repeal of mandatory minimums at the state and federal level.

FAMM’s Commutation Project pairs the cases of nonviolent drug offenders serving excessive sentences with pro bono lawyers who help the offender file and raise support for a petition for a commutation of sentence. When possible, FAMM also provides suggestions and support-raising help to those who have already filed commutation requests.

The Commutation Project is launching a campaign in New York. We are looking for cases that fit some or most of the following criteria:

o Non-violent drug offender;
o No gun involved;
o Played a minor role in the offense;
o First-time offender or very few (1-2) nonviolent prior convictions;
o Excessive sentence: Rockefeller drug law mandatory minimums, sentence over five years for a first-time offender, long drug sentence with no parole eligibility;
o Prisoner accepts responsibility for the offense (no claims of innocence);
o Sentence of at least 10 years;
o Prisoner has served at least half of their sentence;
o Prisoner is not eligible for parole for at least one more year;
o Prisoner has shown extraordinary rehabilitation and good conduct in prison;
o All legal remedies have been exhausted, no pending cases or motions.

FAMM uses a two-page Case Summary Form to review cases and determine whether they are potential clemency cases we can assist. Information contained in the Case Summaries is maintained exclusively by FAMM and kept strictly confidential. As we are a small organization with limited resources, we can work on only a very small number of clemency cases each year. We do not provide prisoners with legal advice or representation, and we cannot guarantee that anyone who seeks clemency will receive it.

If you have a case that meets FAMM’s criteria, you can find a Case Summary Form at http://www.famm.org/Repository/Files/case%20summary.pdf, fill it out, and fax or mail it to:

FAMM, Attn: Molly M. Gill
1612 K Street NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 822-6700 (phone) (202) 822-6704 (fax) mgill@famm.org





Posted: April 18, 2008
GRAZIANO VS PATAKI UPDATE

At the April 4 hearing the case was adjourned until May 2, which should also be a scheduling conference.




Posted April 15, 2008 - by Prison Policy Initiative

You're invited to a wine and cheese reception for the Prison Policy Initiative
Saturday, May 10, 2008 4:30 - 6:30 pm

145 Nassau St. New York, New York
Space is limited, so please RSVP to: staff@prisonpolicy.org, 413/517-1333

Wine and cheese plus a short presentation by Peter Wagner, Founder and Director of the Prison Policy Initiative, who will demonstrate how the U.S. Census policies dilute minority voting power and distort the democratic process.
Remarks by special guest State Senator Eric Schneiderman

This reception is a benefit to support the work of the Prison Policy Initiative, which receives no government funding. Donations at all levels will be gratefully accepted, but please be as generous as possible. We have a donor who will match gifts to the event up to $10,000, and we want to be certain to get the full benefit of the matching gift.



Posted: April 9, 2008 - by Cheryl Kates, Esq.
PAROLE HEARING UPDATE

We have just learned that Parole will see parole applicants 4 months prior to their earliest release date in order to make time to prepare them for re-entry if they are released. They have adjusted most peoples' dates in the computer and they will be seen 2 months earlier than they were already scheduled.



BUILDING BRIDGES, APRIL 2008 EDITION

Dear Reader,

Despite everything else that may be happening in our struggle for justice, there are some very positive signs. Several Prison Action Network members joined the Drop the Rock Campaign to repeal the Rockefeller Drug Laws at their Lobby Day on March 27. Over 200 people took to the halls of our State Capitol to explain to our representatives why these laws need to be repealed. Most of the lobbyists were in recovery and/or formerly incarcerated, so knew first hand about these laws, the long sentences, and the alternatives to incarceration which finally helped them. Several full buses came up from New York City, and the energy was high. At the conclusion of the day we heard many moving testimonies to the power of the day and the passion for change behind it. Caitlin Dunklee from the Correctional Association’s Public Policy Project did a fabulous job of coordinating the day’s activities. Glenn Martin from the Fortune Society, in his role as MC, revealed a touching sensitivity and a comedic sense which put us all at ease. Bob Gangi threw bagels to the crowd (you had to be there....). We were well led in what was for some the first time at a lobby day. Hopefully we will return frequently to speak truth to power. We the people have the power to make this a better world!

Please share your copy of Building Bridges.


In this Issue

Sagewriters 1st annual book competition for writers in prison
Politics: Barach Obama speech; Eliot Spitzer's fall from power & inauguration of David Paterson
Parole: Case law, Statistics, Releases
Prison Action Network invites participation in projects
"Prison Nation", N Y Times Editorial about explosive growth of prisons, as reported by Pew Center
Prison Radio Programs for your April listening
ReEntry: Theology and Reentry event scheduled for June at Auburn Seminary
Subscription rates for Building Bridges clarified, sort of
Transportation to Prisons
What's Happening Around New York State
Leading Presidential Candidates’ Platforms on Criminal Justice Policy compiled by The Sentencing Project


IN SYMPATHY:
We offer our sincere condolences to Bryce Sonny Rudert upon the passing of his father on Monday March 24 after a long illness. We are grateful Sonny was home to be with his father during his last days.

CORRECTION:
Last month we misspelled Cardell Shaird's name, for which we apologize. We also made a typo in Nancy Wright's address, which might have caused a problem if you sent any photographs. She lives at 17 (not 14) Dixon Court, Queensbury, NY 12804

SAGEWRITERS 1ST ANNUAL BOOK COMPETITION FOR WRITERS IN PRISON
CATEGORIES: Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoirs, biography, autobiography, essays, political, inspirational, urban fiction, historical fiction
GRAND PRIZE: Publication and distribution by Infinity Publishing with marketing and promotion by Sagewriters, which has published eight books so far, of literary and social merit by people in prison. A $500+ value
2ND PRIZE: an extensive critique of your work by Sagewriters staff and a complete set of Sagewriters' books, a $300 value
3RD PRIZE: A critique of your work and three Sagewriters' books, a $200 value
FIVE HONORABLE MENTIONS
Multiple entries are accepted. For more details: Sagewriter's Annual Book Competition, Box 215, Swarthmore, PA 19081, email



DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE BARACH OBAMA, IN RESPONDING TO CRITICISMS OF HIS RELATIONSHIP TO THE MINISTER OF HIS CHURCH, MADE AN ELOQUENT SPEECH IN WHICH HE ADDRESSED THE ISSUES OF RACE AND POVERTY IN AMERICA.

TO LISTEN OR READ THE ENTIRE SPEECH, CLICK HERE.
The last 2 paragraphs:

This is where we are right now. It's a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naive as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy - particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

But I have asserted a firm conviction - a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people - that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice if we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.



WE ALL KNOW ABOUT ELIOT SPITZER'S FALL FROM POWER AND THE INAUGURATION OF DAVID PATERSON AS GOVERNOR. NOW WE HOLD OUR BREATHS AS WE WAIT TO SEE HOW THE CAUSES OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PRISON REFORM WILL BE AFFECTED.

Building Bridges urges patience. Let's give Gov. Paterson some time to prove himself. He's definitely got a different style than his predecessor and it will take time to see how it plays out. We only hope David Paterson does right by us. It’s too soon to know how his confessions of extramarital affairs and drug use are going to fly, but he apparently realized it would come out someday and it might as well be from his own mouth. Then he called for the resignations of all state commissioners, which is a formality, but we’d still like to know if any of the crimal justice people are likely to be affected.



PAROLE: ALBANY TIMES UNION EDITORIAL AND NY POST ARTICLE USE MEASURED TONES TO DISCUSS CRIMINAL JUSTICE ISSUES; MICHIGAN - EX POST FACTO CLAUSE OF THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION CASE; REPORTS FROM ARTHUR KILL, CAPE VINCENT, CAYUGA, FISHKILL, MARCY,WOODBOURNE, AND WYOMING; ANTONIO CALDERON AND JOHN VALVERDE GRANTED PAROLE IN MARCH.

ALBANY TIMES UNION EDITORIAL
Truth In Numbers

First published: Monday, March 31, 2008

This is the last paragraph: [click here for the complete article]

Mr. Bruno has his reasons for making parole an issue, of course. Most state prisons are situated in upstate communities, where they add jobs to the local economy and where the inmates are counted as residents of Senate districts largely held by Republicans. If the census declines, Republicans could lose seats in the Legislature. That is one reason why Senate Republicans had opposed Mr. Spitzer's proposal to close several upstate prisons, and why they continue to protect their turf as they negotiate a final budget with Mr. Spitzer's successor, David Paterson. But the Republicans are wrong -- wrong on the numbers and wrong on the reasons for keeping prisons full.

THE ISSUE: No felons who were recently paroled have returned to crime.
THE STAKES: Republicans should stop stirring false fears.


PAROLE

The 1992 and 1999 amendments to the parole law and policies violate the Ex Post Facto Clause of the United States Constitution.

Kenneth Foster Bey, et al v John S. Rubitshun, et al
#05-71318, October 23, 2007
BATTANI

Granted plaintiff's motion for summary judgment; denied defendant's motion for summary judgment.

The class of plaintiffs is defined as all parolable lifers (with the exception of “drug lifers”) in the custody of the Michigan Department of Corrections who committed crimes for which they received a parolable life sentence before October 1, 1992, and whose parole the new parole board has denied, passed over, expressed no interest in pursuing, or otherwise rejected or deferred.

For entire article (which is pretty hard to understand for this layperson) click here and scroll down til you get to the posting.

The remedy is to be determined.


PAROLE STATISTICS:

ARTHUR KILL
March-April - 28% release rate
77 saw the board; 22 were granted parole
35 were initial interviews; 9 received dates, 22 were denied parole, 4 were postponed
39 were reappearances; 12 received dates, 25 were denied parole, 2 were postponed
3 merit time interviews; 1 received parole, 2 were postponed

CAPE VINCENT
March - 77% release rate
13 went, 10 made it

CAYUGA
March - 24 % release rate
50 went, 12 made it, 8 were first time boards

FISHKILL
March - Ferguson (only name remembered) anecdotal report from one person’s housing unit
Maybe 1 A1VO released, and 2 other long termers (both on 1st board)

MARCY
January - 19% release rate
31 seen; 6 granted parole, 19 denied, 6 postponed
15 were initial interviews; 4 were paroled, 10 denied, 1 postponed
15 were reappearances; 2 were paroled, 8 were denied, 5 postponed
1 merit seen, 1 denied

February - 16% release rate
24 seen; 4 granted parole, 18 denied, 2 postponed
13 were initials; 4 granted parole, 8 denied, 1 postponed
9 were reappearances; 0 were released, 8 denied, 1 postponed
2 were merit time; 2 were denied

March - 13% release rate
23 seen; 3 granted, 20 denied
10 were initials; 2 were paroled, 8 were denied
9 were reappearances; 1 was paroled, 8 were denied
4 merit time, f4 denied

WOODBOURNE
February - 16% release rate
23 appearances (6 were A1VO, 1 man., 1 lifer)
4 granted (1 A1VO, 3 Drugs)
4 postponed (1 A1VO)
15 denied

March - 33% release rate
20 appearances; 7 were granted parole (2 non-violent, 5 A1VO)
For one it was his 7th appearance, one was 6th, one was 11th, two on 2nd. (not sure of this - writing was hard to read - ed.)

WYOMING
February - Jennifer Arena, Chris Ortloff, William Casey - 30% release rate
23 hearings; 14 initials, 3 Reappearances, 6 merit time reviews
7 granted,
8 initials were denied, 6 got parole
3 (all) reappearances denied
1 merit times were granted, 5 denied.

March - William Smith, Gerald Greenan, Henry Lemons - 18% release rate
33 hearings; 23 initials, 6 reappearances, 4 merit time reviews
6 granted
20 initials were denied, 3 got parole
5 reappearances were denied, 1 got parole
2 merit time got parole, 2 denied


PAROLE RELEASES:
Antonio Calderone and John Valverde, two people well known to Building Bridges readers, were granted parole at their March hearings, after serving long years in prison with past denials based solely on their crimes.

We appreciate those who report the statistics and release information published here.



PRISON ACTION NETWORK’s CURRENT PROJECTS AND HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED. PLEASE SEND YOUR MESSAGE OF INTEREST TO PrisonActionNetwork@gmail.com INDICATING WHICH PROJECT YOU WISH TO JOIN, AND WHY.

Parole Support - write and gather letters of support for people known to be deserving, generate high profile support to put pressure on parole board to do the right thing.

Transitional Housing - join in investigating the possibility of opening a Transitional Residence specifically for Lifers and
Longtermers; funding, mortgage, and real estate experience needed.

Lifers and Long-termers Clearinghouse - help research answers to Lifer’s or Long Termer’s questions, offer your organization’s support and/or sponsorship of Lifers and Long Termer’s groups; visit with such groups to provide realistic reentry preparation.

Phoenix Rising - help raise funds to pay for day trips to places outside the city limits for inner city youth; supervise youth work groups during neighborhood beautification projects.

Reentry Support Group - Spread the word about and/or attend this 12-step group for formerly incarcerated people, which meets monthly from 6-8pm at St. Ann's Church, 295 St. Anns Ave, in Bx . Facilitated by Willie Thomas. (See Support Groups, below)..

Journalism Project - Help develop a list of reporters and experts to generate media attention for our agenda of criminal justice and prison reform; monitor media for all related stories; write letters to editor and politicians as part of rapid response team..

FED4 - join in planning this year’s Family Empowerment Day project.



“PRISON NATION”, NY TIMES EDITORIAL REPORTS ON EXPLOSIVE GROWTH OF NATION’S PRISON POPULATION WHICH HAS REACHED 1 IN 100 AMERICAN ADULTS BEHIND BARS, SURPASSING ALL OTHER COUNTRIES.

New York Times, March 10, 2008, Editorial

Prison Nation

After three decades of explosive growth, the nation’s prison population has reached some grim milestones: More than 1 in 100 American adults are behind bars. One in nine black men, ages 20 to 34, are serving time, as are 1 in 36 adult Hispanic men.

Nationwide, the prison population hovers at almost 1.6 million, which surpasses all other countries for which there are reliable figures. The 50 states last year spent about $44 billion in tax dollars on corrections, up from nearly $11 billion in 1987. Vermont, Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan and Oregon devote as much money or more to corrections as they do to higher education.

These statistics, contained in a new report from the Pew Center on the States, point to a terrible waste of money and lives. They underscore the urgent challenge facing the federal government and cash-strapped states to reduce their overreliance on incarceration without sacrificing public safety. The key, as some states are learning, is getting smarter about distinguishing between violent criminals and dangerous repeat offenders, who need a prison cell, and low-risk offenders, who can be handled with effective community supervision, electronic monitoring and mandatory drug treatment programs, combined in some cases with shorter sentences.

Persuading public officials to adopt a more rational, cost-effective approach to prison policy is a daunting prospect, however, not least because building and running jailhouses has become a major industry.
Criminal behavior partly explains the size of the prison population, but incarceration rates have continued to rise while crime rates have fallen. Any effort to reduce the prison population must consider the blunderbuss impact of get-tough sentencing laws adopted across the United States beginning in the 1970’s. Many Americans have come to believe, wrongly, that keeping an outsized chunk of the population locked up is essential for sustaining a historic crime drop since the 1990’s.

In fact, the relationship between imprisonment and crime control is murky. Some portion of the decline is attributable to tough sentencing and release policies. But crime is also affected by things like economic trends and employment and drug-abuse rates. States that lagged behind the national average in rising incarceration rates during the 1990’s actually experienced a steeper decline in crime rates than states above the national average, according to the Sentencing Project, a nonprofit group.

A rising number of states are broadening their criminal sanctions with new options for low-risk offenders that are a lot cheaper than incarceration but still protect the public and hold offenders accountable. In New York, the crime rate has continued to drop despite efforts to reduce the number of nonviolent drug offenders in prison.

The Pew report spotlights policy changes in Texas and Kansas that have started to reduce their outsized prison populations and address recidivism by investing in ways to improve the success rates for community supervision, expanding treatment and diversion programs, and increasing use of sanctions other than prison for minor parole and probation violations. Recently, the Supreme Court and the United States Sentencing Commission announced sensible changes in the application of harsh mandatory minimum drug sentences.

These are signs that the country may finally be waking up to the fiscal and moral costs of bulging prisons.



PRISON RADIO SCHEDULES THAT HAVE BEEN SENT TO US. IF YOU WANT YOUR PROGRAM LISTED, PLEASE SEND A SCHEDULE OF YOUR MONTH’S TOPICS OR GUESTS. FANCY BROCCOLI. - APRIL GUESTS: LINDA HOFFMAN, MIKA’IL AND WANDA DEVEAUX, MAKING CONTACT - A CRISIS OF CARE: GINA'S STORY; HER LIFE AND HER DEATH AS A PRISONER OF THE CALIFORNIA CORRECTIONAL SYSTEM

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'. Coming up on April 6 their guest is Linda Hoffman reading poetry written by the guys inside. April 20 is Mika'il and Wanda Deveaux of Citizens against Recidivism and The Muslim Re-entry Initiative. Visit archives at www.fancybroccoli.org to find lots of other good interviews. Write Fancy Broccoli Show, WVKR, Box 726, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY 12604-0726

MAKING CONTACT - a weekly international radio program can be heard at www.radioproject.org
A Crisis of Care: Gina's Story (Part 1),March 26, 2008; The story of Gina Muniz, her life and her death as a prisoner of the California Correctional System is, ultimately, the story of a family. Not a perfect family, but one based on faith and commitment to each other. A family not so different from ones many of us know. But Gina's story is also a recounting of how a state-sanctioned life sentence became a state-sponsored death sentence. A story far too common in California prisons. At the heart of the matter is this: Gina Muniz should not have died. And for this reason, it's important for each of us to know and understand her story.

This is the first of a three-part series, "A Crisis of Care," a look inside the prison health care system in the state of California.

ON THE COUNT, WBAI, 99.5 FM NYC OR WBAI, 99.5 FM, NYC. No program listing is available. Write Eddie Ellis, WBAI, 120 Wall Street, 10th Floor, NY NY 10005



REENTRY EVENT AT AUBURN THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY IN MANHATTAN IN JUNE WILL EXPLORE WAYS TO BRING HEALING AND WHOLENESS TO FORMERLY INCARCERATAED WOMEN AND MEN

SAVE THE DATE! June 12-13, 10am - 6 pm
Becoming the Promised Land: Faith, Community, and the Prison Reentry Population
Co-sponsored by New York Theological Seminary and Union Theological Seminary
Free and open to the public, registration required. Call 212 662 4315, or visit www.auburnsem.org for more information.

This weekend we’ll explore the biblical and theological foundations and contexts for work with and among the prison reentry population. How churches and other communities and organizations can and do work with formerly incarcerated women and men to bring about God's healing and wholeness.



SUBSCRIPTION RATES FOR BUILDING BRIDGES CAUSE CONFUSION TO ALL . . .UNDERSTANDABLY, BECAUSE WE OURSELVES ARE AMBIVALENT. THE DILEMMA IS THIS: WE ARE NOT A MONEY MAKING BUSINESS; WE DO NOT SELL SUBSCRIPTIONS. THEY ARE A BENEFIT OF MEMBERSHIP IN PAN, YET IT COSTS MONEY TO PUBLISH

There is some confusion about the subscription fee for Building Bridges. We do not, trust me, make any money on it. All labor and office equipment are donated and a year’s subscription costs us $12 to print and mail. We understand that not everyone can afford to make a membership donation large enough to cover that. People with computer access can always read it on the internet and most communities these days have libraries with free internet access. Our readers in prison have no choice but the mail. We want to send it to everyone who is interested in reading it and who will make good use of the information. That is our only goal, actually. If someone can send a donation of $12 or more, there’s no problem, but if not, what can we do? One thing occurs to us: if a person has a family member or a friend with email to whom we can send a copy, they could print and forward it. If that doesn’t work, send whatever you can and when possible we will make up the difference (from funds donated by other members).. (PS If any readers would like to subsidize subscriptions please make a donation to PAN earmarked for Building Bridges.)



SUPPORT MEETINGS: ONLY NEW MEETINGS AND TIMES ARE MENTIONED. SEE PAST ISSUES FOR OTHERS, OR CALL PAN 518 253 7533.

Manhattan:
Reentry Support Group - 12-step group for formerly incarcerated people, meets monthly from 6-8 at St. Ann's Church, 295 St. Anns Ave, in Bx . Facilitator: Willie Thomas. Next meeting is on 4/24. Metro cards provided.



TRANSPORTATION TO PRISONS: THE JUSTICE COMMITTEE IS LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEERS TO DRIVE PEOPLE TO VISIT THEIR LOVED ONES IN PRISON. CALL PRISON ACTION NETWORK 518/273-7533 TO DISCUSS POSSIBILITIES. OTHER OPTIONS FOLLOW.

From the Capital District:
NEST Prison Shuttle schedule: Mt. McGregor, Washington, and Great Meadow CFs on Sat, Apr 5 ($30 adults, $20 children), Coxsackie, Greene, and Hudson on Sat, Apr 12 ($15 adults, $10 children) from Oakwood Ave Presbyt. Church parking lot, Troy at 7 AM, then to Albany Greyhound bus station at 7:15. Trip to Utica (Midstate, Marcy, Mohawk, Oneida) on Sat, Apr 19 leaving Troy at 5 AM. Sullivan trip (Ulster, Eastern, Woodbourne, Sullivan) on Sat, Apr 26 leaving at 6:30 AM ($40 adults, $25 children). Reservations: Linda O'Malley 518- 273-5199.

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.

CarPooling: Please call 518 253 7533 if you would be willing to take a passenger or if you want a ride.

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



WHAT’S HAPPENING AROUND NEW YORK STATE: BROOKLYN: FAMILIES RALLY FOR EMANCIPATION & EMPOWERMENT (F.R.E.E.) IS OFFERING A SERIES OF TRAININGS; BUFFALO’S PRP2! SHOWS “INSIDE OUT”; NYC’S JERICHO MOVEMENT HOSTS 4TH ANNUAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL PRISONERS, NYC: ARMS REACH, DRUG POLICY ALLIANCE AND SEVEN NEIGHBORHOOD ACTION PARTNERSHIP PRESENT BEYOND THE ROCKEFELLER DRUG LAWS—PUBLIC HEALTH OR CRIMINAL INJUSTICE?

BROOKLYN: Families Rally for Emancipation & Empowerment (F.R.E.E.) is offering a series of trainings in April and May at 81 Willoughby Street, Brooklyn, Suite 701

The kickoff took place on March 29 with a welcome home to our brothers and sisters who are returning to the community and an invitation to form a network of united, strong families who will not be defeated by the system. The trainings will be the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of each month starting on April 1, 2008. For more information: 718-852-0012, pfcf@verizon.net or founderpfcf@yahoo.com

EVENT: Re-entry & Relationships featuring Safiya Bandele
DATE: April 1, 2008 6pm to 8pm

EVENT: Understanding Sentencing & Beyond; A legal workshop for families
DATE: April 8, 2008 6pm to 8pm

EVENT: Women of Substance: Women & The Rockefeller Drug Laws
DATE: April 15, 2008 6pm to 8pm

EVENT: The Rockefeller Drug Laws: Know the facts
DATE: May 6, 2008 6pm to 8pm


BUFFALO: PRISONERS ARE PEOPLE TOO! meets monthly in Buffalo at the Pratt-Willert Community Center, 422 Pratt Street from 6:30-8:30pm.

The documentary film for this month’s meeting, on Monday, April 28, is “Inside Out,” by Dr. Shelley Stewart and John Zimmerman of “O2 Ideas” which is based in Birmingham, Alabama. Produced in 2007 and filmed behind the bars of two maximum security prisons, this film has been described as “gripping,” “powerful,” “sobering,” and “real” as prisoners share their stories of pain and regret. All of them dropped out of school, the youngest at age 11 and all are currently incarcerated. How did this happen? Why did this happen? Why does the United States spend $40 billion every year on prisoner incarceration and so much less on education and rehabilitation?

Our guest speaker will be Mr. Antwan K. Diggs, Sr. who is the program coordinator for Buffalo’s highly successful “Weed and Seed” initiative. Mr. Diggs understands, from the “inside out,” the connection between dropping out and going to prison.

The next meeting of Prisoners Are People Too! is scheduled for May 19. Film and guest speaker(s) TBA.
PRP2! programs are sponsored by The Circle of Supporters for Reformed Offenders and Friends of Baba Eng. For further information, contact Karima Amin at 716-834-8438 or karima@prisonersarepeopletoo.org

NEW YORK CITY:
The Jericho Movement invites you to an EVENING OF CULTURE AND POLITICAL UPDATES on our Fourth Annual Day of Solidarity with International Political Prisoners in and out of U.S. Borders and Honoring Comrades who have Transitioned. Saturday, April 19, 2008 @ The Brecht Forum “Manhattan's Left Bank” at 451 West Street (that's the West Side Highway) between Bank & Bethune Streets from 6 to 10 p.m.

Featuring:
Chrystos, Native American poet! Fred Ho, Jazz Musician; Lamis Deek, Al-Awda co-chair; Report from the Basque Country; Gabriela Network and other comrades to be announced

Refreshments and Cash Bar!
Sliding scale: $6/$10/$15 Nobody turned away!
• 212-242-4201 • brechtforum@brechtforum.org
Sponsored by: NYC Jericho, NY Leonard Peltier Support Group, Gabriela Network, Al-Awda, ProLibertad, Big Red Media, Plaid Dragon Collective, Malcolm X Commemoration Ctte. nycjericho@riseup.net • 718-853-0893


BEYOND THE ROCKEFELLER DRUG LAWS - PUBLIC HEALTH OR CRIMINAL JUSTICE?
A Community Forum about Drug Treatment, Incarceration, and the Future of Drug Policy in New York

Assemblyman Keith Wright, In Arms Reach, Drug Policy Alliance and Seven Neighborhood Action Partnership Present...
7 – 9 pm, Thursday April 10, 2008, The City College of New York
Room 1/201, 1st floor, NAC Building, Enter at 138th St.

Panelists:
Assemblymember Keith Wright (D-Harlem)
Terrence Stevens, formerly incarcerated under the RDL’s; and Executive Director, In Arms Reach
Cheri O’Donoghue, mother of incarcerated son, co-founder of FREE
Gabriel Sayegh, Director of the State Organizing and Policy Project, Drug Policy Alliance
Panelist TBA, Seven Neighborhood Action Partnership
Deacon Ken Radcliffe, Moderator

This is a free program Space is Limited. Light refreshments will be served
To RSPV for this event, or if you have any questions, please contact Jill at jbattagline@drugpolicy.org or 212-613-8053



A SUMMARY OF THE PRIMARY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES’ POSITIONS ON THESE CRIMINAL JUSTICE ISSUES HAS BEEN PREPARED BY THE SENTENCING PROJECT: MANDATORY MINIMUM SENTENCES, “THREE STRIKES AND YOU’RE OUT” LAW, APPROACH TO “WAR ON DRUGS”, CRACK/POWDER COCAINE DISPARITY, DEATH PENALTY, DISPROPORTIONATE MINORITY REPRESENTATION IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM, EX-OFFENDER RE-ENTRY INTO COMMUNITIES, FELONY DISENFRANCHISEMENT, PAROLE.

READ 10-PAGE REPORT HERE.

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