Building Bridges

The monthly newsletter of the Prison Action Network

Translate this page:

Sunday, June 29, 2008

JULY 2008 EDITION

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

Posted July 8: Family Empowerment Project of Prison Action Network announces:

SAVE THE DATE!
It's official:   
Family Empowerment Day 4 - NYC

"FED4:Taking Action to Bring Our Loved Ones Home!"

Saturday October 25 2008
9 - 4

Columbia Law School,  Jerome Greene Building 
435 West 116th St. (corner of Amsterdam), Manhattan

MAKE SURE YOUR FAMILY IS THERE!




Posted July 8:

The Jailhouse Lawyer Manual is now available online. A link appears on this site, in the right hand column.




THE JULY 2008 EDITION OF BUILDING BRIDGES

Dear Reader,

Prison Action Network believes the law is our most powerful tool. We work hard to keep you updated about legislation that is proposed, from its introduction until its passage (or not). We hope you use that information to try to persuade your state senator and assemblyperson to do what is right. I’ve heard that if a legislator gets eight pieces of mail about an issue, he or she believes it’s one that matters to his/her constituents. Most of us are letter writers. That’s how we keep in touch with our loved ones on the other side of the wall. So I challenge you. Next time you learn about something related to incarceration that distresses you, write one more letter a week. A letter to your representative; a letter supporting the changes you want to see. There will be a workshop at Family Empowerment Day 4 - NYC on writing these kinds of letters. There are articles below about legislation that affects us.

On another note, it’s time to start sending your donations for FED4. Last year it cost us $4777. All the donations came from people in prison and their loved ones. We don’t get any other funding for this event and we don’t charge for it. You came through last year, and we have faith you will again. Please contact us at prisonactionnetwork@gmail.com to find out how to donate.

Thank you for all the suggestions you sent last month. We will consider them all on July 5 when we make our final decisions about the venue and the agenda. Our strength depends on our commitment to work together and work hard!

Please share your copy of Building Bridges. We all need to be on the same page! [If you want more information about anything you read here, please contact us at prisonactionnetwork@gmail.com and we'll send you whatever we have.]

In this Issue

1. Joe Bruno leaving the Senate
2. Commission on Sentencing Reform
3. From the Inside
4. Higher education in NYS prisons
5. Intake centers opening in two new locations
6. Ion scanner research
7. Legislative review
8. Lifers and Longtermers - housing
9. Marijuana penalties
10. Medical Parole ineligibility
11. Oath mistake results in reversal
12. Parole
13. Paterson repeals past Executive Orders
14. Prison Radio
15. Sentencing Commission report postponed
16. Transportation to prisons
17. Website news
18. What's happening around NYS



1. JOE BRUNO RETIRING

On June 24, Gov. Paterson announced that Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno had decided not to seek reelection. On June 25, Senate Republicans, in a vote of 22 to 20, chose Dean G. Skelos, known as a "tough on crime" legislator, to replace Mr. Bruno as majority leader. Having been chosen by such a slim majority, and with an election coming up in November in which the Democrats are strongly fighting to take control of the state legislature, it remains to be seen how long he will retain his new position. It will depend on the will of NYS voters.



2. COMMISSION ON SENTENCING REFORM IS SCHEDULED TO RELEASE THEIR FINAL REPORT AT THE END OF THIS YEAR, IN A POSTPONEMENT FROM THE ORIGINAL DATE OF MARCH 1 2008.

An unsigned letter to Al Chessman from the Division of Criminal Justice Services, dated May 29, states that in order to provide the Commission on Sentencing Reform adequate time to thoroughly research and prepare a report of comparable depth and quality to its Preliminary Report, the deadline has been extended from the original date of Mar.1 '08. Instead they intend to issue the report in Dec. 2008. It will address sentencing issues discussed in the the Preliminary report, taking into account the testimony provided earlier this year at hearings conducted in Albany, Buffalo and NYC. This report will be made available to the public and for review in each correctional facility's law library.



3. FROM THE INSIDE: SUGGESTIONS FOR THE GOVERNOR AND LEGISLATORS WHO CARE ABOUT WHAT’S GOING ON IN NYS PRISONS

We're sick of complaining. We want you to come where we are and experience what it's like. Here are some ideas of what you could do:

1. If you're the governor or a legislator, who has the authority to make unannounced visits, come see us. Spot check the correctional facilities and mental health facilities in NYS. Don't give notice you're coming. Check the bathrooms on the tiers; check the kitchens. Come at mealtime and share the food.
2. Go through processing to enter the visiting rooms and watch how people are treated. Ask them if anything unusual happened on this occasion, since you were there. In the visiting room, notice how other visitors are allowed to interact; ask family/friends of the incarcerated about their experiences. Ask them and the staff for suggestions on how to improve the visitation experience.
3. Visit more than once, notice how the rules differ from day to day and prison to prison. Go through the metal detectors. Wear the same clothes and shoes each time, with the same jewelry. Ask about the rules regarding packages, look for consistency.
4. Send identical reading material to several inmates at different facilities,and see what happens. Call prisons or mental facilities and ask about the rules regarding what inmates can receive.
[Of course, you'd have to do some of this incognito. You won't be treated like our families if they know your true identity. Guaranteed.]

Then explain to us the justification for all of it. - Anonymous



4. ON MAY 12 NYS DOCS SPONSORED A FORUM ON DEVELOPING PARTNERSHIPS FOR POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION IN NY PRISONS. A SURPRISINGLY LONG LIST OF CURRENTLY AVAILABLE PROGRAMS WAS REPORTED.

Interested stakeholders began a conversation about forming partnerships among facilities, institutions of higher education, community groups and charitable foundations to sponsor college programs as integral components of DOCS' reentry initiatives. About 80 participants - colleges, facilities, community organizations and formerly incarcerated individuals attended.

It was reported that these college programs are already available at NYS prisons:
ALBION: Marist College, federally funded thru the Workplace and Community Transition Training for Incarcerated Youth Offenders Grant
ARTHUR KILL: Rising Hope, Inc. - 1 yr cert. in ministry and human services. Credits can be transferred to Boricua College, privately funded
AUBURN: Cornell Univ.- college credits and transcripts. privately funded
BAYVIEW: Bard College - Associate's and Bachelor's degrees, privately funded
BEDFORD HILLS: Marymount Manhattan College, a consortium of 13 schools. Associate's and Bachelor's Degrees, privately funded
EASTERN : Bard College - AA & BA degrees, privately funded
FISHKILL: Rising Hope, Inc. - 1 yr cert. in ministry and human services, privately funded
GREEN HAVEN: Rising Hope, Inc. - 1 yr cert. in ministry and human services, privately funded
GREENE: Marist College, federally funded thru the Workplace and Community Transition Training for Incarcerated Youth Offenders Grant
MID ORANGE: Rising Hope, Inc. - 1 yr cert. in ministry and human services, privately funded
SING SING: Hudson Link - Mercy College and Nyack College - AA & BA degrees, privately funded New York Theological Seminary - Masters of Professional Studies Program, privately funded
TACONIC: Nyack College - Liberal Arts credits, funded thru College Mission
WASHINGTON: Marist College, federally funded thru the Workplace and Community Transition Training for Incarcerated Youth Offenders Grant
WYOMING: the Consortium of the Niagara Frontier - Niagara Univ., Canisius College & Daemen College - Associate's and Bachelor's Degrees, funded thru Legislative Member Items
WOODBOURNE: Bard College - AA & BA degrees, Rising Hope - 1 yr cert. in ministry and human services, privately. funded



5. TWO NEW DOCS INTAKE CENTERS OPENING - WILL SAVE MONEY FOR TAXPAYERS IN WESTERN AND CENTRAL NEW YORK BECAUSE IT WILL LOWER THE COST FOR COUNTIES TO TRANSPORT PEOPLE TO STATE PRISON

DOCS plans to open one intake center at Albion Correctional Facility, a women’s prison in Orleans County, and another at Auburn Correctional Facility, a men’s prison in Cayuga County, on July 1.

When county jail inmates are sentenced to serve a prison term in a New York State correctional facility, the county Sheriff is required to transport them to one of a few designated prisons for processing by state correctional officials. Last year, county Sheriffs and the New York City Department of Corrections transported to such designated State prisons 27,702 offenders who either were convicted of a new crime or violated the conditions of their parole.

Sheriffs across the State currently transport female county jail inmates to Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Westchester County, the only DOCS “reception/classification” center for women. Albion is much closer to counties in Western and Central New York. The New York State Sheriffs Association anticipates considerable savings to those counties through reduced transportation and manpower costs, while DOCS anticipates only nominal additional costs.

DOCS Commissioner Brian Fischer decided to open Albion and Auburn as intake centers after a recent Sheriffs’ Association-sponsored training conference at which a number of Sheriffs told him they must make lengthy trips to deliver inmates into State custody.

DOCS is providing some new beds at Albion and Auburn for intake purposes, but the Department already runs regular buses between correctional facilities to transfer inmates and will simply place intake inmates on buses already headed to reception/classification center correctional facilities the next day.

For example, Sheriff’s Offices will drop female inmates at Albion the day before a weekly DOCS bus runs between Albion and Bedford Hills. DOCS also runs regular buses between Auburn and Elmira, which is one of three main male reception/classification centers along with Downstate Correctional Facility in Dutchess County and Ulster Correctional Facility in Ulster County.

Reception/classification centers provide an array of medical and mental health screening and assessment services to help DOCS officials determine the most appropriate State correctional facility to place each inmate. The reception/classification centers also provide each new inmate with an orientation program on prison rules and regulations.  6-22-08



6. RESEARCH PROJECT ON ION SCANNING OF PRISON VISITORS WOULD LIKE TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCES.

Alison Coleman reports that Prison Families of NY will be doing research and related work on the ION scanner, which has been an instrument of fear and worry for many NYS DOCS visitors.  Please contact intern Melissa Borgos (mborgos1113@earthlink.net) if you know of anyone who would like to talk about their experience or if your agency would like to pass on any research or collaborate with us or if you have had contact with NYS DOCS on this matter and would like to share what you have learned.



7. THE LEGISLATION BELOW WAS INTRODUCED THIS SESSION BUT MOST PASSED IN ONLY ONE HOUSE. THOSE BILLS HAVE TO BE RESUBMITTED TO THE ORIGINATING HOUSE IN JAN 2009 WHEN A NEW 2-YEAR TERM BEGINS

DEATH PENALTY LEGISLATION S - 4632 same as A8157
6/18 Senate passes, Delivered to Assembly, Referred to Codes

The State Senate passed legislation, sponsored by Senator Dale Volker (R-C-I, Depew) and Anthony S. Seminerio (D-Queens) that would amend the state’s death penalty law to bring back the death penalty and change a provision that was ruled invalid by the state Court of Appeals. In 2004, the Court of Appeals overturned death penalty sentences, saying that judges were improperly required to instruct jurors in capital cases that if they deadlocked and failed to reach a verdict during the penalty phase of a trial, the judge would impose a sentence that would leave the defendant eligible for parole after 20 to 25 years. 
Bill S4632/A8157 would restore the death penalty as an option and in addition to life in prison without parole, juries would be given a third option of imposing a sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole, when sentencing convicted murderers. If a jury is deadlocked, a sentence of life without parole would be imposed, and juries would be told of that provision before sentencing.
All pending death penalty cases, as well as crimes committed prior to the effective date of any change in the law, would be affected by the changes included in this bill.


REQUIRES 24-MONTH NOTICE OF PLANNED PRISON CLOSURE - S7467 same as A10361
6/18 Senate passes, Delivered to Assembly, Referred to Correction

This legislation, sponsored by Senator Betty Little (R-C-I, Queensbury), and Assemblymember Tim Gordon (I-Bethlehem) increases the amount of notice the Commissioner of DOCS must provide - to local governments, labor organizations and certain managerial employees - from 12 months currently required to at least 24 months prior to a correctional facility closing, and to report on an adaptive reuse plan for the facility at the time of such notice (currently 6 months are required).


ALLOWS COLLECTION OF DNA UPON ARREST - S6726A same as A10361
6/10 Senate passes, Delivered to Assembly, Referred to Codes

Sponsored by Senator John A. DeFrancisco (R-I-C-WF, Syracuse) it would allow for the collection of DNA samples upon an individual's arrest, whereas formerly it could only be obtained at conviction. This bill would ensure that law enforcement officials can collect DNA samples from “designated offenders” upon their arrest and expand the definition of "designated offender" to include anyone who is arrested of an offense where fingerprints are required to be taken, adjudicated as a youthful offender or compelled to register as a sex offender. This legislation sets procedures for collecting DNA samples and penalties for those who fail to provide a DNA sample. It would also require the sample to be forwarded to a forensic DNA laboratory for testing and analysis and require such a sample to be included in the State DNA identification index.
This comprehensive bill would also establish the Commission for Exoneration Review, which would review recent cases where convicted defendants were subsequently exonerated by DNA evidence.


ALLOWS CRIME VICTIMS TO KNOW WHEN PERPETRATORS ARE UP FOR PAROLE - S268-A Same as A1821
5/28 Senate passes, Delivered to Assembly, Referred to Governmental Operations

This bill would allow crime victims, upon request, to be notified of a parole hearing involving the perpetrator of the crime. The bill, sponsored by Senator Jim Alesi (R-C, Perinton), would provide victims, and in some cases family members, notice of the hearing to be sent by first class mail at least 60 days prior to the hearing.


TO KEEP REPEAT VIOLENT FELONS BEHIND BARS - S435A Same as A 4479-A
4/3 Senate passes bill, Delivered to Assembly, Referred to Codes

Sponsored by Senator (and the new Senate Majority Leader) Dean Skelos (R, Rockville Centre), it would require judges to sentence persistent violent felons to life in prison without the possibility of parole. This legislation will require that a defendant who has been separately convicted and sentenced to three or more violent felonies, and who is determined by a court to be a persistent violent felony offender, be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.


POST RELEASE SUPERVISION - A11764 - Same as S 8714 [Too long to print; here’s the Existing law summary and the Sponsor’s Memo; send SASE for the text of bill]
06/24 Senate passes, Delivered to Assembly, Assembly passes, Returned to Senate
06/25  Delivered to Governor, who has 10 days (not counting Sundays) to sign. If he fails to sign by then it automatically passes into law.

Existing Law: Criminal Procedure Law §380.20 provides that the court must pronounce sentence in every case where a conviction is entered. Penal Law §70/45(1) provides that each determinate sentence "also includes, as a part thereof, an additional period of post-release supervision."

Sponsor’s Statement in Support [Sponsored by Nozzolio and Aubrey]:
In 1998, the New York State Legislature enacted Jenna's Law, which was named for Jenna Grieshaber, a twenty-two-year-old nursing student who was murdered by a violent felon released from prison after serving only two-thirds of his sentence. Jenna's Law amended the Penal Law to end "indeterminate sentences" - i.e., sentences running between certain minimum and maximum periods set by the court at the time of sentencing - for criminal defendants convicted of violent felonies. Instead, Jenna's Law required "determinate" sentences, and also created a schedule of mandatory terms of PRS to be included as a part of the determinate sentences of violent felony offenders. In many cases, judges informed defendants, at the time of sentencing, that they would be subject to a period of PRS following completion of their determinate sentence; in other cases, they did not, and DOCS simply included the PRS pursuant to the terms of the Penal Law. Over time, offenders challenged DOCS's calculation of PRS as part of their determinate sentence, and courts throughout the State were split on this legal issue -with some finding that PRS automatically was a part of the sentence by operation of law, and others finding PRS had to be expressly imposed by the sentencing court. On April 29, 2008, the New York State Court of Appeals issued two decisions (Matter of Gamer v. DOCS and People v. Sparber) that finally resolved some of the legal issues associated with the imposition of PRS. Most notably, the Court ruled that only the sentencing judge has the authority to impose the PRS component of an offender's determinate sentence, and that the period of PRS must be stated by the judge at the time of sentencing in the offender's presence. The Court in Garner also ruled, however, that its holding was "without prejudice to any ability that either the People or DOCS may have to seek the appropriate resentencing of a defendant in the proper forum." Since then, DOCS and Parole have undertaken major initiatives to bring the relevant cases to the attention of the sentencing courts, so that those courts can make decisions about re-sentencings. The initiatives have already had some success in arriving at resolution of individual cases, but it has become clear that it would be hard to reach resolutions of all the relevant cases through such initiatives alone. This bill provides a statutory framework that facilitates and mandates a comprehensive review. This will allow DOCS and Parole to obtain definitive judicial guidance as to which defendants are to remain subject to PRS and which are not. Such guidance is crucially important. There would be unacceptable consequences for public safety if these agencies ended custody or supervision when there is legal basis for it, and unacceptable consequences for individual liberty it they continued custody or supervision when there is not such legal basis. The problem is immensely magnified by factors, such as the absence of sentencing minutes, that may make it impossible in many cases for the agencies to know whether PRS was properly imposed at the time of sentence. Such matters are appropriate for judicial resolution.

The bill also addresses an issue arising from the Court of Appeals decision in People v. Catu. When a defendant who pleads guilty has not been informed that the sentence would include a term of PRS, the defendant may later seek for the plea to be vacated. This bill allows the District Attorney to consent to re-sentencing to the previously imposed determinate term without any term of PRS. By allowing defendants in this situation the benefit of their plea bargains, there should be no need for the pleas to be vacated.

While the bill provides effective relief as to unlawful sentences imposed in the past, it also makes related improvements going forward. Current statutory language seems to reflect an intent that PRS arise automatically as a part of every determinate sentence. The bill replaces that approach with a requirement that sentencing courts explicitly state terms of PRS when imposing determinate sentences. This is a more open and transparent way of ensuring that defendants are sufficiently informed about their sentences. Other benefits include an enhanced ability for DOCS to facilitate correction of other kinds of unlawful sentences.


GIVES OMH AUTHORITY TO REVIEW VIOLENT INCIDENTS INVOLVING PERSONS WITH SERIOUS MENTAL ILLNESS
6/20 Agreement reached between Governor David A. Paterson and state legislative leaders.

Provides the Commissioner of the Office of Mental Health (OMH) with the authority to convene multi-agency mental health incident review panels to conduct timely, detailed and retrospective investigations of incidents involving individuals with serious mental illnesses who are harmed, who cause harm to others, who suffer serious and preventable complications, or become involved in violent incidents. These incident review panels, which will include representatives from state agencies, local governments, mental health providers, emergency services and law enforcement involved in a particular incident, will lead to both improved mental health care through reduced care errors and enhanced protection for the public. This bill is sponsored by Senator Thomas Morahan and Assemblyman Peter Rivera.


STATUS OF BILLS GETS POSTED ON THE LEGISLATIVE WEBSITE
You can follow the status of all bills at: http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/menuf.cg. We will post any that get signed into law, so keep checking.



8. LIFERS AND LONGTERMERS CLEARINGHOUSE: TRANSITIONAL HOUSING IN THE NYC AREA AND UPSTATE NY. FATHER PETER YOUNG HAS PROGRAMS IN NYC, ONONDAGA COUNTY, SCHENECTADY AND ALBANY. DONNA DECICCO'S PROGRAM, RESTORED HOPE SERVICES, IS ON LONG ISLAND AND THE METROPOLITAN NYC AREA. FORMER OTISVILLE LIFER, JOHN (MOJO) FLYNN IS NOW WORKING WITH RESTORED HOPE SERVICES.

Peter Young's Housing, Industry, and Treatment (PYHIT)
These programs provide short-term residential, structured settings and services to parolees who require intensive substance abuse treatment. They also serve those who are at risk of supervision failure due to the onset of homelessness. The average stay is less than 90 days.

PYHIT's parole program provides a total of 75 beds: 10 in New York City, 20 in Onondaga County, 30 in Schenectady, and 15 in Albany County. Residents receive counseling, life skills training, pre-employment services, education referrals, medical treatment, and random drug testing to ensure abstinence. PYHIT has achieved a less-than-10% recidivism rate in its other reintegration programs, and is striving to achieve that success in its new Parole Stabilization Residences.
Albany County clients are typically housed at our 45 South Ferry Street Community Residence in Albany under a contract with Albany County DSS. Clients from other counties are housed at the Schuyler Inn Transitional Living Center in Menands.
In Syracuse, transitional living is provided to clients at LeMoyne Manor who are attending outpatient treatment elsewhere and vocational training on-site through the Altamont Program. Funding is provided by Onondaga County.
Peter Young's program is happy to accept referrals, provided that you have permission from your local parole office. If you are interested in our NYC programs, you must obtain the approval of an institutional parole officer, who would submit the request to the appropriate local parole office. Applicants without prior approval cannot be accepted.
The Transitional Living Center provides a continuum of treatment services for individuals who have shown a desire to recover from a life of addiction. Applicants must agree to abide by their prescribed treatment plan. Only inmates who have successfully completed the ASAT or CASAT Programs within the Department of Corrections (DOCS) are eligible to apply for admission to the Transitional Living Center.

Inmates with a criminal history that includes arson, sex offenses, manslaughter 1st degree or other acts of violence are not eligible.

In Albany, the parole site at 45 South Ferry Street also has several beds for transitional housing, funded by Albany County. At the Schuyler Inn, emergency housing is available through Traveler's Aid from both Albany and Rensselaer counties.

For more information about the parole residence nearest you:
45 Ferry Street, Albany, NY 12202, Fred Scott, (518) 432-0759
418 Fabius Street, Liverpool, NY 13088, Gwen Stokes, (315) 478-9454
629 Old Liverpool Rd, Liverpool, NY 13088, David Luibrand, (315) 451-3859
428 Duane Avenue, Schenectady, NY 12304, Clarence Carter, (518) 377-2448


Restored Hope Services Inc. 
Intake: Donna DeCicco and John (Mojo) Flynn                   
162 Hudson Avenue, Roosevelt N.Y. 11575
(516) 417-3901

Restored Hope Services Inc. offers housing for men and women with substance abuse histories. We provide safe, structured living environments which give our clients treatment with dignity.

The facilities are fully staffed twenty four hours a day, seven days a week and have security and camera systems through out the buildings. Some locations provide three balanced meals a day, laundry facilities and a common area for dining purposes and leisure time. The buildings in Brooklyn and the Bronx and private houses on Long Island are all located in areas which provide easy access to public transportation.
Each client is evaluated and then placed in a licensed by OASAS out-patient treatment facility which will address their individual needs. All of our staff members are qualified health professionals.  Supplemental services are available to guide them through school or to employment.
We accept clients whether they are on social services, disability or self pay and we will help them to obtain whatever source of payment they may qualify for. Our services are available to any person regardless of their current situation: HIV, HEP-C, PAROLE, PROBATION and METHADONE MAINTENANCE. We are not able to accept individuals with a sexual abuse crime or an arson history.
For more information, or to refer yourself or someone else please contact Donna DeCicco or John (Mojo) Flynn at (516) 417-3901 or 162 Hudson Ave., Roosevelt N.Y. 11575. Please indicate that you read about our services through Prison Action Network. The following information will be required when you are making a referral: medical history, including any psychiatric medications you are on; and/or criminal history and projected release date. You will need to provide a current PPD or Chest X-ray.

As people working in this field of substance abuse and criminal justice we have come to realize that housing our clients in affordable yet safe structured environments has been an on-going problem for an extremely long time. Our goal is to give you, our client, a place to obtain just that. You can feel comfortable knowing that we will provide a chance to begin a new life on the road to recovery. We look forward to hearing from you in the future. For further assistance please feel free to contact us at any time.      - Donna and John                           



9. SMALL AMOUNTS OF MARIJUANA IN PRISON DO NOT REPRESENT DANGEROUS CONTRABAND AND THEREFORE CANNOT BE PROSECUTED AS FELONIES.

The NYS Court of Appeals ruled that small amounts of marijuana in prison do not represent dangerous contraband. Two incarcerated people, in separate incidents at different facilities, had been convicted of felonies in cases involving less than 10 grams of the drug. One had been given 2-4 years and the other 3-5 years. The state's top court ordered the two convictions be reduced to misdemeanors with shorter sentences. The ruling claimed that the test for "dangerous contraband" is whether its use is apt to cause death, injury, escape or other major threats to the safety or security of the facility.



10. CERTAIN PEOPLE ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR MEDICAL PAROLE, NO MATTER HOW DEBILITATED THEY ARE. WHY ARE WE NOT OUTRAGED BY THIS INHUMANE RESTRICTION?

Medical Parole Supervision, Executive Law, Section 259-R states that an inmate serving an indeterminate or determinate sentence may be eligible for medical parole if:
- the inmate has a terminal health condition; and
- the inmate is so debilitated or incapacitated as to be severely restricted in his or her ability to self-ambulate and to care for him or herself; and
- the inmate is not serving a sentence for murder in the first or second degree, manslaughter in the first degree, any sex offense as defined in article 130 of the Penal Law, or any attempt to commit any of these offenses. [emphasis added]

Vengeance is the only possible explanation for this restriction. It isn’t economically or morally defensible. It’s been estimated that NYS could save 5 million dollars if medically qualified people were let out on medical parole supervision. We’re talking about people on the threshold of death!



11. IMPROPER OATH REVERSES MURDER CONVICTION
Posted on Sunday, 22 of June , 2008 at 11:01 am, By June Maxam. To read the entire article, which tells how judges are disqualified if they were not sworn in properly, please visit: http://www.northcountrygazette.org/2008/06/22/improper_oath/

—So you think taking an oath is just a technicality?
The conviction of a person serving a life prison term without the possibility of parole was reversed last week by a state appellate court because potential jurors weren’t given the proper oath in Rensselaer County Court.
In sending the case back for a new trial, the state Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department reinforced that “Oaths are not formalities, are sacred, and no citizen need expose himself [or herself] to loss of liberty and property by people who are not sworn”.



12. PAROLE - IMPORTANT UPDATE ON THE GRAZIANO CASE; NOMINATION OF 2 NEW MEMBERS TO PAROLE BOARD; PAROLE STATISTICS

GRAZIANO VS PATAKI
June 13: The Court adjourned the conference. NO definite date has been set for the next conference. In the meantime, the lawyers are finishing up discovery and the case will be decided either on motion or trial.

TWO PEOPLE NOMINATED TO PAROLE BOARD
Joseph B. Crangle. Since 2000, Mr. Crangle has been an Assistant Court Analyst with the New York State Office of Court Administration. In this role, Mr. Crangle is assigned to the Domestic Violence Part of the Buffalo City Court where he monitors defendants compliance with court orders. From 1998 to 2000, Mr. Crangle was a Probation Officer with the Genesee County Probation Department, where he oversaw the Pretrial Release Under Supervision program. Mr. Crangle received his BA from Canisius College and his JD from the City University of New York.

Mary Ross. She has been a Staff Attorney with the Legal Aid Society in Queens, New York since 1998. From 1990 to 1995, Ms. Ross was the Executive Director of Providence House, directing this nonprofit corporation that provides transitional and permanent housing for female ex-offenders, homeless women and their children. Ms. Ross was previously the Program Director of Providence House from 1984 to 1990. Ms. Ross was also the Campus Minister at Queens College from 1982 to 1984 and was the Director of Administrative Services at the Diocese of Brooklyn from 1978 to 1982. She received her BA in Education from St. Josephs College, her MS in Education from Brooklyn College and her JD from the City University of New York.

Salaries for Members of the Parole Board are set at $101,600. These appointments by Governor Paterson require Senate confirmation. Building Bridges has been unable to discover whether the confirmations took place, although several reliable sources have said so. The Senate is expected to return in July to take some last minute actions.

PAROLE STATISTICS: (unofficial; calculated by a reader using the Parole website - see article 17):

Year to date (Jan.- May 2008) Summary of Parole Releases of A1 Violent Offenders:
567 interviews of which 492 were reappearances and 75 were intitial appearances
of the reappearances, 65 were released, 427 were denied
of the 75 initial interviews, 4 were released, 71 were denied

Year-to-date rates of releases for A1VOs are:
13% on the Reappearances
5% on the Initials
12% on Total Interviews

May 2008 Parole Releases of A1 Violent Offenders:
165 interviews of which 145 were reappearances and 20 were initial appearances
of the 145 reappearances, 13 were released, 108 were denied, 24 were postponed
of the 20 initial interviews, 1 was released, 15 were denied, 4 were postponed

The 13 reappearances, by prison, who were released are:
Cape Vincent - Murder 2 with 15-life on his 2nd board
Fishkill - M2 with 20-life on his 5th board
Five Points for M2 with 15-life on his 3rd board
Gouverneur - M2 with 15-life on his 5th board
Great Meadow - M2 with 25-life on his 6th board
Groveland - M2 with 26-life on his 2nd board
Mt McGregor for M2 with 20-life on his 4th board
Otisville - M2 with 20-life on his 3rd board
Otisville - M2 with 15-life on his 7th board
Sullivan.- M2 with 15-life on his 9th board
Washington - M2 with 20-life on his 3rd board
Washington - M2 with 15-life on his 2nd board
Woodbourne - M2 with 15-life on his 7th board

May-June 2008 Parole Releases based on Prisoners’ Reports:

ARTHUR KILL - Lemons, Gallivan, Loomis
May-June - 27% release rate for all categories of crime
98 saw the board; 27 were granted parole (1 was deported)
39 were initial interviews; 10 received dates, 22 were denied parole, 7 were postponed
47 were reappearances; 12 received dates, 26 were denied parole, 9 were postponed
11 merit time interviews; 4 received parole, 7 were postponed

FRANKLIN -
May
107 saw the board; 46 were granted parole (1 was deported)
40 were initial interviews; 12 received date, 28 were denied parole
25 were reappearances; 1 received date, 18 were denied parole, 6 were postponed
8 merit time interviews; 6 received parole, 2 were denied
14 CR Consideration; 8 granted, 6 denied
18 parole violators; 18 granted
1 presumptive; 1 denied
1 deported

MID-ORANGE
May
37 saw the board; 3 granted (no A-1), 32 denied, 2 postponed

WOODBOURNE - Casey, Lemons, Artloff
May 33 appearances (13 were A1VO); 5 granted (1 A1VO- on 7th board),
June: 33 appearances: 2 granted (1 non-violent and 1 A1VO - on 3rd board); 3 A1VO were adjourned; 7 A1VO denied (3 on 1st board, 3 on 2nd, and 1 on 5th)

WYOMING
May - Grant, Gallivan, Hagler
56 hearings; 12 granted parole
22 initials; 1 granted, 21 denied
17 Reappearances; 3 granted, 14 denied
17 merit time reviews; 8 granted, 9 denied



13. GOV PATERSON, IN EXECUTIVE ORDER #9, REPEALS, CANCELS AND REVOKES ALL EXECUTIVE ORDERS ISSUED BY PREVIOUS GOVERNORS.:

“...all Executive Orders issued by previous Governors are hereby repealed, canceled and revoked in their entirety, with the exception of the Executive Orders set forth below and any amendments thereto, which shall remain in full force and effect until otherwise revoked, superseded or modified; and IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a review of prior Executive Orders shall continue to determine whether additional orders should be revoked, superseded or modified.” A list of those retained follows. It includes Spitzer’s Executive Order No. 9, (Ordering the Commissioner of the Department of Correctional Services to Bar Certain Offenders from Participating in Temporary Release Programs) and Executive Order No. 10, (Establishing the New York State Commission on Sentencing Reform)..



14. PRISON RADIO SCHEDULES. BE THE CHANGE, FANCY BROCCOLI: JULY GUESTS

"Be The Change" Airs every Wednesday from 5-6pm, with different themes and call-in guests.

“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 July 13, Pauly, a man who spent 25 years in prison. Save the date of August 10 for George Alexander, who will be there to answer questions.

Visit archives www.fancybroccoli.org to find lots of other good interviews. Write Fancy Broccoli Show, WVKR, Box 726, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY 12604-0726




15. COMMISSION ON SENTENCING REFORM IS SCHEDULED TO RELEASE THEIR FINAL REPORT AT THE END OF THIS YEAR, ACCORDING TO A DIVISION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE LETTER TO AL CHESSMAN

An unsigned letter to Al Chessman from the Division of Criminal Justice Services, dated May 29, states that in order to provide the Commission on Sentencing Reform adequate time to thoroughly research and prepare a report of comparable depth and quality to its Preliminary Report, the deadline has been extended from the original date of Mar.1 '08. Instead they intend to issue their report in Dec. 2008. It will address sentencing issues discussed in the the Preliminary Report, taking into account the testimony provided earlier this year at hearings conducted in Albany, Buffalo and NYC. The report will be made available to the public and for review in each correctional facility's law library.



16. TRANSPORTATION TO PRISONS:
From the Capital District:
NEST Prison Shuttle schedule: Mt. McGregor, Washington, and Great Meadow CFs on Sat, Jul 5 ($35 adults, $25 children), Coxsackie, Greene, and Hudson on Sat, Jul 12 ($20  adults, $15 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, Jul 19 leaving Troy at 5 AM. Sullivan trip (Ulster, Eastern, Woodbourne, Sullivan) on Sat, Jul 26 leaving at 6:30 AM ($45 adults, $30 children). Reservations: Linda O'Malley 518- 273-5199.

Please call PAN at 518 253 7533 to discuss other options.



17. ADDITION TO THE DOCS WEBSITE OF VALUABLE INFO & LINKS ON RULES AND REGS.

www.docs.state.ny.us
DOCS has added information to its website: On the left, under News, there is now a link to "rules and regulations". Some rules listed for 2008 are: Bedford Hills Correctional Facility (Section 100.80 of 7 NYCRR); Unauthorized Organizational Activities, Gang Activities & Media Review; Maximum Value of Stamps in an Inmate's Personal Possession (Sections 270.2(B)(14)(vi) and 720.8(a)(2) of 7 NYCRR); Central Monitoring Case Designation Status (Part 1000 of 7 NYCRR); Urinalysis Testing (Part 1020 of 7 NYCRR); Access to Records (Section 6.2(c) of 7 NYCRR).. More and also a list of 2007’s are there as well..

The site adds that the complete listing of New York Codes, Rules, and Regulations (NYCRR) is available online through the NYS Department of State website. People in prison don't have access to the internet, but it is likely that this information is available at the facilities, and if not, advocates, friends and families who have access can print out specific information and send it to them.

The reader who contributed this added, "At the bottom of two changes that I looked at was a message that a more complete CPLR was available to a Westlaw link. I went there and though it's not complete it has rules and regs I have never been able to find before and I went to Westlaw many times while working on an article 78 for my partner.  For the first time ever I was able to read the rules and regs for disciplinary hearings (superintendent hearings) and also for CMC status.  Those were not available to the public before.  And really interestingly it had at the bottom of each subsection NYS case law related to that subsection.  Amazing!  I copied so much stuff for my lawyer for our new brief.." 



18. 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. Each meeting features a documentary film, related to some criminal justice or prison issue, and one or more guest speakers who address that issue.

At its next meeting on Monday, July 28, 2008, Prisoners Are People Too! will screen the documentary, ”Today’s Prisoners, Tomorrow’s Neighbors” (2005), produced by the Madison-area Urban Ministry of Madison, Wisconsin. M.U.M. is a non-profit, interfaith, social justice organization which describes itself as “neighbors working together, standing with the poor and hurting.” Its social justice initiatives are many, including prisoner reentry work and mentoring children who have one or more incarcerated parent.

Our guest speakers will include representatives from three organizations that assist “the poor and hurting,” including formerly incarcerated people: WNY Independent Living Project, Inc., New Life Residential Center, Inc. and Catholic Charities of Buffalo.

The next meeting of Prisoners Are People Too! is scheduled for August 25. 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 karima@prisonersarepeopletoo.org
or 716-834-8438.

Prison Action Network thanks the Community Church of NY, Unitarian Universalist, for helping with our expenses