Building Bridges

The monthly newsletter of the Prison Action Network

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

AUGUST 2008 EDITION

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


Posted August 28:

Tune in to Black Entertainment Television (BET) this Friday, August 29, 2008 at 11:30pm to watch the Fortune Society's Vice President of Development and Public Affairs, Glenn E. Martin, featured in an important and timely documentary "Locked Out: Ex-Cons and the Vote." In the midst of one of most historic presidential campaigns, the program takes an in-depth look at the voter disfranchisement of men and women with criminal records across the country. The Fortune Society's David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy (DRCPP) and the Brennan Center for Justice were approached by BET to help shed light on the myriad laws and practices that bar people with criminal records from the polls and lead to de facto disfranchisement of thousands of eligible men and women in our country. The program is being aired as part of BET's companion coverage for the Democratic National Convention.

About "Locked Out: Ex-Cons and the Vote"
In what is undoubtedly another historic election year, as the nation continues its ongoing discussion about the power of the Black vote, BET News correspondent Samson Styles investigates how these laws continue to affect African American votes at the polls. As one of the 5.3 million people in America who has lost the right to vote due to a criminal conviction, Styles sets out on a journey to regain his own voting rights, explore the state-to-state differences of disfranchisement laws, and investigate the national effects of such legislature.



Posted August 25:

If you are at all concerned about the fact that our schools spend more on "security" than on education, and that our school children are treated much the same as people in jail, then you will probably find the video below to be of interest.

Support The Youth, Ensure their Futures, Urge New York City Council Members to sign on and support the School Safety Act. Let's break the School To Prison Pipeline, Let's bring about more Transparency and Accountability within the actions being taken by the School Security Guards and the NYPD, Let's ensure those with Learning Disabilities are not Targeted, Let's Create a more Healthy place for our Youth to Learn in.




For more information on the School to Prison Pipeline: The Student Safety Act, please click on link on the right of this page.



Posted August 6:

Jennifer Arena is gone from the Parole Board, much to the relief of everyone who knew that she lacked the minimum qualifications specified for the job. She has been replaced by Joseph Crangle, who since 2000 has been an Assistant Court Analyst with the New York State Office of Court Administration 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. There is now one vacant seat on the Board.





Dear Reader,

It’s been decided. Family Empowerment Day 4 - NYC will be held on Saturday October 25, 2008 from 9-4 at the Columbia Law School. The theme is “Taking Action to Bring Our Loved Ones Home”. George Alexander, Chairman of Parole, will be the keynote speaker. He will report on “The State of Parole Today”. This is an opportunity for the families of incarcerated people in NYS to meet the head of parole, hear his point of view, and ask questions. (Be sure to listen to his interview on the Fancy Broccoli radio show [#10] on August 17, when he’ll also be taking questions. Any questions left unanswered can be asked in person on Oct 25!) Before we leave FED4-NYC we will have crafted a plan, with help from a team of advisors representing parole, legislative action, and media, for a strategy to obtain fair and just parole decisions.  It’s imperative that everyone with a loved one in prison, especially who have indeterminate sentences, represents them at this year’s event. It will be the kickoff event for a major campaign, which cannot be accomplished by only a few people.

We believe that the people who are most invested in the outcome are the logical people to pay for the gathering. So that’s you, and we need your donations. There is no admission charge because incarceration puts a heavy financial burden on families, but IF you can send anything, please do. Is there anyone reading this who can’t spare a dollar or two? Please send it to us. Small donations add up. But larger donations are also necessary. Please be generous. Our victory will require some sacrifice. Checks should be made out to Prison Action Network and sent to our new address, see below. Thank you to those who have already donated.



PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF ADDRESS FOR PRISON ACTION NETWORK:
Our new address is Prison Action Network, PO Box 6355, Albany NY 12206


In this Issue:

#1 Judge Brieant has died
#2 Crime rates decline in NYS and NYC
#3. DNA test finally possible for Everton Wagstaffe
#4 F.R.E.E. is looking for organizations to speak to school children
#5. Looking for Ms. Keough
#6 Legislative Updates
#7 Lifers and Longtermers Clearinghouse
#8 New York Theological Seminary graduation
#9 Parole updates
#10 Prison Radio
#11 Recommended reading
#12 Telephone Justice Campaign reports on contract
#13 Transportation to prisons
#14 What’s happening in NYS
#15 FED4-NYC information.

Send an email for a copy of the FED4-NYC FLYER to duplicate and distribute far and wide


1. JUDGE CHARLES BRIEANT, IN WHOSE COURT GRAZIANO VS. PATAKI WAS BEING HEARD, DIED ON JULY 20 2008 AT THE AGE OF 85.

Judge Brieant was a great man and a great judge.  We are very saddened by his death. According to news reports he had been ill for some time and had not been in court for the last couple of months, which probably explains all the changes in the schedule of hearings during the last year. The cause of his death was not disclosed.
New readers may not know that Judge Brieant was hearing the Graziano vs Pataki lawsuit charging Pataki, and subsequent administrations who did not change the alleged policies, with imposing an unwritten and unlegislated policy of denying parole to A1 Violent Felons based solely upon the nature of their crime.
The case will be assigned to a new judge.  In the meantime, the legal team is proceeding with the final stages of discovery.



2. CRIME STATISTICS SHOW NY STATE’S CRIME RATE DECLINED STEADILY FROM 1998 TO 2007. THE LARGEST DECLINE WAS IN THE RATE OF VIOLENT CRIMES. NYC HAD A MUCH LARGER DECLINE THAN COUNTIES OUTSIDE OF THE CITY.

Over the past 10 years, the crime rate in New York State has declined steadily. The largest reductions in crime rate were reported for motor vehicle theft, burglary, and robbery. Overall, the rate of index crimes per 100,000 resident population has declined 33% since 1998; the rate of violent crimes (murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) fell 35% and property crimes (burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft) were down 33%.

While New York State’s crime rate has decreased greatly over the past 10 years, New York has also reported a significant reduction in the actual number of crimes reported. Since 1998, the number of major crimes reported has fallen every year to the lowest levels recorded since statewide reporting began nearly 40 years ago. In 2007, there were 190,052 fewer crimes reported than in 1998, while the population of the State has increased by over one million since 1998.

Not all areas of the State have benefited equally from the historic reduction in crime. The decline in Index crime in New York City was much larger than that experienced in counties outside of New York City.

Given the greater decline in crime in New York City, the proportion of statewide crime that each region accounted for has shifted dramatically. The counties outside New York City now account for 56% of the reported crime statewide, as compared to 37% in 1990.

While a higher proportion of the State’s violent crimes occurred in New York City, that region reported a 41% drop in violent crimes since 1998, while the Non-New York City counties reported a decline of 3%. While all violent crime categories declined in New York City between 1998 and 2007, the Non-New York City region reported increases in both murders and rapes over the last 10 years.

Recent Statewide Crime Trends: 2006 vs. 2007
The most recent 2007 crime data show that crime volume in New York State declined for the 17th consecutive year. In 2007, New York State reported an overall drop of 4% in the seven major Index crimes as compared to 2006. Violent crimes dropped by 5% and the largest decline was reported in murders Property crimes were down 4% driven by a 13% drop in motor vehicle thefts.

The Non-New York City region reported larger declines in index, violent and property crimes between 2006 and 2007 than the New York City region. This marks the first time since 1993 that the annual crime decline outside of New York City exceeded the decrease reported within New York City.



3. DNA TEST FINALLY POSSIBLE FOR EVERTON WAGSTAFFE WHO HAS REFUSED TO SEE THE PAROLE BOARD BECAUSE HE CLAIMS HE IS INNOCENT AND THEREFORE CAN’T EXPRESS REMORSE FOR A CRIME HE DIDN’T COMMIT.

Everton Wagstaffe says he is completely innocent of the crime for which he was convicted and sentenced to 12 - 25, of which he has served 16.5. He refuses to see the parole board because he won't express remorse for the crime he says he didn't commit. When the case was tried DNA testing was new and so not used on evidence that fortunately still exits. He fought to find a way to have tests done, and finally in June the Legal Aid Society agreed to pay for them. He credits his success to the kindness of strangers, who listened to him and were moved to help.



4. FAMILIES RALLY FOR EMANCIPATION & EMPOWERMENT (F.R.E.E.) OFFERS OPPORTUNITY FOR ORGANIZATIONS TO GET INVOLVED IN CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM AT OUR WORLD NEIGHBORHOOD CHARTER SCHOOL IN ASTORIA.

The school's current character education program is called the "Pillars of a Positive Community". Each month a pillar is emphasized through various activities, writings and lessons in the classroom. This year we wanted to take it a step further by inviting groups who reflect one of the pillars into our schools to speak with our students and provide opportunities for our students to further understand the pillars through hands-on learning.

The pillars are: Sept: Respect; Oct: Courage; Nov: Kindness; Dec: True Friendship; Jan: Truth; Feb: Responsibility; March: Self Discipline; April: Fairness; May: Citizenship; June: Perseverance

Does your organization reflect one of these pillars and which one? Would you be willing to come to our school and speak to students about your work? Is it possible that our students would be able to get involved with your organization throughout the year to further understand the meaning of each pillar?

Our World Neighborhood Charter School (www.owncs.org) is located in Astoria/Long Island City, 31-20 37th St. Astoria, NY, first exit off Triboro, near the V train.

Please reply to: cbarnes@owncs.org, or Denise B., Families Rally for Emancipation & Empowerment (F.R.E.E); 81 Willoughby St. #701; Brooklyn, NY 11201; (718)852-0012)



5. MS. KEOUGH, WHO FORMERLY TAUGHT BASIC ADULT ED AT EASTERN C.F.

Building Bridges would like to pass on a message from a good friend who was one of Ms. Keough’s former students. Please email Building Bridges if you have any information. Thank you.



6. LEGISLATIVE UPDATES ON BILLS PERTAINING TO PRS, HIV/AIDS INFORMATION, JOB DISCRIMINATION, UNANIMOUS PAROLE BOARD DECISIONS, REENTRY TAX CREDIT, 2 MERIT TIME BILLS, PRIVACY OF INFORMATION, WORKING WHERE ALCOHOL IS SOLD, and FREE RAP SHEET.

[Status of several other bills was mentioned in July Building Bridges] (For copies of any of these bills, please email us)

Note that not many of these were signed into law by the governor. Some passed in both houses but are not yet signed; some passed in only one house and need to be reintroduced at the next legislative session which begins January 2009; others stayed in committee and also need to be reintroduced.

PASSED AND SIGNED INTO LAW BY THE GOVERNOR:

S8714/ A11764 - Nozzolio, Aubry: PRS BILL. Passed and Signed into law. This bill, pertaining to Post Release Supervision, was described in the July Building Bridges.

Building Bridges congratulates all the people who worked in support of this and other important bills! (Even though Post Release Sentencing is a controversial issue, we feel the revised bill is fair and offers timely judicial remedies to those who were never required to be under PRS.) We know it took education, persuasion, compromise and much difficult work to bring these bills from conception into law. We appreciate our representatives who drafted these bills, applaud the Senate members who voted for them, and commend Governor Paterson for his wisdom in signing them. And we don’t take our support in the Assembly for granted either. But it takes everyday people like you and me who are willing to work tirelessly to convince our representatives in government that there is enough support for bills like these to make it safe for them to sponsor them or vote for them. Let us learn from this that we too can change things! Join us at Family Empowerment Day 4 with your ideas, and then roll up your sleeves for a lot of work in the year ahead.


PASSED IN BOTH HOUSES, NOT YET SIGNED BY THE EXECUTIVE:

S8508/ A.8849 - Montgomery, Peoples: DISTRIBUTION OF HIV/AIDS PREVENTION INFORMATION to Persons In Prison & Upon Release. Requires New York correctional facilities to provide people in prison with information about the prevention of HIV, and how to obtain HIV-testing and counseling services upon release.

A10288A / S7638A - Aubry, Volker: THE EMPLOYER EDUCATION ACT requires employers to provide a copy of Article 23-A of the Correction law—which makes it illegal to automatically deny employment to qualified job seekers with criminal records and provides guidance on how criminal history information can be appropriately and legally considered amidst the hiring process—to job applicants if they run background checks during the interview process and to post Article 23-A in the workplace, which also requires that any Credit Reporting Agency (CRA) providing information about a job-seeker’s criminal history must also notify employers of their obligations under New York State Law to give the application fair consideration.

Fortune Society's David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy asks that you please take a moment out of your busy schedule to call the Governor’s office at 518-474-8390 to voice your support for the Employer Education Act (S7638A/A10288A).  And if you have another minute, email them to let them know you called:


PASSED IN ONLY ONE HOUSE, NEED TO BE REINTRODUCED IN JANUARY 2009 WHEN THE NEXT LEGISLATIVE SESSION BEGINS:

S06908 - Nozzolio: Requires, among other things, a UNANIMOUS PAROLE DECISION to release an incarcerated individual convicted of any class A. felony. The bill passed the Senate in April, was delivered to the Assembly where it languished.

A05438A/ S2956B - Jeffries, Montgomery: REENTRY TAX CREDIT establishes a re-entry employment incentive tax credit, providing a $10,000 tax credit to employers who hire individuals released from New York correctional facilities in full-time jobs at 140% of the state minimum wage. It passed in the assembly; was delivered to the Senate in June where it remained in committee.


NEVER MOVED OUT OF COMMITTEE. STILL NEED TO BE INTRODUCED FOR A VOTE:

S7889 /A10716 - Montgomery, Aubry: MERIT TIME BILL, affords inmates with the ability to earn a reduction of their sentence after completing significant programming and maintaining a positive disciplinary record. Current law only allows inmates with certain nonviolent convictions to earn merit time. However, the availability of merit time allowance motivates inmates to complete necessary programming and maintain a good disciplinary record. The program has been shown to reduce prison violence and studies show that inmates granted merit time and released early have lower recidivism rates. Therefore, this bill expands the availability of the merit time program to all inmates. 4/28/08 referred to crime victims, crime and correction.

S3578 - Montgomery: MERIT TIME BILL INTRODUCED IN 2007, didn’t move out of committee. Reintroduced in Jan.’08. Provides for vesting of merit time allowance and release for prisoners with good behavior with certain limitations; provides commissioner of correctional services shall promulgate rules and regulations for merit time allowance to determine which inmates are good candidates for release. Didn’t move out of committee again this session.

S7660/ A10866 - Volker, Aubry: AMENDS THE NYS HUMAN RIGHTS LAW so that individuals are not required to divulge information pertaining to Youthful Offender adjudications and sealed violation convictions. In other words, to clarify that individuals are not required to divulge sealed information about arrests or prosecutions terminated in favor of the accused, youthful offender adjudications, and sealed non-criminal violations. It never moved out of committee.

S8022B - Winner: allows qualified individuals with criminal records to be employed in certain establishments that hold liquor licenses. Never moved out of committee.

S4970A/ A6387A - Volker, Aubry: RAP SHEET BILL requiring the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) and the Department of Correctional Services to provide a rap sheet, free of charge, to every individual being released from a New York State correctional facility, on the day of release. Each rap sheet should be accompanied by instructions for how to read, understand, and review the rap sheet for errors. Never moved out of committee.



7. LIFERS AND LONGTERMERS CLEARINGHOUSE: CALL TO ACTION! WE NEED THE FAMILIES, LOVED-ONES AND SUPPORTERS OF INCARCERATED INDIVIDUALS TO BE INFORMED ABOUT A SPECIAL MEETING THAT HAS BEEN ARRANGED BETWEEN THEM AND THE CHAIRMAN OF THE NEW YORK STATE DIVISION OF PAROLE. 

This special meeting is designed to accomplish three immediate goals:  1) to bring together at one place and time those who are willing to represent and speak for those who are incarcerated in the New York State prison system, 2) to use this meeting as a first step in organizing a grassroots movement to empower these representatives and give voice to their call for a more just and equitable parole system, and 3) to establish a continuing dialogue between those communities that contribute a disproportionate percentage of the state prison population and who have a personal stake in the public safety of the environments where they live and raise families, and the corrections and parole agencies whose policies and practices have a more direct impact on these communities than other jurisdictions. 

The articulation of these three goals and the on-going efforts to reach a consensus between the primary community stakeholders involved (family and community representatives, incarcerated members of the community, and the organized criminal justice advocates) about how to achieve them, constitute the initial stages of a unified strategy to bring about just and equitable parole laws and procedures. 

Regarding the three primary community stakeholders, the incarcerated community members have a crucial role to play despite their imprisonment.  It is the task of the incarcerated community members to notify their families and supporters about the October 25th Family Empowerment Day 4-NYC meeting with the Chairman of Parole, and to convey to them how vital it is that they attend and register. 

The initial mobilization of the families and supporters of the incarcerated begins with their attendance and registration on October 25th and it is the responsibility of the incarcerated to contact them and insist that they participate in Family Empowerment Day 4-NYC. 

Most often the dialogue between the incarcerated and their families and supporters regarding parole is based on complaints and commiseration, with little that family and supporters can do but echo the grievances of the incarcerated.  Well now the situation calls for a dialogue based upon a discussion of objective steps to be taken by each, and the up-front role the families and supporters are required to play in a face to face meeting. 

FED4 announcements providing information about the events scheduled to take place are being made available to lifer and long-termer organizations and key individuals. Word about FED4-NYC should be spread on the buses and visiting rooms and emphasis given to the importance of having an enormous turnout of families and supporters.  We have enough time to make this happen! 

Larry White, Co-Chair
PAN Clearinghouse Project



8. NEW YORK THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY GRADUATES TWELVE AT SING SING PRISON

Congratulations to the New York Theological Seminary's Class of 2008. The 12 graduates from the 26th graduating class at Sing Sing were: Daniel Callahan, Jae Choi, Gregorio (Koko) Cruz, Theodore (Theo) Harris, Gaston (the Judge) Jones, Joseph Mazzaferro, Robert Rose, John Royster, Warren Streeter, Nicholas Tellone, John (Divine G.) Whitfield, Juan Williams. We wish the graduates the best.



9. PAROLE BOARD ADDS MARY ROSS AND MICHAEL HAGLER; YEAR-TO-DATE A1VO PAROLE RELEASES; FACILITY STATISTICS FROM ARTHUR KILL, GROVELAND, MID-ORANGE AND WYOMING PRISONS

Parole Board Appointments:

In our July issue we reported that Joseph B. Crangle and Mary Ross had been nominated and were awaiting Senate confirmation. Apparently Crangle was not confirmed but Ms. Ross was, on June 19, to a 5 year term. There's no mention of Mr. Crangle on the Parole website. It does show that there are now 18 commissioners, and the last one to be confirmed before Mary Ross was Michael A. Hagler who was nominated by Spitzer and confirmed on 10/22/07 for a 6 yr term. He had previously served more than 30 years in law enforcement, as a senior investigator with the Office of the New York State Attorney General, as a member of the Metro Rochester Firearms Suppression Unit (Project Exile) and on the security detail for then Attorney General Eliot Spitzer in upstate New York.  Prior to joining the Attorney General’s Office, Commissioner Hagler was an investigator sergeant with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and the department’s liaison with all local, state and federal law enforcement agencies as well as community groups.  We regret there is not comparable information available for other appointees.

Parole Releases for A1VO (unofficial research from parole database)

SUMMARY FOR THE FIRST HALF OF 2008
707 interviews were held, of which 92 were initial appearances and 615 were reappearances
86 people (4 of them women) were granted parole
5 people (1 woman) were released on their initial interview,
81 (3 women) were released on a reappearances
20 (1 woman) people were released on their 2nd board, 16 (2 women) on the 3rd, 14 on 4th, 6 on 5th, 12 on 6th, 5 on 7th, 3 on 8th, 4 on 9th, 1 on 11th

JUNE A1VO PAROLE RELEASE SUMMARY:
140 interviews of which 17 were initial appearances and 123 were reappearances
17 people (none women) were granted parole
1 person was released on his initial interview (on a 25-Life)
16 were released on a reappearance.

THE 17 June A1VO PAROLE RELEASES BY PRISON:
Adirondack - M2 with 15-life on his 6th board
Adirondack - M2 with 22-life on his 6th board
Clinton - M2 with 20-life on his 2nd or 3rd (?) board
Elmira - M2 with 27.5-life on his 2nd board
Fishkill - M2 with 20-life on his 5th board
Green Haven - M2 with 25-life on his 4th board
Groveland - M2 with 15-life on his 4th board
Hudson - M2 with 25-life on his 3rd board
Mid Orange - M2 with 22-life on his 4th board
Mid Orange - M2 with 15-life on his 7th board
Mid Orange - M2 with 15-life on his 2nd board
Mid Orange - M2 with 15-life on his 6th board
Otisville - M2 with 15-life on his 6th board
Riverview - M2 with 15-life on his 3rd board
Sing Sing - M2 with 25-life on his 1st board
Wallkill - M2 with 15-life on his 3rd board
Woodbourne - M2 with 15-life on his 3rd board


JUNE-JULY 2008 RELEASES BASED ON PRISONERS' REPORTS:

ARTHUR KILL
July-August - Ferguson, Arena, Thompson
60 saw the board, 5 were granted parole
25 were initial interviews; 3 were granted parole
34 were reappearances; 1 was granted parole
1 parole violator was released

GROVELAND - video conference hearing - word of mouth report
June
21 long-termers saw the board; 1 was released on 4th board

MID-ORANGE
June [20 - 30 minute hearings]
43 saw the board; 12 (4 A1V0) were granted parole
All 31 who were denied were given 24 months

July- [5-10 minute hearings] - Ferguson, Lemons, Hagler
18 had hearings; 1 (A1VO) released after 28 years on a 15 - life.
The 17 who were denied all got 24 months.

WYOMING -
June - Vanessa Clarke, Kevin Ludlow, Jenifer Arena
65 saw the board; 15 were granted parole
35 were initial interviews; 7 were granted parole
19 were reappearances; 0 were granted
11 were merit boards; 8 were granted

July - William Smith, Patrick Gallivan, Gerald Greenan
38 saw the board; 6 were granted parole
23 were initial interviews; 4 were granted parole
10 were reappearances; 1 was granted
5 were merit boards; 1 was granted



10. PRISON RADIO - LISTEN TO AMY BARASCH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR NYS OFFICE FOR THE PREVENTION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE; PRISON ACTION NETWORK, CPR, AND OTHERS TALK ABOUT PAROLE; GEORGE ALEXANDER TAKE QUESTIONS FROM CALLERS.

Amy Barasch and George Alexander will be on the Fancy Broccoli Show on August 3 and 17 respectively.

“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'.
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

Members of PAN, CPR, and others will be guests on On The Count, August 9, at WBAI-NY 99.5FM from 10:30 'til noon. We’ll be discussing Parole and the upcoming Family Empowerment Day 4 which will Take Action to get parole releases for our loved ones.



11. RECOMMENDED READING: "NOT THE USUAL SUSPECTS: THE POLITICS OF THE PRISON BOOM ", BY MARIE GOTTSCHALK, THE LEAD ARTICLE IN THE JULY 2008 PRISON LEGAL NEWS. IS A COMPREHENSIVE ANALYSIS OF HOW WE GOT TO BE THE “WORLD’S WARDEN, INCARCERATING A HIGHER PROPORTION OF ITS PEOPLE THAN ANY OTHER COUNTRY.”

An interesting point Gottschalk makes is that we’ve had an “erosion of the separation between state and society in the making of penal policy, allowing blunt measures of public passions, such as opinion polls, to be accorded a central role. This facilitated the prison boom by deflecting attention from the central question of what are the limits, if any, to the state’s power to punish and kill “

[Prison Legal News, 2400 NW 80th St. #148, Seattle WA 98117, 206 246 1022]



12. TELEPHONE JUSTICE CAMPAIGN REPORTS ON LATEST DEVELOPMENTS WITH THE NEW PHONE CONTRACT.

As most readers know, the NY Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) prison telephone contract is supposed to change this year to comply with the Family Connections bill, which we all worked together last year to get passed.  Originally we thought it would switch over on April 1, 2008, because the current contract with Global Tel Link was supposed to officially end on March 31, 2008.  The last we knew, DOCS was taking 90 days to switch over the contract and had told us it would change in June.
 
The contract turnover has now been delayed again.  GTL has challenged the award of the new contract in court (apparently this is typical in the world of multi-million dollar government contracts), and there is currently litigation pending that is prolonging the implementation of the new contract.  DOCS is expecting resolution over the dispute this month, but because of the litigation they have not been able to start any of the work they need to do in advance of the change in contract.  DOCS now expects the new contract to be up and running in September.

 lauren melodia | center for constitutional rights | 666 broadway 7th floor | ny ny 10012 | 212.614.6481 | lmelodia@ccrjustice.org




13 TRANSPORTATION TO PRISONS

From the Capital District:
NEST Prison Shuttle schedule: Mt. McGregor, Washington, and Great Meadow CFs on Sat, Aug 2 ($35 adults, $25 children), Coxsackie, Greene, and Hudson on Sat, Aug 9 ($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, Aug 16 leaving Troy at 5 AM. Sullivan trip (Ulster, Eastern, Woodbourne, Sullivan) on Sat, Aug 23 leaving at 6:30 AM ($45 adults, $30 children). Reservations: Linda O'Malley 518- 273-5199.

Door to door, free rides are offered from Albany to prisons within 150 miles by a volunteer of FUUSA’s Justice Committee. 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



14, SAVE THE DATE!  

Saturday October 25 2008
Family Empowerment Day 4 - NYC

"Taking Action to Bring Our Loved Ones Home"

TIME: 9 - 4
PLACE: Columbia Law School,  Jerome Greene Building, 435 West 116th St. (corner of Amsterdam)

MAKE SURE YOUR FAMILY IS THERE!

KEYNOTE SPEAKER:
Board of Parole Chairman George Alexander
"The State of Parole Today"

followed by Q & A session

DOCUMENTARY FILM:
"The Visitors"
featuring families making the bus trip to upstate prisons

followed by a panel discussion with filmmaker and members of the cast, formerly incarcerated people,
and an analyst to 'connect the dots'.

GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS - STRATEGY SESSION with a TEAM OF ADVISORS

*FREE ADMISSION AND LUNCH
*Networking
*Action Tables - Every table will have an action you can take on the spot

Your support is crucial. Please send your CHECK OR MONEY ORDER MADE OUT TO
Prison Action Network
PO Box 6355
Albany NY 12206


FOR AN ATTRACTIVE FLYER, PLEASE EMAIL PRISON ACTION NETWORK .


Prison Action Network thanks the Community Church of NY, Unitarian Universalist, for their support.