Building Bridges

The monthly newsletter of the Prison Action Network

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Monday, December 01, 2008

December 2008

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POSTED 12/16: from Roberta Meyers-Peeples, Director, The Legal Action Center

HOME DEPOT ACCUSED OF VIOLATING CIVIL RIGHTS OF JOB APPLICANTS WITH CRIMINAL RECORDS.

CHARGING PARTIES' COUNSEL ARE INTERESTED IN SPEAKING TO OTHER AFRICAN-AMERICAN AND LATINOS WHO HAVE BEEN REJECTED FOR EMPLOYMENT BY HOME DEPOT BECAUSE OF A PAST CRIMINAL RECORD. 

Two African-American men have filed charges of discrimination against Home Depot alleging that the company’s rejection of their job applications based on their past criminal records violates federal civil rights laws forbidding race discrimination because the practice has an adverse impact on African Americans and Hispanics. The charges were filed with the New York office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The charging parties are being represented by the Legal Action Center (www.lac.org), Outten & Golden LLP (www.outtengolden.com), the National Employment Law Project (http://www.nelp.org/) and Goldstein, Demchak, Baller, Borgen & Dardarian. and Goldstein (http://www.gdblegal.com/).


As part of their investigation of these claims, the charging parties' counsel are interested in speaking to other African-American and Latinos who have been rejected for employment by Home Depot because of a past criminal record. People in New York State should contact the Legal Action Center, 212-243-1313 (outside of NY City, call 800-223-4044), and ask to speak to a paralegal about the Home Depot case. People in California should contact the National Employment Law Project, 510-409-2427. People outside of New York or California should contact Justin Swartz at Outten & Golden, 212-245-1000.


National HIRE Network
Legal Action Center
225 Varick St.
4th Floor
New York, NY 10014
212 243-1313 (p) | 212 675-0286 (f)
www.hirenetwork.org | www.lac.org





BUILDING BRIDGES
December 2008

Dear Reader,

We're coming to the end of quite a momentous year in many respects. From the historic election of America's first African American President to the creation of the Coalition for Fair Criminal Justice Policies by our very own Family Empowerment Project [see articles 4 & 5], everyday people have shown that we’re no longer going to sit by while our tax dollars are being spent on things that do nothing to increase our well being. We prevailed because we dared to hope, and then put some hard work behind it. In both situations we need to prepare ourselves to continue the struggle, for change does not happen overnight. As Prison Action Network takes a look at its role in the unfolding future we see a critical need for more people to carry out the increased responsibilities success has created.

Prison Action Network is primarily a communications network, striving to bring people together for the purpose of making the changes necessary to revitalize our communities and reestablish our family structures. We represent those who are directly impacted by the NYS criminal justice system. We’ve come together to work for change, and now we need some of us - you, perhaps - to take a leadership role in the new organization. People who have the time and the passion to take on some of the responsibilities which have become more than Prison Action Network is able to shoulder alone.

Remember that PAN is an all volunteer organization. We refuse to make money on injustice! When you stop supporting us we'll know you don't need us, and we'll move on.


Please share your copy of Building Bridges. We all need to be on the same page!



In this Issue

1. Book Review: Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We're Not Hurting
2. Educational opportunity for formerly incarcerated men
3. Family Empowerment Day updates
4. Family Empowerment Project creates Coalition for Fair Criminal Justice Policies
5. Family Empowerment Day 4/Albany reports
6. Justice Works seeks achievement award applicants
7. Lifers and Longtermers Clearinghouse article, by "Knowledge"
8. Parole report
9. Prison Media
10. Transportation to prison
11. What you could do to be part of the solution
12. Things PAN is not


1. BOOK REPORT: “BLACK PAIN: IT JUST LOOKS LIKE WE’RE NOT HURTING” BY TERRIE WILLIAMS. THE BOOK IDENTIFIES EMOTIONAL PAIN AS THE ROOT CAUSE OF THE DESPERATE ACTS OF CRIME, VIOLENCE, SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND OTHER AILMENTS PLAGUING THE BLACK COMMUNITY, AND IT COULD HELP READERS WORK THROUGH THEIR OWN TRAUMA AND RECLAIM THEIR LIVES.

The man, not yet 30 years old and in the early stage of a 22-year prison sentence, was in his darkest night. Deeply depressed and in “the box” in one of New York State’s harshest prisons, he could not even summon the will to get out of bed. He spoke to the prison psychiatrist, revealing that he had once tried to kill himself by drinking bleach. She did not take him seriously. He asked for medication to ease his emotional torment. The response? That there was nothing wrong with him.

“Depression means cutting your wrist or trying to kill yourself, or being ‘stupid’ in prison,” he said. “People like me will not get help in here because these people have their own meaning of depression. If you are competent and bright, then nothing is wrong with you. We have no one to reach out to. We are the invisible people with no voice, so we express ourselves the best way we know how: drugs, violence or both.”

With nowhere to turn, this man said that he was “about to give up.” But just then, a friend sent him the book, “Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We’re Not Hurting.”

“Your book has saved my life,” he later wrote in his letter to the book’s author,Terrie M. Williams.
Terrie is inspiring the incarcerated to give voice to their pain. Men in the Caribbean African Unity Organization at Mid-Orange Correctional Facility have developed the Incarcerated Pain Project; they are using “Black Pain” as a tool for healing and empowerment.

Recently Terrie received a letter saying, “After recently reading your book, I was left speechless for days, because for the first time I realized not only that I was not alone but that there were also cures and therapy for depression/anxiety; I’m one of the fortunate brothers. There are thousands of black men suffering from depression who haven’t identified it and are serving 10, 20 or even life sentences. Your work is a blessing.”

For more information, contact Terrie at: The Stay Strong Foundation, 382 Central Park West, Suite 7R, New York, NY 10025, tmwms@terriewilliams.com, Tel: 212-316-0305 Web: healingstartswithus.net, Web: thestaystrongfoundation.com, Web: terriewilliams.com

[On Jan. 15, "Black Pain' will be the centerpiece of what is being described as "an evening of healing and inspiration" at Symphony Space, located at Broadway and West 95th Street in New York City. The event, from 7 pm to 9:30 pm, will highlight "what depression looks like, sounds like and feels like,'' and will feature Ms. Williams, Mo'Nique, Ruby Dee, John Amos, Rev. Al Sharpton, Terry McMillan, Susan L. Taylor, Geoffrey Canada, Cakeman Raven, Jamie Hector and Felicia "Snoop" Pearson. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased by calling 212-864-5400 or visiting www.symphonyspace.org.]



2. EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY FOR FORMERLY INCARCERATED MEN, "RITUAL AS A PATHWAY FOR SUCCESSFUL REENTRY", AT JOHN JAY COLLEGE, SPRING 2009.
 
A free continuing education course for formerly incarcerated men is being offered by John Jay College of Criminal Justice in association with Rehabilitation Through the Arts (RTA) during Spring Semester 2009. Kevin Bott, from the New York State Prison Theatre Program and RTA and a Ph.D. candidate at NYU, is teaching the course. If you or anyone you know is interested in this course, contact Kevin at 347 415 7691 or kevinbott@nyu.edu



3. FAMILY EMPOWERMENT DAY UPDATES: PARTICIPANTS REPORT THEY WERE REPRESENTATIVES OF PEOPLE IN 15 PRISONS; A DOCUMENTARY DVD PRODUCED BY ALL THINGS HARLEM IS AVAILABLE

Prisons Represented:
We asked registrants at FED4/NYC to tell us the name of the prison where their loved one was incarcerated. Here is the count of those who answered: Arthur Kill 13, Auburn 2, Clinton 3, Eastern 2, Fishkill 4, Greenhaven 2, Hudson 2, Livingston 2, Mid-Orange 7, Otisville 3, Shawangunk 2, Sing Sing 2, Sullivan 3, Upstate 2, Woodbourne 4.

FED4/NYC DVD available:
The Documentary Video of FED4/NYC is available on DVD for $10. Proceeds to be split by PAN and All Things Harlem. Please send your check made out to Prison Action Network with your name and address to PAN, PO Box 6355, Albany NY 12206.



4. FAMILY EMPOWERMENT PROJECT FOLLOW-UP MEETING ON 11/15/08 RESULTS IN FORMATION OF THE "COALITION FOR FAIR CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICIES". WE WANT A VOICE AT THE TABLE WHERE POLICIES AND PRACTICES ARE MADE, TO HAVE CONSTANT INPUT IN THE MAKING OF DECISIONS THAT AFFECT OUR LIVES. THE NEXT MEETING DATE IS SET FOR JANUARY 24, 2009

Larry White began the meeting. He touched on the following points: 
The N.Y. State Department of Correctional Services and the NY State Division of Parole have control over our lives. They are called state agencies because by law their legal mandate is to serve the entire state. However,it is quite evident that both of these agencies are predominately serving the small number of communities in New York City which contribute more than 75% of the state’s prison population and an overwhelming percentage of the people on parole. The fact is that the money to run these controlling agencies is provided by your tax dollars. As stakeholders we have an obligation to participate in the making of policy and practice of these agencies, to have input and a voice in determining how the agencies operate and if they operate to our benefit.
 
That is the ultimate goal of our new organization.  It is not just to get better parole decisions, because we will never be able to guarantee that parole decisions will turn out as we wish no matter how many changes are made in parole law. .
 
We now have two fairly liberal leaders at the helm of the controlling agencies and the Chairman of the Division of Parole has articulated an open door policy. We don’t have to use the traditional methods of protest and attacks when there is an open door policy in place.  All we have to do is educate our selves and strategize before we take action.

Glenn Martin gave an overview of the New York Senate and Assembly and how policies are created and supported by the Republicans and Democrats:
He noted that “our issues" (criminal justice) are traditionally backed by the Democrats in the Assembly but stopped by the Republicans in the Senate. Now that Democrats control both houses, we may have a golden opportunity to move our agenda forward. He is “cautiously optimistic” about the appointment of Governor David Patterson, who in the past has backed criminal justice reform concerns, such as the Rockefeller Drug Law reform, however, since his appointment he has yet to move forward on those issues.

Mr. Martin cautioned us that campaigns require long-term commitments of up to 3 years or more, with year 1 being a planning phase of identifying the problem and determining a solution, as well as determining who's who and what's what in the struggle. If we are joining the movement solely for “selfish” reasons, i.e., a loved one is facing parole soon and they want answers, this campaign is asking for a larger commitment to work for reform which reaches beyond our individual needs and affects all incarcerated persons in the same situation as our loved one. He passed out a handout listing ten tips for effective advocacy which may be had for a SASE.

He reminded us that “the greatest opposition could come from the person next door to you”; we can start now by talking openly with them about our situation. In the future we will talk to our legislators and we should not assume that elected officials are more educated about our issues simply because they hold office. We need to realize we know more than most of them about these things, and our job is to educate them. It will not help us to go into their offices and argue with them. We have to carefully explain our position, and if they oppose us find out on what grounds, then work to find a place where we can come together.

Naming Ourselves: We agreed that the coalition name should be inclusive of all of the concerns of the group, since the parole goal we have announced is only the first of many objectives we have. We quickly agreed to call ourselves the "Coalition for Fair Criminal Justice Policies".

An Assignment: Here's a task for anyone who has experience getting information from the web or the library. We need some information on videotaping of parole hearings. Do any other states do it? Any countries? What is the cost? What is needed? One camera? Two? How many technicians? How much equipment? Before we can ever talk to anyone outside the group about this idea, we need to be able to talk cost. All the web experts out there, we're counting on you to bring some information to our next meeting on Jan 24. Any studies done on the outcomes; anything.

Next Meeting: Saturday Jan. 24, 10:30 am - 1:00 pm; the location will be announced in the January issue. There are currently three items on the agenda (if you want to suggest others please contact Judith at PAN): 1) decide once and for all what we want to pick for our first parole goal, since, as someone noted at the meeting, the voting at FED4 was so confusing, 2) fine tune the mission statement that is presented to us by a committee formed to do so, 3) to hear from the researchers
---From minutes prepared by Denise Barnes



5. FAMILY EMPOWERMENT DAY 4/ALBANY RESULTS IN FORMATION OF THE CAPITAL DISTRICT CHAPTER OF THE COALITION FOR FAIR CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICIES.

On Saturday Nov. 22 The Criminal Justice and Prison Reform Committee of SRC and Prison Action Network joined forces to present Family Empowerment Day 4/Albany at the FUUSA building. Teresa Wuerdeman, Asst. Commissioner of DOCS Health Services gave the keynote speech on the State of Prison Health Care. During the Q & A period that followed she was joined by Dr. Timothy Whalen, NE Regional Director of Health Services. Their session was followed by a Restorative Justice Circle Discussion during which all participants, including Larry White from the PAN Board, Deborah Ashline, Forensic Project Coordinator, NAMI- NYS, and family members who have seriously ill loved ones in NYS prisons, related the experiences that brought them to the event. It was a very moving experience, with tears and distress as we heard some of the stories. Participants commented on the disconnect between what DOCS administration knows and what actually occurs in facilities, with the result that inmates may actually experience sub-optimal care. The general consensus of the group was to keep the communication among families, inmates and DOCS going. 

The day ended with a plan to invite DOCS' Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Lester Wright, as well as Teresa Wuerdeman, and Howard Holanchock, the Asst. Commissioner for Mental Health to a March 7 meeting to continue the dialogue begun at Family Empowerment Day 4. In a subsequent email discussion, it was agreed to join the Coalition for Fair Criminal Justice Policies as the Capital District Chapter. We will meet again on Dec 13, from 12-2, to plan this event. You are invited to join us. Please send an email to PrisonActionNetwork@gmail.com for more details.



6. JUSTICE WORKS OFFERS THE REV. DR. CONSTANCE M. BAUGH ACHIEVEMENT AWARD 2009. APPLICATIONS ACCEPTED FROM NOVEMBER 24, 2008 UNTIL JANUARY 19, 2009

Purpose:
JusticeWorks Community, a nonprofit organization based in Brooklyn, New York, strives to educate, organize and mobilize a partnership of community residents, concerned citizens and organizations to advocate for just, effective and humane criminal justice policies, emphasizing alternatives to incarceration for women with dependent children.

The award was established in 2001 to honor Rev. Baugh’s 30 years of working with prisoners, formerly incarcerated persons and their families. It celebrates women who have overcome tremendous adversity to emerge from the dehumanizing experience of incarceration to become advocates for themselves and women still incarcerated.

Eligibility:
Women who were incarcerated for at least one year and through advocacy work have contributed significantly to improve the circumstances of women involved in the criminal justice system. Nominations should originate from members of organizations familiar with the work and contributions of the nominee.

To Apply:
Visit www.justiceworks.org and download the application form. Those without computer access may call 718.499.6704, ext. 203 and request that a form be mailed to you.



7. LIFERS AND LONGTERMERS CLEARINGHOUSE: IT APPEARS MANY MEN AND WOMEN BEHIND THESE WALLS ARE NOT LEARNING TO BETTER UNDERSTAND THE PAROLE PROCESS AND HOW TO ADDRESS THOSE ISSUES THEY FEEL ARE CRITICAL TO A MORE JUST CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM.

We learned at FED4/NYC that the Chairman of the State Parole Board does not have authority over the decisions made by the Parole Board. The Board is appointed by the Governor, and approved by the State Senate, to serve a specific term of office. George Alexander’s job is to provide them with the support they need to make good decisions, and to make sure they are operating within the powers and duties specified in Sec. 259-c of the New York State Executive Law. [Ed.]

A long term reader submitted the following comments on the subject of Parole Hearings for this month’s Clearinghouse column:

It appears many men and women behind these walls are not doing what they should: learning to better understand the parole process and how to address those issues they feel are critical to a more just criminal justice system.

In reality, the responsibility for release determination lies with the sitting parole panel and the person who is appearing before the board. The process of challenging a parole denial lies in the appeal process and addressing the issues with those elected officials (the judges) who uphold unfavorable and unjustified parole decisions. In NYS most judges are elected. Most parole boards and judges rely on case law decisions in prior rulings by other judges who have upheld an erroneous previous ruling. It can also be just a matter of interpretation of the statutes which govern parole release criteria. Whichever is the case, we prisoners must begin to raise and address those issues we feel are the cause of adverse rulings. We need a letter writing campaign to educate our state legislators, judges, lawyers, and students of criminal justice, as well as your average lay person not schooled in legal jargon. The law is not something clear cut. That's why we have judges, whose job it is to render what they consider to be a correct interpretation of the law in each situation brought before them. We need to enlighten them.

And since the Parole Board allows a "Victim Impact Statement" to be part of the record, why not a "Community Impact Statement" as well?

We need to be involved in every step of the parole process. Too many of us think that because we have a more liberal thinking governor or chairman of parole that we do not have to do any more struggling. We fail to realize that the struggle continues regardless of our success because it is constant struggle that keeps things from reverting back to the old way. Just like bills you take care of this week or month and you must continue to work(struggle) to take care of next week or month

There are too many great minds behind these walls that settle for too little. We must remember: those on the outside who deliver our message depend on us to do our homework and research before we seek to have the message delivered. -----“Knowledge”



8. PAROLE: PT. 1 IN LEARNING ABOUT PAROLE HEARINGS AND SUPERVISION; A1-VO STATISTICS PLUS REPORTS FROM INDIVIDUAL PRISONS; PAROLE HEARING PREPARATION WORKSHOP, AND UPDATE ON SHU’AIB ABDUR-RAHEEM’S RECISSION HEARING.

INTRODUCTION TO THE DIVISION OF PAROLE AND THE PAROLE BOARD
from the NYS Parole Handbook, available online at http://parole.state.ny.us/Handbook.pdf

The number of people under parole supervision in New York State has expanded tremendously over the past seventy-four years from about 4,000 in 1930 to 45,056 as of December 31, 2004. To oversee increasing responsibilities, the number of Parole Board members has also increased over the years. Current law provides for a Board of Parole with nineteen full-time members.

The Division is part of the State’s Executive Department and is responsible for the community supervision and reintegration of offenders released from prison by action of the Parole Board, by conditional release, or those sentenced directly to parole supervision. These responsibilities are carried out by field and facility Parole staff. The Chairman of the Board of Parole is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Division. Parole Officers are the Division’s line personnel and are usually assigned to an area office or a correctional facility. Facility Parole Officers guide and direct inmates during their period of incarceration. The duties of facility Parole Officers include: (1) helping inmates develop positive attitudes and behavior; (2) motivating their participation in appropriate programs; and (3) preparing inmates for their Board interviews and eventual release to the community.

Parole Officers assigned to an area field office supervise and guide parolees during the period of adjustment from incarceration to community reintegration. All Parole Officers are peace officers and are trained in the use of firearms. Parole Operations is supported by staff functions of Administrative Services, Support Operations, Policy Analysis, Information Services and the Office of Intergovernmental Relations and Public Affairs. Counsel’s Office provides legal advice on Division policy and authors and interprets legislation. Administrative Law Judges administer due process hearings for alleged parole violators. The Executive Clemency Unit investigates applications for pardon and commutation of sentence. The Victim Impact Office works with the New York State Crime Victims Board, local district attorneys and crime victims to help ensure that victims are aware of their rights with regard to the parole process and are afforded an opportunity to be heard in connection with the possible release of inmates. The Division maintains contact with crime victims and, at their request, keeps them apprised of parole interview dates and decisions, and the release dates of the offenders who victimized them. The Victim Impact Office also coordinates Victim Impact statement meetings between victims and/or their survivors and the Board of Parole.

WHAT IS THE BOARD OF PAROLE?
The Board of Parole is an administrative body within the Division of Parole possessing the powers and duties specified in Section 259-c of the New York State Executive Law. The Board consists of up to nineteen members appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. The term of office of each member of the Board is normally six years. However, any member chosen to fill a vacancy occurring other than by expiration of term is appointed for the remainder of the unexpired term of the member whom he or she is to succeed.

WHAT ARE THE DUTIES OF THE BOARD OF PAROLE?
The most important duties of the Board of Parole include the following: (1) determining which inmates serving indeterminate sentences of imprisonment may be released on parole, the time of release, and establishing conditions of post-release supervision; (2) mandating the conditions of release of any person who may be presumptively released or conditionally released under an indeterminate or determinate sentence of imprisonment; (3) establishing written guidelines for use in making parole decisions; (4) revoking the parole, presumptive release, or conditional release of any parolee and authorizing the issuance of a warrant for the retaking of such person; (5) granting and revoking Certificates of Relief from Disabilities and Certificates of Good Conduct; and (6) reporting to the Governor, when requested, the facts, circumstances, histories, social, physical, psychiatric, and criminal records of inmates under consideration by the Governor for pardon or commutation of sentence. [To be continued each month until we’re all on the same page.]


OCTOBER 2008 PAROLE BOARD RELEASES – A1 VIOLENT FELONS – unofficial research from parole database
[our apologies for the jumble of information below, our level of web expertise is not sufficient to the task. Anyone who can help is invited to contact us.]

Total Interviews # Released # Denied Rate of Release
15 initials 3 12 20%
94 Reappearances 15 79 16%
109 Total 18 91 17%

Initial Releases (3)
Facility Sentence Offense # of Board
Arthurkill 25-Life Murder 2 Initial
Fishkill 18-Life Murder 2 Initial
Fishkill 20-Life Murder 2 Initial

Reappearances (15)
Facility Sentence Offense # of Board Eligibility Date
Arthurkill 18-Life Murder 2 6th 4/24/99
Cape Vincent 20-Life Murder 2 4th 1/3/02
Elmira 17-Life Murder 2 2nd 2/2/07
Five Points 20-Life Murder 6th 2/6/99
Five Points 15-Life Att M 1 3rd 2/22/05
Fishkill 20-Life Murder & Att Mur. 1 14th 2/1/83
Fishkill 25-Life Murder 2 4th 6/12/02
Franklin 25-Life Murder 2 6th 3/28/99
Gouverneur 15-Life Murder 2 8th 2/21/95
Groveland 25-Life Murder 2 4th 2/25/03
Mid Orange 15-Life Murder 2 7th 2/15/99
Mid Orange 18-Life Murder 2 3rd 2/24/05
Otisville 20-Life Murder 2 2nd 2/26/07
Wende 20-Life Murder 2 2nd 3/20/07
Woodbourne 25-Life Murder 2 3rd 2/17/05


SEPT-NOV 2008 PAROLE RELEASES BASED ON PRISONERS’ REPORTS:

MID-ORANGE

Nov - Hagler, Ferguson, Casey
28 saw the board; 2 granted (no A-1s), 22 denied,4 postponed

WOODBOURNE - .

Oct Grant, Hernandez, Thomas
12 appearances (3 were A1VO); 5 granted (2 A1VO)

WYOMING

Sept - Ferguson,Lemons, Hagler
35 hearings; 5 granted parole
18 initials; 1 granted
8 Reappearances; 2 granted
9 merit time reviews; 2 granted

Oct. - Smith, Casey, Crangle
36 hearings; 9 granted parole
20 initials; 5 granted
6 reappearances; none granted
10 merit time reviews; 4 granted

Nov - Smith,Ferguson, Hagler
46 hearings; 8 granted
12 initials; 3 granted
6 reappearances; none granted
28 merit time reviews; 5 granted


INFO SESSION ON “HELPING PEOPLE PREPARE FOR PAROLE BOARD APPEARANCES”

Presented by FAMILY RESOURCE CENTER (FRC) Prison Family Support Group
(For Prison Families, Formerly Incarcerated People & Interested Community Members)

Facilitated by  Susan Wright, President of The Coalition for Parole Restoration, and CPR Staff

Wednesday, December 10, 2008, from 5:30 – 7:00 PM
175 Remsen Street Brooklyn , NY – 8th Floor Conference Room

For more information call the FRC Hotline at www.osborneny.org, or e-mail: info@osborneny.org
1-800-344-3314


UPDATE ON THE SEPTEMBER 5 RESCISSION HEARING OF SHU'AIB ABDUR-RAHEEM:

Shu'aib was represented by NYC lawyer Lawrence Stern, who has been representing him since doing his trial appeal years ago.

The judge denied Shu'aib Raheem's petition on the grounds that the Parole Board is empowered to reconsider its parole decisions without regard to time limits and the underlying rationale as long as the victims did not take advantage of the opportunities afforded them prior to the decision to make impact statements. His lawyer has filed a Notice of Appeal to the Appellate Division, 3rd Dept. The appeal will take several months, and the reconsideration hearing has been postponed until the appeal is decided.



9. PRISON MEDIA:

All Things Harlem, a series produced by Joseph "Jazz" Hayden, CEO, Still Here, Harlem Productions Inc., appears on Manhattan Neighborhood Network's channel 34 on Thursdays at 7:30pm. each week. The program presents coverage of the important issues affecting the Harlem Community, i.e. politics, advocacy, health care, police community relations, and all the other issues that are not being covered by mainstream media, including Election Night in Harlem, and Family Empowerment Day 4/NYC. If you missed any you can visit http://www.vimeo.com/2032210 to see Episodes 5-10. [FED4/NYC is EP9].

Send your feedback to Jazz at: 201 West 138th St. Suite 1, New York, NY 10030
Office:212-234-0596, Cell: 917-753-3771
Jhayden512@aol.com, http://www.ovntv.com, Channel 335, allthingsharlem.com



10. TRANSPORTATION TO PRISONS

From the Capital District:
NEST Prison Shuttle schedule: Mt. McGregor, Washington, and Great Meadow CFs on Sat, Dec 6 ($35 adults, $25 children), Coxsackie, Greene, and Hudson on Sat, Dec 13 ($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, Dec 20 leaving Troy at 5 AM. Sullivan trip (Ulster, Eastern, Woodbourne, Sullivan) on Sat, Dec 27 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.

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



11. WHAT YOU COULD DO TO BE PART OF THE SOLUTION: ACTIONS, EDUCATION, AND NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES AROUND THE STATE

Albany:

Saturday, December 13 Planning for the March 7 program, 'Continuing the Dialogue with DOCS Health Services'
The Capital District Chapter of the Coalition for Fair Criminal Justice Policies
12 -2pm at FUUSA, 405 Washington Avenue, Albany

Thursday, December 18 "Re-Entry Resources Orientations" for Men and Women
ROOTS
6-8 at Trinity Institution, 15 Trinity Place, Albany NY 12202

Buffalo:

Monday January 26, 2009 Agenda TBA
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.

Prisoners Are People Too takes the month of December off. Their next meeting is scheduled for January 26, 2009! 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.

New York City:

Wednesday December 31 (Call 917 346 0969 to confirm) STARK, an open mic hosted by Viviana Featuring poetry and other writings by, for and about those behind bars in New York State and around the country.

6:00 to 9:30 PM at WHERE EAGLES DARE/ Black Bird Theatre, 347 West 36th St, between 8th and 9th Ave, 13th floor.

$5 donation requested – no one turned away. Since it is an open mic, you can perform your own writings, music, theatre piece, comedy, rant, etc. You will have approx. 5 minutes to do your thing. Of course you are welcome to come and just listen/watch.

Troy:

Thursday, December 11 "Re-Entry Resources Orientations" for Men and Women
ROOTS
6-8 at Christ United Methodist, 35 State Street, at 4th Avenue, Troy, NY 12180.

Call ROOTS at 518 434 1026 for more details.



12. THINGS PRISON ACTION NETWORK IS NOT:

Perfect: For instance; Latif Lamar, one of the contributors to the Family Empowerment Day Fund, was left off the list of donors given out at FED4/NYC, much to his chagrin, and ours.

A law office: There is no one here to give legal advice, and we don’t have time or money to be sending back the packages of information we are sent. We are willing to send, in return for a SASE, anything offered in Building Bridges, if you provide the date of the issue when it was offered, the name of the article or document, and in the case of Legislation, the bill number. There’s no time to do research for other things.

Able to write Parole Support Letters for people we haven’t known personally for a long time. The Parole Board is less impressed by the number of letters in your folder than by the reputations of the people who write from the community to which you will be returning, and the changes in you that they’ve observed over the years. That's why it's important to develop and maintain those relationships during your incarceration.

A research center: we just don’t have time. We depend on what is sent to us; we don’t have time to go looking for it. If there is a reader who would commit to researching requests for information, we could use your help, and then we could provide that service.


Building Bridges is a joint effort of Prison Action Network and the FUUSA Justice Committee
We thank the Community Church of NY, Unitarian Universalist, for their support.