Building Bridges

The monthly newsletter of the Prison Action Network

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Friday, July 31, 2009

AUGUST 2009

Dear Reader,

I’ve been on the road a lot this summer; to NYC for meetings, to a farm garden in NW Pennsyvania, visiting incarcerated people as I travel, and last Monday I ended up in Buffalo, where I had grown up, to attend Prisoners Are People Too’s monthly meeting. Boy! was I impressed by the folks in Buffalo!

The topic was restorative justice, and the meeting started with a film about the families of two young men from adjoining neighborhoods, one of whom had murdered the other, resulting in one gone forever, and the other who wouldn’t be returning until he was an old man. Through the intervention of a priest in whose parish both had lived, and who had recognized the terrible loss both families had suffered, the families actually became close. As if that wasn’t enough of an inspiration for choosing forgiveness instead of revenge, in the audience were 2 women with powerful stories to tell. One who had lost 2 children to violence on the streets, and the other whose brother had killed her sister. Both found the ability to forgive the people who had harmed them so deeply, through the help of an organization which amazed by its message and its business smarts.

According to literature they handed out, the Stop the Violence Coalition has been effective in reducing violence by 50% on the streets of Buffalo, but more than that they’ve replaced it with the message of peace and love. Two of its chief organizers spoke, and described their 100 Days of Peace Campaign which kicked off on June 1 and will continue through Sept. 1. Through selling advertising space on their Stop the Violence Bus (which was parked outside as we left), at all their public appearances and on all their literature, they hope to raise the money for the Campaign which also includes a $10,000 Peace Awareness Contest. Entry in the contest requires registering at the Stop the Violence Bus or a number of other local Buffalo places of business, and it provides an opportunity for one lucky family in the Buffalo area to win a grand prize of $10,000 in cash and prizes.

Buffalo has won my heart! Karima Amin rates some kind of award for bringing so many good people together every month to learn and be inspired to do something to make this a better world.

Be well, have hope, and please, tell your friends about this website.


In this Issue

1. Actions you can take
2. Birth in shackles
3. ICARE is on vacation
4. Legislation updates and bills to watch
5. Parole News
6. Prison Media
7. Prisoners of the census
8. Public Defense
9. Transportation
10. Voting rights
11. Writing Contest


1. ACTIONS: WHAT CAN YOU DO? HERE’S A LIST OF THINGS TO START WITH

BUFFALO:
Prisoners Are People Too is a justice advocacy program that meets monthly on selected Mondays in Buffalo. Most meetings feature a documentary film related to some criminal justice or prison issue, and one or more guest speakers who address that issue. 

TUESDAY, AUGUST 18, 5-7:30PM PRP2! SPONSORS LETTER WRITING EVENT - Frank E. Merriweather, Jr. Library, 1324 Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo.
George BaBa Eng (77A4777) will face his 5th Parole Board hearing in October of 2009 after nearly 33 years of incarceration in New York State Prisons. Well known as a Reformed Offender, BaBa has many longtime supporters who are advocating for his release. At this support event for BaBa the documentary film “Life Sentence” (2008), which features six formerly incarcerated men and women who have spent decades behind bars and who are now outstanding contributors to their families and communities, will be shown. Several speakers will attest to BaBa’s parole worthiness and attendees will receive instructions and assistance for writing an effective letter of support for George BaBa Eng.


MONDAY AUGUST 31, 6:30 - 8:30PM - THE NEXT MEETING OF PRISONERS ARE PEOPLE TOO! Pratt-Willert Community Center, 422 Pratt Street

The next meeting of Prisoners Are People Too will open with a screening of the documentary film, “Prisons for Profit” (PBS, 2008) which explores the growing trend of prison privatization and asks two questions: “Should incarceration be incorporated?” and “If money is being made from filling a prison bed, is this a violation of a prisoner’s human rights?” Since there are no private prisons in New York State, the screening of this film may appear to be moot but it relates to our guest speaker’s topic which, in a word, is greed.
Rev. Eugene L. Pierce, Executive Director of “Western New York Outreach Ministries,” served as Deputy Superintendent of the Erie County Correctional Facility from 1984 until 1997 when he was forced into retirement by then Erie County Executive Dennis Gorski, for complaining for four years about the misuse of the prisoner commissary fund.  Funds intended for the sole purpose of “prisoner welfare and rehabilitation,” according to New York State Correction Law, have been misspent.  Audits and reviews of the commissary fund in 1998 and 2007 officially document that monies were inappropriately spent. Greed and a lack of concern for prisoner well-being has meant that prisoners have not benefitted from funds intended for their education and rehabilitative programs. Rev. Pierce will talk about his demand for an investigation  into  the misuse of  these monies at the Erie County Holding Center and the Erie County Correctional Facility.

PRP2 programs are sponsored by The Circle of Supporters for Reformed Offenders and Friends of BaBa Eng.
For further information, contact Karima Amin: 716-834-8438; karima@prisonersarepeopletoo.org.


NEW YORK CITY
SATURDAY, AUGUST 15TH, FROM 10:30AM-1PM -COALITION FOR FAIR CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICY MEETING

Fortune Society Castle, 630 Riverside Drive, corner W.140th St. (#1 Train, 137th St/City College stop.)  (Note: the Fortune Society does not sponsor our events, but they generously share their space with us.)

At our last meeting (on July 11) we began working on our Public Relations Campaign, the goal of which is to transform the public's negative perception of formerly incarcerated people and the families and friends of currently incarcerated individuals.  This first phase of the project involves creating postcard sized messages which we will hand out at public demonstrations. 
At the meeting we each made 2 lists, one of our skills, accomplishments, and values and the other of how we think the public would perceive us if they knew of our criminal history, or our relationship to someone who has one.  

So if you weren't there, please make these 2 lists for yourself, and bring them to the next meeting. Come lookin' good, cuz we will be taking your picture for the postcard. (If you are reluctant to have your picture made public, we can use a sillouette.)  We will create a model of our cards to be taken to a printer for mass production.

Our first planned action is for September, when we will gather at a major thoroughfare in Harlem and hand them out to people on the street, hopefully engaging them in conversation in the process.  The postcards will feature our pictures and on one side a description of who we are in our community, and on the other, our relationship to someone who is incarcerated, or to our past incarceration if such is the case.  In other words, it will humanize us, and hopefully dispel the demonization that afflicts us and our loved ones.


SATURDAY, AUGUST 15TH   PARENT EMPOWERMENT SEMINAR HOSTED BY NYS SENATOR ERIC ADAMS
3rd Annual "Cradle to College" event. This year's theme is "Securing our Families’ Futures."  There will be a series of feature presentations, breakout sessions, an array of resources and giveaways on: Career Choices, Job Recruitment, Health and Nutrition, Personal and Family Development, Internet Safety, Financial Literacy, and Public Safety.

To attend, please contact Lamona Knight B.S., MPA, Coordinator, NYS Senator Eric Adams, 2009 Parent Empowerment Seminar, at 917-592-7971or Medgar Evers College, 1650 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn NY 11225

Plenary Session - 
Child Safety Book – Keeping Our Children Safe: Presenter: NYS Senator Adams
Parenting is a Process - Presenter:  Keith Rogerss.
 
Session A – Classrooms (11:35 -12:45)
Assessing your Social Service Resources through Difficult Times  Facilitator:  Chaz Crowder          
Autism Awareness – Empowering The Family, Understanding Autism: First Sign   Facilitator: Lucina Clarke
Bullying:  Facilitator:  Sabra Jackson
Career Planning: How Can Parents Help? Facilitator:     Jan Cummings-Grayson
Computer and Internet Marketing Facilitator:     Kelvin Alexander
NYC Family Court:  An Overview of Parties’ Rights and Responsibilities Part I Facilitator:     Tyrone Cherry  
Resume Writing & Interviewing With Confidence Facilitator:     Audrey Brown-Douglas
Stress Management Facilitator:     Robin St. Clair
The Psychology of Money Facilitator:     Erik Shumar – Amalgamated Bank
What to do When Stopped by the Police Facilitator:     Amin Kosseim
 
Session B – Classrooms (1:35 – 2:45)
Face-to-Face:  What It Means To Be A Young Man Of Color In The World.  Facilitator: Keith Rogers
Face to Face:  What it Means to be a Young Woman of Color in the World. Facilitator:  Audrey Brown-Douglas  
Financial Planning and Literacy: Facilitator:  Office of NYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and The Alliance for Financial Literacy
Gang Awareness Facilitator:     Amin Kosseim
Goal-Setting Facilitator:     Sabra Jackson
How to Make Success Follow You  Facilitator:  Eliandra West
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and How to Listen so Kids Will Talk  Facilitator:    Robin St. Clair
NYC Family Court:  An Overview of Parties’ Rights and Responsibilities Part II Facilitator:     Tyrone Cherry  
Pre-Paid Legal Facilitator:    Richard Jones
Preparing yourself and your Child for College Facilitator:  Jan Cummings-Grayson
Watching the News with a Critical Eye  Facilitator:  Peter Katona, Deputy Communications Director for NYS Senator Eric Adams

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2009 6:30 – 9:00 PM WOMEN ON THE RISE TELLING HER STORY “A WOMAN’S WORTH”
Please join us in celebrating our 5th Anniversary by recognizing our esteemed members
Silent Auction - Musical Performance by Mahina Movement -Keynote Speaker- Susan L. Taylor (Refreshments Served)
American Indian Community House, 11 Broadway 2nd floor, Manh. (the # 4 or 5 train to Bowling Green then a one block walk up to Broadway

Please RSVP to Tina Reynolds 917 626 8168 or fill in the contact page on our website www.womenontherise-worth.org.



2. BIRTH IN SHACKLES: WOMEN WHO’VE GIVEN BIRTH KNOW THE PAIN OF A NORMAL BIRTH, IMAGINE IT WHILE CHAINED AND SHACKLED. THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS IN NYS PRISONS, BUT HOPEFULLY NOT FOR MUCH LONGER

On May 20, both houses of the Legislature — with broad support from Democrats and Republicans — passed Bill S1290-A/A3373-A [see #5 Legislation] that would bar the shackling of women during labor. It would permit the use of handcuffs only in “extraordinary circumstances” to protect the woman or others around her. Sen Montgomery’s office reports the bill will be sent to the Governor next week to sign.  He has 10 days after that date to sign the bill. If the Gov. does not sign a bill after the 10 days it has to go back through the entire process again. 

Last week women organized by the NYCLU and Women on the RIse Telling Herstory (WORTH) rallied across from Governor Paterson's office and with a crowd of close to 100 people urged Governor Paterson to sign the Anti-Shackling Bill into law.  Courageous formerly incarcerated mothers shared their stories.  Representatives from Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson and Sen. Velmanette Montgomery's offices spoke.  Assemblymember Nick Perry attended and spoke movingly about the need for the passage of this bill. The rally received terrific press coverage: The New York Times Sunday Edition, Giving Life, Wearing Chains and Shackles, The Indypendent, Unbinding Pregnant Inmates and a Newsday Editorial, An end to a barbaric practice. David Rothenberg spoke about the issue on his Any Saturday morning show on WBAI, 99.5FM.  Rothenberg mentions the bill about halfway through the show and Senator Thomas Duane called in to support the bill and offer more information about it. 

3. ICARE REPORTS WILL BE TAKING THE SUMMER OFF. LOOK FOR THE NEXT COLUMN IN THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE.

4. LEGISLATION: UPDATES AND BILLS TO WATCH [Copies of all bills mentioned are available from PAN by sending an email with the number of the bill and the month in which we reported it.]

UPDATES
ANTI-SHACKLING BILL S1290-A/ A3373-A   Sponsored by Sen Montgomery and A.M. Parry.
To prohibit the use of mechanical restraints including handcuffs and shackles, on any pregnant female prisoner who is about to give birth during transport from a correctional facility to a medical facility or other accommodation for the purpose of delivering her child.
Status: awaiting the governor’s signature.

MERIT TIME BILL S2932/A6487
Passed out of the Senate Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections Committee. Now sitting in the Rules Committee.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE MERIT TIME BILL A4516-C/S3438-C
Passed in the Assembly after revision, was sent to the Senate and committed to Rules Committee.

ADOPTION POLICIES AFFECTING CHILDREN OF INCARCERATED PARENTS A5462/S2233
Passed in the Assembly, delivered to Senate who referred to Finance Committee..

BILLS WE’RE WATCHING:
A3260/S1295 - Benjamin/Montgomery - relates to prohibiting colleges from denying formerly incarcerated individuals admittance to college based solely on thier incarcertaion
A2445/S4643 - O’Donnell/Hassell-Thompson - Relates to voting and registration for voting by convicted felons
A6665/S4495 - Gottfried/Duane - Prohibits participation in torture and improper treatment of prisoners by health care professionals
A1414 - Wright - Grants a convicted felon the right to register to vote at any election
A6439 - Aubry - Creates a pilot project for filing medical assistance applications for inmates prior to their release
A4327 - Heastie - Establishes a commission to study and develop a plan for improving education in state prisons.
A8552/S5685 - Aubry/Hassel Thompson - Establishes the commission on post-secondary correctional education
S5684/A8911- Padavan/Fields - Would repeal section 160.58 of the criminal procedure law which requires the sealing of the conviction records of persons who have completed drug treatment program. Introduced by Sens. Padavan, Skelos, Alesi, Bonacic, Defrancisco, Farley, Flanagan, Fuschillo, Golden, Griffo, Hannon, O. Johnson, Lanza, Larkin, Lavalle, Leibell, Libous, Little, Marcellino, Maziarz, McDonald, Morahan, Nozzolio, Ranzenhofer, Robach, Saland, Seward, Volker, Winner, Young


5. PAROLE NEWS: PART 8 OF PAROLE HANDBOOK: WHAT IS MEDICAL PAROLE?; JUNE and JULY PAROLE STATISTICS

PART 8 ON PAROLE AND PAROLE BOARD ACTIVITIES IN STATE CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES
[available online:Parole Handbook]

WHAT IS MEDICAL PAROLE?
The purpose of Medical Parole is to reunite terminally ill inmates with their families and loved ones during the final stages of illness and to allow death with dignity outside of prison. Section 259-r of the New York State Executive Law permits the Board of Parole to release certain terminally ill inmates prior to the expiration of the minimum term imposed by the sentencing court. Inmates who are in the final stages of a terminal illness, are severely restricted in their ability to walk and care for themselves, and have not served their minimum sentence are eligible to apply for Medical Parole. To apply for Medical Parole, an inmate or someone acting on his or her behalf should contact the Chief Medical Officer of the Department of Correctional Services.
Release on Medical Parole may only be granted by the Board of Parole after a physician diagnoses an inmate as suffering from a terminal medical condition and concludes that he or she is so debilitated or incapacitated as to be severely restricted in ability to self-ambulate and care for his or herself. The Commissioner of DOCS or a designee must review the physician’s diagnosis and conclusions and certify that the inmate is so debilitated or incapacitated as to create a reasonable probability that he or she is physically incapable of presenting any danger to society and forward the application to the Division of Parole. Medical Parole is granted for a period of six months and is renewable under certain conditions.
An appropriate medical discharge plan is established by DOCS and provided to Parole. The plan identifies the level of medical care the inmate will require upon release, and must include a confirmed placement in a facility that can provide the appropriate level of care. All inmates released on Medical Parole must have a special condition to remain under the care of a physician and in a medically appropriate placement, as well as other conditions of release.


JUNE 2009 PAROLE BOARD RELEASES – A1 VIOLENT FELONS – unofficial research from parole database

In May we saw no releases on first appearances, in June they made up for it with 8.

Total Interviews in June # Released
35 initials seen 8
97 reappearances 14
132 total 22

June Initial Releases
Facility................Sentence.......Offense
Greenhaven..........25-Life........Murder 2
Groveland.............15-Life....... Murder 2
Marcy....................25-Life....... Murder 2
Mid Orange...........25-Life........Murder 2
Mid Orange...........17-Life........Murder 2
Otisville.................20-Life........Murder 2
Woodbourne..........18-Life........Murder 2
Woodbourne..........25-Life........Murder 2

June Reappearances
Facility..........Sentence............. Offense............# of board
Auburn.........20-Life................Murder 2.............2nd bd
Elmira...........25-Life................Murder pre-74....7th bd
Fishkill..........15-Life................Murder 2.............2nd bd
Fishkill..........1 1/2-3...............Murder 2.............5th bd
Fishkill..........15-Life................Murder 2.............2nd bd
Fishkill..........18-Life................Murder 2.............6th bd
Greenhaven...25-Life................Murder 2.............6th bd
Groveland.....20-Life.................Murder 2.............2nd bd
Livingston.....25-Life.................Murder 2.............2nd bd
Livingston.....20-Life.................Murder 2.............2nd bd
Marcy............25-Life.................Murder pre-74....7th bd
Otisville........ 20-Life.................Murder 2.............2nd bd/spec cons
Otisville........ 25-Life.................Murder 2.............3rd bd
Woodbourne..15-Life.................Murder 2.............2nd bd


JULY RELEASES FROM PRISON REPORTS. (Please note that the following statistics are not all limited to people convicted of A1 Violent felonies - some include all parole hearings):

MID-ORANGE
July 21 - Clark, Casey, Hagler
21 appearances (8 A1VO)
2 were paroled (no A1VO)

SULLIVAN ANNEX
July - Lemons, Ludlow, Elovich
5 appearances
2 were paroled: both non-violent on their initial boards.
3 denied: 1 merit, hit to initial in 1 year, 1 flat bid, hit 2 years, CRs in Nov., 1 A1VO 5th board, hit 16 months

WOODBOURNE
July - Lemons, Ludlow, Elovich
16 appearances: (3 A1VO, all denied)
3 were granted parole (15-life on 7th board, 21-life on 2nd board, 15-life on 4th board)
2 postponed



6. PRISON MEDIA: ALL THINGS HARLEM, FANCY BROCCOLI, ON THE COUNT, SOUL SPECTRUM WITH LIBERTY GREEN

FANCY BROCCOLI RADIO SHOW, WVKR  91.3 FM - Sundays - Jazz & Prison Talk, 3:00-6:00 pm
Box 726, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie NY 12604-0726
Fancy Broccoli streams online - go to www.WVKR.org and click on (or near) the word 'LISTEN'.
Visit archives to find lots of other good interviews.

ON THE COUNT, WBAI , 99.5FM. 10:30am-noon. August 2: Guest Serena Alfieri from the Correctional Association’s Coalition for Women Prisoners will speak about the Anti-Shackling bill [see #2]. To listen live on your computer, visit www.wbai.org. To listen later, visit their archives.

SOUL SPECTRUM WITH LIBERTY GREEN, WJFF Radio Catskill 90.5FM - Thursday evenings from 10pm to 1:30am. PO Box 546, Jeffersonville, NY 12748. Voice Box Call-in Comment Line: 845 431 6500
To listen on your computer, live, click here: www.wjffradio.org To send an email, click here: Email:libertygreen@citlink.net

ALL THINGS HARLEM - www.allthingsharlem.com
Web video at it’s activist best! Available whenever you have time to visit the website. Watch an interview with Amiri Baraka, poet, author, and activist for over a half a century.  His comments on what we have to do vis a vis Barak Obama are insightful.  Also the anniversary birthday of Malcom X and Identity theft in Harlem.  If you know of events in the community that you think are worth covering please contact us at info@allthingsharlem.com.



7. PRISONERS OF THE CENSUS. WISCONSIN'S REP. KESSLER INTRODUCES CENSUS CORRECTION AMENDMENT WHICH DOES NOT INVOLVE THE CENSUS BUREAU; EIGHT PENNSYLVANIA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES DISTRICTS WOULD NOT MEET FEDERAL "ONE-PERSON, ONE-VOTE" STANDARDS

This is a condensed version of the article appearing at www.prisonersofthecensus.org.

by Peter Wagner, June 18, 2009 MADISON -
Rep. Frederick Kessler, D-Milwaukee, today introduced a state Constitutional amendment to change the way state and local electoral districts are drawn. If enacted, the amendment would direct that incarcerated felons, who may not vote, also not be counted toward the population of the districts where their prisons are located.
The federal Census Bureau regards prison inmates as "residents" of the prisons where they are held, regardless of any permanent home address and regardless of the length of sentence. This malapportionment effectively turns those who happen to live near prisons into "supervoters": they have more powerful votes and more representation in the Legislature Than other Wisconsinites.
The problem is even more pronounced on the local level. Because county and municipal board districts are smaller, the inmate population of even one prison can make up a large percentage of a given district. In Waupun's Third Aldermanic District, for example, inmates make up 79% of the population. One vote in this district is equivalent to five votes in a district without a prison.
Kessler's amendment would allow federal census data to continue to be used, but would require that the data be altered to remove disenfranchised, incarcerated felons before districting maps are drawn. The amendment would apply to Assembly and Senate districts as well as county and local board districts. The United States Supreme Court has held, in Burns v. Richardson, 384 U.S. 73, 92 (1966), that states need not include disenfranchised felons in the data used to draw district maps.
At this time, no other state requires the exclusion of prisoners from districting data for state legislative districts, though Oregon, New York and Texas all have legislation pending on the subject. In addition, Virginia, Colorado and New Jersey require or allow correction of census data regarding inmates for the districting of certain local boards, and some municipalities and counties around the nation, and particularly in New York State, alter census data to remove prisoners on their own authority.


This next was condensed from: Report: Census Prisoner Count Dilutes Urban Political Clout from The Legal Intelligencer
found here.

By Amaris Elliott-Engel, June 26, 2009
Eight Pennsylvania House of Representatives districts would not meet federal "one-person, one-vote" standards if nonvoting state prisoners did not count as district residents for purposes of drawing up legislative districts, according to an analysis conducted by Prison Policy Initiative, an advocacy group based in Northampton, Mass.

Prisoners make up 5.5 percent to 7.5 percent of the eight districts that wouldn't otherwise meet federal population requirements, according to the PPI.
"Eight legislative districts lack sufficient population to meet accepted one-person, one-vote standards without counting disenfranchised prisoners as part of their population base," the report said. "At the same time, heavily minority urban districts would in all likelihood be entitled to additional representation if prisoners were counted as residents of their home communities for purposes of redistricting."
Wagner said the issue also should be a matter of democratic concern for constituents in any Pennsylvania legislative district that doesn't have prisoners counting toward the district's population base to meet the minimum population requirements.
Wagner also argues that Pennsylvania's use of Census Bureau data that counts prisoners where they are incarcerated violates the state's voter registration statute. The statute states: "No individual who is confined in a penal institution shall be deemed a resident of the election district where the institution is located. The individual shall be deemed to reside where the individual was last registered before being confined in the penal institution, or if there was no registration prior to confinement, the individual shall be deemed to reside at the last known address before confinement."
States, however, could easily subtract the inmate population out of the data used to draw legislative districts, Persily said. That is Persily's preferred policy fix because it wouldn't cost the Census Bureau anything and because prisoners would still be captured in census data like health statistics.
Angus Love, executive director of the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project, said legislative districts should be defined by eligible voters, and that inmates shouldn't be counted in the configuration of legislative districts, either in the districts that inmates are imprisoned in or in their home communities.


Excerpt from ‘Change is Predicted in Census Prisoner Count’, by Amaris Elliott-Engel
Wednesday, July 22, 2009 Legal Intelligencer Staff
The 2010 census will be the last to count inmates at their place of incarceration instead of their home communities, an advocate for changing where the U.S. census counts the incarcerated predicted at the National Conference of State Legislatures Tuesday.

The Prison Policy Initiative depends on the support of the people who receive this newsletter. If you can help support our work with a tax-deductible contribution via Network for Good by clicking here, or via a paper check sent to Prison Policy Initiative PO Box 127 Northampton, MA 01061



8. PUBLIC DEFENSE: THE NEW YORK JUSTICE FUND GETS MORE SUPPORT FOR THEIR BILL WHICH CALLS FOR AN INDEPENDENT COMMISSION TO OVERSEE, FUND AND CONTROL PUBLIC DEFENSE SERVICES, WHILE PLANNING AND IMPLEMENTING THE STATE'S ASSUMPTION OF THESE RESPONSIBILITIES IN A MANNER THAT IS RESPONSIVE TO REGIONAL AND COMMUNITY NEEDS.

Senator Thomas K. Duane and Assemblymember Vivian E. Cook have signed on to the Public Defense Act of 2009 (A.8793/S.6002)! There are now 83 Assembly members and 22 Senators on the bill – and we must build even further support so that the act can be passed easily upon legislators' return to Albany. While they are home in their districts is the perfect time to thank those who are on the bill:

A8793 Sponsors: ASSEMBLY PERSON LENTOL, GOTTFRIED, PAULIN, CAHILL, CLARK, CANESTRARI, ENGLEBRIGHT, JACOBS, DINOWITZ, POWELL, PEOPLES, KAVANAGH, ROSENTHAL, BENEDETTO, WEINSTEIN, JOHN, SCHIMEL, LANCMAN, O'DONNELL, LATIMER, CAMARA, CASTRO, GIBSON; THOMPSON, VALESKY and urge the rest - in particular anyone who represents you - to join them:
Assembly Members: Abbate, Alfano, Aubry, Bacalles, Benjamin, Bing, Boyland, Bradley, Brennan, Brodsky, Brook-Krasny, Cymbrowitz, DenDekker, Espaillat, Farrell, Fields, Gantt, Giglio, Glick, Gordon, Heastie, Hikind, Hooper, Hoyt, Jaffee, Jeffries, Kellner, Lavine, Lifton, V. Lopez, Lupardo, Magee, Magnarelli, Maisel, Markey, McEneny, Millman, Morelle, Ortiz, Parment, Perry, Pheffer, Pretlow, Ramos, Reilly, N. Rivera, P. Rivera, Robinson, Scarborough, Schroeder, Scozzafava, Sweeney, Thiele, Titone, Titus, Towns, Townsend, Weisenberg, Wright


S6002 Sponsors: SENATOR SCHNEIDERMAN, HASSELL-THOMPSON, SAMPSON, ADAMS, BONACIC, BRESLIN, DIAZ, DILAN, FOLEY, HUNTLEY, MONSERRATE, MONTGOMERY, ONORATO, OPPENHEIMER, PARKER, PERKINS, SERRANO, SQUADRON, STEWART-COUSINS, THOMPSON AND VALESKY

Try convincing these, especially anyone who represents you:
Addabbo, Jr., Aubertine, Duane, Espada, Jr., Owen H. Johnson, Klein, Liz Krueger, Carl Kruger, , Savino, Malcolm A. Smith, Stachowski, Toby Ann Stavisky.

Updates on the Campaign's blog as to new sign-ons can be foundhere

- Jonathan E. Gradess, Campaign Manager,jgradess@newyorkjusticefund.org, (518) 465-0519



9. TRANSPORTATION: CAPITAL DISTRICT
NEST Prison Shuttle schedule: Mt McGregor, Washington, Grt Meadow CFs on Sat, Aug 1 ($35 adults, $25 children), Coxsackie, Greene, Hudson on BOTH Sat, Aug 8 & 15  ($20  adults, $15 children) leaving Oakwood Ave Presbyt. Church parking lot, Troy at 7 AM, then Albany Greyhound bus station at 7:15. Sullivan trip (Ulster, Eastern, Woodbourne, Sullivan) on Aug 22 leaving at 6:30 AM ($45 adults, $30 children). Reservations: Linda O'Malley 518- 273-5199.

Free door to door rides from the Capital District: The Justice Committee at the Unitarian Church has 3 volunteer drivers. If you have a loved one in prison and you have no other way of getting to see him or her, maybe we can help. Call us to find out: 518 253 7533




10. VOTING RIGHTS BILL WOULD RESTORE THE RIGHT TO VOTE IN FEDERAL ELECTIONS TO FORMERLY INCARCERATED PEOPLE. MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, LAW ENFORCEMENT, RELIGIOUS LEADERS, CIVIL RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS AND THE FORMERLY INCARCERATED JOIN FORCES TO RESTORE THE RIGHT TO VOTE

Senator Russ Feingold from Wisconsin and Representative John Conyers from Michigan introduced the Democracy Restoration Act of 2009, a bill that seeks to restore voting rights in federal elections to nearly 4 million formerly incarcerated American citizens who are out of prison, living in the community.

The importance of having a voice in the community was described in the recent Brennan Center publication My First Vote, a compilation of stories from Americans who voted for the first time in November 2008 after having lost, and then regained, their voting rights after a conviction. According to a mother in California who is featured in the collection, "voting . . . is about the inspiration and hope people feel when they have a voice they can use to bring real change." 

For more information please contact Jeanine Plant-Chirlin at 212-998-6289 or jeanine.plant-or Susan Lehman at 212-998-6318 or susan.lehman@nyu.edu.

[A copy of the ACLU/Brennan Center factsheet on the Democracy Restoration Act is available with request to PAN stating name of the document and issue of Building Bridges in which it was mentioned]



11. WRITING CONTEST: RESILIENCE MULTIMEDIA IS SPONSORING ITS SECOND WRITING CONTEST FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE OR WERE IN PRISON, AND THEIR LOVED ONES. THE BEST SUBMISSIONS WILL BE INCLUDED IN THE“THINK OUTSIDE THE CELL” BOOK SERIES, WHICH IS A REFLECTION OF PRISON ACTION NETWORK’S UPCOMING MEDIA CAMPAIGN TO PRESENT A FAIRER, MORE BALANCED IMAGE OF THE MEN, WOMEN AND FAMILIES IN THIS POPULATION. [Winners of the first contest are posted below.]
 
CONTEST DETAILS

STORY TOPICS: 
1. Reentering society after incarceration
2. Waiting for loved ones to return home from prison
3. Prison marriages and relationships

THREE WINNERS FOR EACH TOPIC: 1st: $300; 2nd: $150; 3rd: $75
Stories that do not win cash prizes will still be eligible for inclusion in the series. Everyone whose work is published will receive a free copy of the book in which their story appears. Publication is tentatively set for early 2010.
 
GUIDELINES: 
Stories may be up to 3,000 words, must be original and must be about events or situations that actually happened.
You may submit stories on more than one topic.
Stories should be typewritten or neatly handwritten.
Each page must include page number, name, contact information, story title.
Stories may be edited for clarity, punctuation, spelling, grammar. Resilience retains the rights to the stories to ensure the widest possible publicity and distribution.
Stories will not be returned.

ENTRIES MUST BE POSTMARKED BY OCT. 1, 2009. WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED ON DEC. 1, 2009.
 
Email your story, indicating the topic, to: Resilience Multimedia
OR mail to: Resilience Multimedia, 511 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 525, New York, NY 10011

QUESTIONS? Email resiliencemultimedia@verizon.net, call 877-267-2303 or write to the above address.
 
2008 WINNERS  (Note: The relatively high number of California winners may reflect that state’s ranking as the nation’s largest prison system.)
 
Reentering society after incarceration: 1st Place: Tion Terrell, Pound, VA. 2nd Place: Esther Morales Guzman, San Diego, CA . 3rd Place: Delores Mariano, Anaheim, CA
 
Waiting for loved ones to return home from prison: 1st Place: Lawrence J. Schulenberg, Council Bluffs, IA. 2nd Place: Kimberly Milberg, Roxbury, MA. 3rd Place: Zee Mink-Fuller, Burleson, TX
 
Prison marriages and relationships: 1st Place: Tanea Lunsford, San Francisco, CA. 2nd Place:  Joel Williams, Ione, CA. 3rd Place:(tie) Daniel Skalla, Rockwell City, IA and  Lise Porter, San Diego, 
 
[Resilience Multimedia is the publisher of “Think Outside the Cell: An Entrepreneur’s Guide for the Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated”]


Building Bridges is the monthly newletter of the Prison Action Network.
For information on joining, please call 518 253 7533, or send us an email.

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