Building Bridges

The monthly newsletter of the Prison Action Network

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Monday, February 01, 2010

FEBRUARY 2010

We publish latebreaking news and announcements here. Scroll down a bit to read the newsletter in it's entirety.

POSTED 2/11 - Sent by Peter Wagner
CENSUS BUREAU AGREES TO PRODUCE A NEW DATA PRODUCT TO CORRECT PRISON-BASED GERRYMANDERING

New York, NY— This week, the Census Bureau has agreed to produce a new data product that will assist state and local governments in avoiding prison-based gerrymandering, whereby districts that contain prisons are given extra representation in the legislature. The move was commended by a national network of advocates working to reform state redistricting practices, including the Prison Policy Initiative, Demos, the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF), and The National Coalition.

Under most state constitutions and election law statutes, a prison cell is not a residence, but existing Census Bureau practices count incarcerated people as residents of the prison location. In the past, states and counties that wished to correct this overrepresentation of districts with prisons have received little support from the Census Bureau, as the Bureau has traditionally published the prison populations at the census block level long after redistricting is underway or completed.

To read entire article and a great letter to the Albany Times Union by Glenn Martin: click here



POSTED 2/10 - Sent by the filmmaker, Melis Birder:

A wonderful announcement of upcoming screenings of The Visitors, a documentary featuring some of our readers!
click here to read it



Dear Reader,

Two things stand out as beacons of hope in our struggle for justice in the coming year. I hope you’ll support these projects in whatever way you can. The first is a revised Exec Law §259-i proposed by the Coalition for Fair Criminal Justice Policies, and the second is the March 27 NYS Prisoner Justice Conference.

Please become familiar with the proposed legislation [see article 2]. Each month we’ll look at it from a different perspective. At some point we’ll all need to get involved in educating and encouraging our state legislators to support and vote for passage of the bill, so it’s time to make sure we know who our representatives are and the location of their local offices. When we have a sponsor for the bill, it will then be given a number and some credibility beyond our own belief in it. Stay tuned to Building Bridges for updates.

The March 27 Prisoner Justice Conference is a vehicle for all advocates and service providers in NYS, from Buffalo to Albany, Syracuse to Elmira, Binghamton to NYC and all places in between to come together, meet one another, discover who is doing what, where they’re doing it, and their strategies. The unique, and quite amazing, way this conference is being planned is that the people who are interested in attending are invited to participate in the ongoing conversations, by conference call and regional meetings, to plan the agenda. The result of this planning process is that the conference will be designed by and for the people who attend it! Already the process has brought many of us together with groups we’d never heard of. We can’t help but strengthen our movement by these connections with people from other regions. At the end of the day, we hope to have created a network of support for our common struggle for policies and practices that result in more justice for us all. Want to get involved? See article 7.

Be well, maintain hope, and share the news!


Articles:

1. Activities for advocates, statewide
2. CFFCJP reveals proposal for 259-i revision
3. ICARE on Black History Month
4. Legislation Watch
5. Medical Parole releases
6. NJ's progressive criminal justice legislation
7. NYS Prisoner Justice Conference
8. Parole News
9. Prison Media: radio, internet, movies
10. Prisoners of the Census - NYS coalition formed
11. Transportation to Prison
12. Women In Prison Project reports on Lobby Day

[For copies of any document, article or legislation referred to in any of the above articles, please email us with a request clearly stating name of the document and in which issue of Building Bridges it was mentioned.]


1. WHAT CAN YOU DO? HERE’S A LIST OF ACTIVITIES

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2:00 P.M. (E.T.) NATIONAL REENTRY RESOURCE CENTER SECOND CHANCE ACT GRANT WEBINAR: GUIDANCE FOR NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS APPLYING FOR MENTORING GRANTS
The National Reentry Resource Center will conduct a free webinar to help applicants respond to the Second Chance Act Mentoring Grants to Nonprofit Organizations FY 2010 Competitive Grant Solicitation, which was released on January 19, 2010, by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), U.S. Department of Justice. Le'Ann Duran, director of the resource center, will host the webinar, which will feature Dr. Gary Dennis, BJA senior policy advisor for corrections, who will explain the solicitation and application process and answer questions from participants. (The grant application deadline is March 18, 2010.)

To register for the webinar, supported by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance,
please click here.

The resource center is continually updating its website with materials relevant to the reentry field. To learn more about the resource center, including how to upload content to the site,
please click here.

The National Reentry Resource Center, established by the Second Chance Act (Public Law 110-199) and administered by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice, provides education, training, and technical assistance to states, tribes, territories, local governments, service providers, non-profit organizations, and corrections institutions working on prisoner reentry. The resource center is a project of the Council of State Governments Justice Center.


BUFFALO:
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 6:30-8:30PM PRISONERS ARE PEOPLE TOO
The topic for the evening will be “Family Reunification” and our guest speaker is yet to be confirmed.

“Family Reunification” is a topic that we have visited before but it is important that we take another look, making us more aware of an issue which affects all of us in community. Strong families build strong communities. Successful reentry and successful reintegration, enhance the quality of life for all of us. As significant numbers of formerly incarcerated people often return to those communities least able to provide reentry support, these individuals and their families face disenfranchisement, legal barriers to employment, matters of child custody, homelessness, etc.. It is important for us to recognize that all of these elements interfere with repairing relationships. This meeting will examine those things which impede and improve successful “family reunification” after incarceration. 

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.

Location: Pratt-Willert Community Center, 422 Pratt Street in Buffalo.


CAPITAL DISTRICT:
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 7-8:30 PM PRISON FAMILIES OF NEW YORK, INC.
MONTHLY SPEAKER SERIES
The Supervising Corrections Counselor, NYS Department of Correctional Services’ Office of Ministerial and Family Services
For information and/or confidential assistance: 518-453-6659, alison.coleman@rcda.org
Location: The Womens Building, 373 Central Avenue, Albany


SAVE THE DATE! SATURDAY MARCH 27, 2010, NEW YORK STATE PRISONER JUSTICE CONFERENCE: “CONNECTING REGIONS, ISSUES, AND STRATEGIES” [see article # 7]
Join over 40 other NYS advocacy organizations already participating in the planning by contacting us at: New York State Prisoner Justice Conference, 33 Central Avenue, Albany, NY 12210, 518-434-4037, nysprisonerjustice@gmail.com.


ROOTS "Re-Entry Resources Orientations" for Men and Women
Second and Last Thursdays from 6-8 at Christ United Methodist, 35 State Street, at 4th Avenue, Troy, NY 12180.
3rd Thursdays from 6-8 at Trinity Institution, 15 Trinity Place, Albany NY 12202
Call ROOTS at 518 434 1026 for more details.


LONG ISLAND:
WEDNESDAYS, 7:00-10:00PM HERSTORY WRITERS WORKSHOP offers workshops for all formerly incarcerated women who are interested in attending.
Location: Herstory Headquarters in Centereach, Central Long Island
Facilitator: Erika Duncan

THURSDAYS, 6:00-8:00PM SOUTHAMPTON “HIDDEN COMMUNITIES” –
Location: Southampton Cultural Center Facilitator: Linda Coleman

THREE SATURDAYS, 2:00 – 4:00 PM EACH MONTH PATCHOGUE BILINGUAL “COMMUNITYHEALING”
Location: Patchogue-Medford Library
UPCOMING SATURDAYS in 2010:  1/30, 2/13, 2/20, 2/27, 3/13, 3/20, 3/27, 4/10, 4/24
Facilitator: Silvia Heredia

SATURDAYS, 10 - 3:30 PM DAY-LONG RETREATS: IN SAG HARBOR AND CENTEREACH for those who want to fast-forward or undo blocks, with established projects and those who want to be jump-started into new writing. Facilitator: Erika Duncan

TALLERES DE HERSTORY EN ESPAÑOL / WORKSHOPS IN SPANISH 

For more information on all the above please contact the Herstory office. PH. 631-615-7395, email contactus@herstorywriters.org, Herstory Writers Workshop, 2539 Middle Country Rd, FL 2, Centereach, NY  11720


MANHATTAN
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 2ND, 6:30PM THE COLUMBIA HEALTH LAW ASSOCIATION ALONG WITH THE DRUG POLICY ALLIANCE
You are welcome to attend a talk featuring Dr. Gabor Mate and Dr. Ethan Nadelmann about drug policy reform and addiction-related public health issues.
Location: Columbia Law School 435 West 116 St., New York, NY


WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 1 - 3PM NY REENTRY ROUNDTABLE FEATURES WORTH
Topic: Formerly Incarcerated Women Taking on Advocacy
Speaker: Tina Reynolds, co-founder and Chair of Women On the Rise Telling HerStory (WORTH)
Location: the Community Service Society of NY (CSS)
105 East 22nd St. (at Park Ave South) #6 or W/R trains to 23rd St stop.

Please RSVP to grivera@cssny.org or call Gabriel Torres-Rivera at 212 614 5306


FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 9:00 – 10:30 AM OCCASIONAL SERIES ON REENTRY RESEARCH
Exploring the Factors Affecting the Adoption and Implementation of Treatment Delivery Systems in the Criminal Justice System
Faye Taxman, University Professor, Administration of Justice Department;
Director, Research Program in Evidence-based Corrections and Treatment at George Mason University
Discussants will include: Vincent N. Schiraldi, Commissioner, New York City Department of Probation and Michael P. Jacobson, President & Director, Vera Institute of Justice
Location: John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 899 Tenth Avenue (btw 58th and 59th Streets), Room 630.
RSVP to Amelia Thompson 212.484.1399; amthompson@jjay.cuny.edu


FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 10 - 12 NOON COALITION FOR WOMEN PRISONERS MEETING:
Topic: Mental Health & Incarceration
For details, please contact Serena Alfieri, Women in Prison Project, 2090 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. Suite 200, New York, NY  10027, 212-254-5700 ext. 311, www.correctionalassociation.org 


THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 25, AT 4PM; AND FRIDAY, FEB 26, AT 8PM DOCUMENTARY FORTNIGHT SERIES AT MOMA -MUSEUM OF MODERN ART NEW YORK
THE VISITORS: a documentary by filmmaker Melis Birder follows families who are traveling by bus from NYC to the Clinton hub prisons where their loved ones are incarcerated. The Visitors documentary was featured at two Family Empowerment Days prior to completion. Since it has been completed it has shown at film festivals in North Carolina and in Turkey, as well as at NYS prisons.


WEDNESDAY, MARCH 3RD, FROM 3:30-6:30 PM THE WOMEN IN PRISON PROJECT
ReConnect Leadership and Training Program
Beginning class of 12-week course for women who are transitioning home from prison, jail or an alternative to incarceration and would like to become strong advocates to change the criminal justice system. Continues every week at the same time, for 12 weeks. For more information please contact Andrea Williams, ReConnect Program Director at: awilliams@correctionalassociation.org or 212-254-5700 x.311. To register, please fill out an application as soon as possible.


NEW YORK STATE PRISONS AND ON TV
Saturday, February 13, at Woodbourne and Eastern Correctional Facilities
Sunday, February 14, at Fishkill C.F.
Sunday, February 14, at 8pm on TV's Documentary Channel during their Black History Month Series.
THE VISITORS, A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT PRISON FAMILIES TRAVELING UPSTATE TO VISIT THEIR LOVED ONES IN PRISON, PRODUCED BY FILMMAKER MELIS BIRDER




2. COALITION FOR FAIR CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICIES PROPOSES CHANGES IN EXECUTIVE LAW §259-I. IN 2006, PENAL LAW §1.05 ADDED THE PROMOTION OF SUCCESSFUL AND PRODUCTIVE REHABILITATION AND REENTRY INTO SOCIETY AS ONE OF THE 5 GOALS OF A SENTENCE. THE COURT SETS THE LENGTH OF INCARCERATION, DOCS PROVIDES THE TOOLS, AND THE PAROLE BOARD DETERMINES WHETHER THE PAROLE APPLICANT HAS BECOME REHABILITATED AND HAS SUFFICIENT SUPPORT FOR A SUCCESSFUL REENTRY.
[See last month’s article # 5 for Larry White’s detailed justification of the changes]


Proposed Changes to Executive Law § 259-i:
Executive Law § 259-i. describes the way the State Board of Parole must operate.

Section 1 has been removed because it established how to set minimum periods of imprisonment. That responsibility was returned to the Courts in the 1980's, so the Board of Parole no longer has a punitive responsibility. The Parole Board now is responsible for determining a person's readiness to remain at liberty without violating the law.

Parole hearings must take place with all parties in the same room, and it must be video and sound recorded. Copies of the recording must be made available to the Division of Parole and the parole applicant or someone representing the parole applicant. No one else will have access.

At least one month before the hearing, the applicant must be allowed to see all documents about him/her that will be supplied to the Parole Board. No documents shall be considered confidential, including mental health records (unless they can reasonably be expected to cause substantial and identifiable harm to the parole applicant or others, in which case the parole applicant would be told that such documents exist in his/her file, but won't be allowed to see them.).

If the Parole Board denies release, they will be required to state in detail the reasons for the denial, and the specific actions, programs or accomplishments needed in order to qualify for parole release at their next hearing, and provide this information to the parole applicant within two weeks of the hearing. Within 90 days the Dept. of Corrections must provide access to the means for achieving the requirements specified by the Parole Board.

The parole applicant will have a rehearing before the Parole Board upon completion of the specific requirements, or in 24 months, whichever comes first.

At the rehearing, if the Parole Board determines that the requirements have been successfully completed, release shall be granted. 

If the parole applicant hasn't completed the specific requirements within twenty-four months the Board will identify the deficiencies and list the remedies to be taken by the applicant, and the process will be repeated.

The parole board shall consider good conduct and efficient performance of duties while confined, and preparedness for reentry and reintegration into society, in making their decision whether the person will be able to live and remain at liberty without violating the law.

In making their determinations the following things must be considered by the Parole Board:

1. the applicant's institutional record, including program goals and accomplishments as stated in facility performance reports
2. academic achievements
3. vocational education
4. training or work assignments
5. therapy
6. interpersonal relationships with staff and other sentenced persons
7. other indications of pro-social activity, change and transformation. 
8. if it's a reappearance, the progress made towards the completion of the specific requirements previously set forth by the Parole Board
9. participation in a temporary release program
10. release plans, including community resources, employment, education and training and support that will be available
11. a deportation order

Concerning victim impact statements, the Parole Board may only consider statements about behavior which took place after sentencing and in which the applicant [or his/her representative] threatened or intimidated the victim.

[The above was a summary of the changes, not the actual marked-up bill, which is available upon request.]



3. ICARE COMMUNITY EDUCATOR JAFAR ABBAS WRITES ABOUT BLACK HISTORY MONTH

Each year we, with honor, reach out to those magnificent personalities we call heroes, thanking them for living and suffering, for fighting and struggling, for surviving and establishing themselves in such a way that we cannot be anything but proud. In America, February is the time of year where recognition is given to the many wonderful contributions made by descendants of Africa.

Started as Negro History Week in 1926 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson (an historian, author and Harvard graduate) Negro History Week quickly took on a life of its own. In 1976 it was redefined as Black History Month partly due to the Black Power movement of the 60’s and 70’s, which sought to use language that better expressed the African-American experience, and extended the time given to it.

Black History Month has in its short existence worked its way into the social fabric of America, providing African-Americans the opportunity to tell the world our history, a history that began long before the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade and will live on long after the last plantation has vanished.

I received my first real Black history lesson from Alex Haley's Roots. In fact many of the people I grew up with in the 70’s received their first real history lesson and probably much of what they knew about the history of Blacks in America from Alex Haley's Roots. Roots told an extremely powerful story of a young African man being captured, taken to America and sold into slavery.

I was fourteen when I saw Roots and it filled me with emotions that were hard to understand and even harder to get past. The two strongest for me were anger and emptiness. Prior to seeing Roots I had not taken notice of the different treatment of Blacks, but after Roots I began noticing everything and was not only angry at the abuse Blacks underwent in the past, but also about the different treatment I and those around me were receiving. My friends and I found a way to express our anger; we started a gang that would take revenge for years of slavery and we called that gang Roots. School was the battle ground. Eventually, one by one, we were kicked out of school quickly after turning sixteen.

Even though many years have passed since then, the emptiness is still there. Alex Haley filled his emptiness by tracing his roots and being able to say, “I am a descendant of a great Mandinka warrior named Kuta Kinte.” Those of us who have not found their roots are still wandering, looking for our historic connection to home and people. That is the beauty of Black History Month, it provides us the opportunity to celebrate the greatness of others as we search for and strive to bring out the greatness in ourselves.



4. LEGISLATION WATCH: STATUS OF CHILDBIRTH WITHOUT SHACKLES, SAFEGUARDS FOR CHILDREN OF INCARCERATED PARENTS, RIGHT TO A COPY OF PRE-SENTENCE REPORTS, CENSUS COUNTING OF PEOPLE IN PRISON

Passed: S1290-A  Unshackling of incarcerated pregnant women during childbirth.
MONTGOMERY   Same as A 3373-A  Perry (MS) 
Amends S611, Cor L
Provides for the care and custody of pregnant female inmates before, during and after delivery; prohibits the use of restraints of any kind from being used during the transport of such female prisoner to a hospital for the purpose of giving birth, unless such prisoner is a substantial flight risk whereupon handcuffs may be used; prohibits the use of any restraints during labor; requires the presence of corrections personnel during such prisoner's transport to and from the hospital and during her stay at such hospital.

Active in 2010:
A.5462-A/S.2233-A aims to enhance permanency for children in foster care by granting foster care agencies the discretion to delay, if necessary, filing papers to terminate parental rights when a parent is incarcerated or when the parent’s past incarceration is a significant factor in why the child remains in foster care.
History: 01/26/10 passed assembly 01/26/10 delivered to senate 01/26/10 referred to finance

S4365-A: Right to a copy of pre-sentence reports
Sponsor: HASSELL-THOMPSON   Same as A 3492-A  Aubry (MS) 
Grants inmates and parolees, upon written request, the right to a copy of any pre-sentence reports prepared in connection with the sentence imposed upon such inmate or parolee.
History: Committed to Committee on Crime Victims, Crime and Correction -- reported favorably from said committee and committed to the Committee on Finance -- which discharged, bill was amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee.

S1633: Amends the election law, in relation to the residential classification of certain incarcerated persons
Sponsor: SCHNEIDERMAN Same as A5946 Aubrey (MS)       
This legislation would direct the State Board of Elections to adjust population counts to reflect the residence of incarcerated persons as their last residence prior to incarceration. All such information provided by the Board of Elections must be utilized by the "Task Force" in the drawing of any district boundaries.
History: 02/03/09 Referred to Elections 01/06/10 referred to Elections



5. MEDICAL PAROLE RELEASES - WHILE THE NEW STATE GUIDELINES LED TO A SURGE IN APPLICATIONS FOR MEDICAL PAROLE - 202 INMATES LAST YEAR, COMPARED WITH 66 IN 2008 - THEY HAVE HARDLY CHANGED THE OUTCOME.

EXCERPTED FROM “Law Has Little Effect on Early Release for Inmates” By CARA BUCKLEY
New York Times January 30, 2010 [Request a copy]

COXSACKIE, N.Y. - The law, passed with the state budget last April, expanded the eligibility list to add those convicted of violent crimes including second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter and sex offenses, so long as the ailing inmates have served half of their time.

...But despite fanfare within the corrections industry about the humanitarian and financial benefits of compassionate release the policy shift has had minimal effect. Experts attribute this to the fear that no matter how sick, freed inmates might commit further crimes, as well as to the difficulty of placing dying criminals in nursing homes. "The problem is, when we start trying to put people out, there are others in the community who are sure we're trying to make more crime in the community," said Dr. Lester Wright, chief medical officer for the New York State Department of Correctional Services. "We're also competing for beds. Some people think my patients aren't as valuable as other people in society." New York estimates the cost of caring for a gravely ill inmate at $150,809 a year.

...But while the new state guidelines led to a surge in applications for medical parole - 202 inmates last year, compared with 66 in 2008 - they have hardly changed the outcome. [One man who will soon be appearing before the board, if released would be,] in fact, the first person freed under the new guidelines (the seven inmates released last year were eligible under the old rules).

...Since New York adopted medical parole in 1992, at the height of the AIDS crisis, 364 people have been released.

...Advocates for prisoners argue that fear of recidivism is unreasonable, especially for convicts close to death. Corrections officials said during the 18 years the program in New York has been in effect, three medically paroled inmates have ended up back in prison, none for violent crimes. "Politicians and high-level officials and bureaucrats don't want to be accused of being soft on crime, even if the prisoners are terminally ill and there's no possible risk to public safety," said Robert Gangi, executive director of the Correctional Association of New York, a prison advocacy group.

...Since 2005, at least 16 New York inmates have died while waiting for the parole board to decide their fate.



6. NEW JERSEY PASSES LEGISLATION TO STOP THE REVOLVING DOOR OF RECIDIVISM, STRENGTHEN FAMILIES AND CUT COSTS TO TAXPAYERS.

January 11, 2010
With broad bipartisan support legislation passed that would prepare incarcerated individuals for work and remove barriers to work after they are released from prison.  The bills have been sent to the Gov for his signature into law.

Highlights of the bill provisions include:

Strengthening Women and Families Act (A4197/S1347)
• Lifts the ban on food stamps and TANF benefits for individuals with felony drug convictions who have dependent children, which will leverage federal funding, saving state dollars, to support families as well as provide federal dollars to support treatment to keep addicts off drugs, away from crime, and from returning to prison.
• Establishes a commission to strengthen bonds between incarcerated parents and their children.
• Encourages incarcerated individuals to be placed in facilities as close as possible to family.

Education and Rehabilitation Act (A4202/S11)
• Requires the New Jersey Department of Corrections (NJDOC) to ensure that incarcerated individuals attain the 12th-grade education proficiency level.
• Reviews vocational programs in order to meet the demand for job skills and standards.
• Places all incarcerated individuals with less than two years before release, in community corrections.

Reduction of Recidivism Act (A4201/S502)
• Provides individuals leaving prison with written notification of fines, outstanding warrants, voting rights, and expungement options; a government-issued ID card; birth certificate; a list of prison programs participated in; medical records; Social Security card; medication; a one-day bus or rail pass; and a rap sheet.
• Eliminates the post-release Medicaid enrollment gap.
• Requires the NJDOC to report to the Governor and Legislature on the results of recidivism-reducing measures. [New York legislators take note! ..BB]



7. THE NEW YORK STATE PRISONER JUSTICE CONFERENCE: CONNECTING REGIONS, ISSUES, AND STRATEGIES, ALBANY, NY - MARCH 27, 2010
To Get Involved:
All individuals and organizations active in working for prisoner justice in New York State are invited to join the planning process, the coalition, and the conference. To sign on and receive information and updates, send an e-mail message with a brief description of your involvement in prisoner justice work to nysprisonerjustice@gmail.com.

Then join the planning process:
Planning Meetings in Albany:
Every other Sunday from 3:30 to 5:30 at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Avenue, Albany
Call to learn Feb’s schedule or visit the website: www.nysprisonerjustice.org
Call-in participants welcome at the planning meetings. Email us for the number.

Statewide Planning Conference Calls:
Every other week, schedule to be announced.
Next call Tuesday, February 2nd at 9:00 p.m. Email us for the number.

TO REGISTER (SPACE IS LIMITED) visit our Website: www.nysprisonerjustice.org.



8. PAROLE NEWS: JARED BROWN APPOINTED TO BOARD, VANESSA CLARKE LEAVES; PATERSON WANTS TO ELIMINATE 6 BOARD MEMBERS; PAROLE HANDBOOK ON PAROLE INTERVIEWS AND INMATE STATUS REPORT; PAROLE STATISTICS.

JARED BROWN APPOINTED NEW YORK STATE PAROLE BOARD COMMISSIONER
New York State Board of Parole chairwoman and CEO Andrea W. Evans announced on Jan.29 that Jared Brown had been appointed as a member of the New York State Parole Board. The new appointment, and the recent departure of Vanessa Clarke will leave three seats vacant on the 19-seat Parole Board. [see names below]

Governor David A. Paterson nominated Brown on June 15, 2009. He was confirmed by the State Senate on January 26, 2010. The term for Commissioner Brown expires on June 18, 2012.

A practicing attorney since 1976, Brown became a partner in Brown and Guilbert, a New York City Law Firm in 1984. Prior to practicing law, Brown worked as a narcotics parole officer with the New York State Addiction Control Commission and at the New York City Department of Social Services.


PATERSON SEEKS TO ELIMINATE 6 PAROLE BOARD SEATS
From a report by Joseph Spector, Gannett News Service's Albany Bureau Chief, on January 31, 2010, we also learned that:
The cost savings would be more than $600,000. It will not affect the board's effectiveness since the number of hearings the members attended has decreased from 36,046 in 1995 to 24,662 in 2008.
Despite the decreased workload, their salaries ($101,600 + benefits) haven't changed.
In addition Paterson's proposal calls for lowering the length of the terms from six years to five.

Current board members:
Name.........................Appointed By....Date ...........Term Expires
Evans, Andrea W..........Gov Paterson.....6/8/09........2/6/13
Smith, Walter Wm., Jr.....Gov. Pataki.....12/17/96.....7/6/11
Loomis, Debra J.............Gov Pataki.......3/3000.......6/18/10
Grant, Thomas P............Gov Pataki.......5/3/04.......6/18/10
Ferguson, James...........Gov Pataki........4/12/05.....7/6/11
Hernandez, Christina......Gov Pataki......6/14/06.....6/2/11
Ludlow , G. Kevin...........Gov Pataki.......6/21/06.....6/18/11
Greenan III, Gerald J.......Gov Pataki.......6/21/06.....6/18/12
Elovich, Lisa Beth...........Gov Pataki......12/13/06....12/31/13
Lemons, Henry...............Gov Spitzer.....5/1/07.........6/18/08
Thompson, Sally.............Gov Spitzer....10/22/07......8/31/13
Ross, Mary.....................Gov Paterson...6/19/08.....8/31/13
Crangle, Joseph..............Gov Paterson...6/19/08.......6/16/14
Brown, Jared..................Gov Paterson....1/26/10.....6/18/12


HOW CAN I PREPARE FOR A PAROLE BOARD INTERVIEW?
In order to prepare for a Parole Board interview, you should:
• Begin to collect any documentation and/or letters that support your release;
• Know and understand the purposes and procedures of Parole Board interviews. In advance of your Parole Board appearance, you will be interviewed by a facility Parole Officer who will prepare an inmate status report. This interview, in conjunction with pre-parole classes or group sessions, will provide a basic understanding of Parole Board interviews. If you have any questions concerning information which will be presented in the status report, you should discuss this with the Parole Officer during your interview;
• Be prepared to discuss all aspects of your present offense, as well as your criminal record;
• Be prepared to discuss your institutional record, including disciplinary infractions, program involvement, and overall adjustment to prison;
• Discuss your immediate plans and future goals for upon release;
• Think about what questions you may have for the Parole Board;
• Consider statements you would like to make concerning any of the above issues.


DECEMBER 2009 PAROLE BOARD RELEASES – A1 VIOLENT FELONS WHO'VE SERVED 15 YEARS OR MORE – unofficial research from parole database

Total Interviews......... # Released...... # Denied....... Rate of Release
12 initials.................... ....3................ .....9................ 25%
83 reappearances........ ....23............... .....60.............. 28%
95 total........................ ...26............... .....69.............. 27%

Initial Releases
Facility...................... Sentence......... Offense
Collins.........................25-Life........... Murder 2
Fishkill....................... 25-Life........... Murder 2
Shawangunk.............. 25-Life........... Murder 2

Reappearances
Facility........... Sentence........ Offense ........ # of Board
Altona ........... 20-Life ..............Murder 2 4th
Arthurkill...... 25-Life ..............Murder 2 2nd
Bare Hill ........ 15-Life ............. Murder 2 3rd
Bare Hill......... 25-Life ..............M-pre74 9th
Coxsackie....... 15-Life ..............Murder 2 10th
Fishkill........... 20-Life ..............Murder 2 3rd
Greene JO ...... 5-Life ..............Murder 2 8th
Hudson.......... 20-Life ..............Murder 2 2nd or 3rd
Mid Orange.... 15-Life ..............Murder 2 7th
Mid Orange.... 15-Life ..............Murder 2 10th
Mid Orange.... 18-Life ..............Murder 2 5th
Mid Orange.... 25-Life ............. Murder 2 2nd
Mid Orange.... 25-Life ..............Murder 2 3rd
Mid Orange.... 25-Life ..............Murder 2 4th
Mid Orange.... 25-Life ..............Murder 2 4th
Orleans ......... 20-Life ..............M pre-74 11th
Otisville ........ 15-Life ........... Murder 2 8th
Otisville ........ 20-Life ........... Att Mur 1 3rd
Otisville ........ 20-Life .......... Murder 2 4th
Otisville ........ 20-Life ........... Murder 2 5th
Shawangunk . 20-Life ........... M-pre74 9th
Sullivan ........ 25-Life........... Kidnap 1 4th
Woodbourne . 20-Life ........... Murder 2 3rd


DECEMBER RELEASES FROM PRISON REPORTS. (Please note that the following statistics are not limited to people convicted of A1 Violent felonies - but they all are people with indeterminate sentences)
Only one December report was received by Building Bridges before the publication deadline. Hopefully we’ll have more for you in March.

WOODBOURNE
Dec - Lemon, Crangle, Loomis
Appearances:.. 24 (10 A1VO)
Releases:......... 4 (1 A1VO, 3rd board)



9. PRISON MEDIA - MOVING PICTURES: ALL THINGS HARLEM, THE VISITORS
RADIO: FANCY BROCCOLI, ON THE COUNT, SOUL SPECTRUM

PICTURES:
ALL THINGS HARLEM - www.allthingsharlem.com,   Joseph Jazz Hayden, CEO 1/20/10 - See coverage of the Mumia supporters rally in NYC in response to January 19th US Supreme court ruling granting appeal by prosecutors, which brings Mumia closer to execution. Hip Hop Artist Immortal Technique, a Baruch College professor, and Danny Meyers of the National Guild of Lawyers are shown in this clip.
Also listed in the archives [column on the right]: The Harlem African Burial Ground Task Force, NYC Men arrested for Candy possession, City closes 19 schools, Happy Birthday Apollo!, Buying Power of African Americans, Harlem weighs in on Obama, and many more of interest and importance.


THE VISITORS, produced by filmmaker Melis Birder
Sunday, February 14 at 8pm On TV's Documentary Channel during their Black History Month Series
Thursday February 25 at 4pm and Friday, February 26 at 8pm at the Documentary Fortnight Series at MOMA -Museum of Modern Art New York.

The Visitors documentary was featured at two Family Empowerment Days prior to completion. Now it has been completed and shown at film festivals in North Carolina and in Turkey, as well as at NYS prisons [see article 1, under New York State]. The Visitors follows families who are traveling by bus from NYC to the Clinton hub prisons where their loved ones are incarcerated.


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. - Criminal Justice & Prison Report, a radio program produced by formerly incarcerated people. Airs Saturdays 10:30am-noon. 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. Send an email.



10. PRISONERS OF THE CENSUS - THE REV. AL SHARPTON, SENATOR ERIC T. SCHNEIDERMAN AND ASSEMBLYMAN HAKEEM JEFFRIES JOIN FORCES WITH A STATEWIDE COALITION TO ANNOUNCE A NEW ORGANIZING CAMPAIGN PLAN TO END PRISON-BASED GERRYMANDERING IN NEW YORK STATE BEFORE THE 2010 CENSUS.

The coalition’s goal is to organize across the state to pass Senator Schneiderman’s bill [S1633, see article 4, p.6] that would require New York State to count incarcerated persons in their home communities--rather than in the districts where they are incarcerated--for purposes of drawing legislative district lines. If passed, it would be the first law in the nation to count prisoners in their home communities for districting purposes.

The new coalition was represented by Citizen Action of New York, The Public Policy and Education Fund, The Prison Policy Initiative, New York Civil Liberties Union, Demos, Common Cause, the Brennan Center for Justice, Fortune Society, Bronx Defenders, Praxis Project, Correctional Association of New York, Community Service Society, New York City AIDS Housing Network (NYCAHN), Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Center for Law & Social Justice, Nu Leadership Policy Group, Prison Families of New York and Exponents. The announcement was followed by a statewide organizing meeting that included more than 50 community-based organizations focused on passing this legislation.

"Our communities have suffered without fair and equal representation for long enough," said Cleo Oliver, Statewide Campaign Coordinator for Citizen Action of New York. "This new statewide coalition will work to restore democracy in New York."



11. TRANSPORTATION TO PRISONS: CAPITAL DISTRICT CONGREGATION OFFERS FREE DOOR TO DOOR CAR SERVICE WHEN VOLUNTEERS ARE AVAILABLE.

Free door to door rides from the Capital District: The Justice Committee at the Unitarian Church now has 6 volunteer drivers. If you have a loved one in prison and you have no other way of getting there, call us at 518 253 7533. Our drivers are ready to take you to prisons within 150-200 miles of Albany to visit your loved one, but you need to call well in advance to assure their availability.



12. WOMEN IN PRISON PROJECT OF THE CORRECTIONAL ASSOCIATION REPORTS THAT THEIR FIRST LOBBY DAY OF THE NEW YEAR ON JANUARY 19 WAS A TERRIFIC SUCCESS!  “WITH 11 TEAMS AND 36 LEGISLATIVE MEETINGS WE WERE ABLE TO ADVOCATE FOR THE ADOPTION AND SAFE FAMILIES ACT EXPANDED DISCRETION BILL (A5462-A/S.2233-A)” [See article #4, p. 5] 

“We were joined by so many of you who helped organize, attend and share your experiences on the day.  We thank all of you, especially the parents and children of incarcerated parents who attended (one traveling from Louisiana to join us).  We also thank all of the incarcerated women who wrote to their legislators about the importance of their relationships with their children.”

Senator Montgomery's Legislative Update , which you can view on YouTube, featured Incarcerated Mothers Co-Chair Tina Reynolds, her son Davian, and WIPP Director Tamar Kraft-Stolar. They each spoke about the importance of the ASFA Expanded Discretion Bill.  “We are so grateful to Senator Montgomery for sponsoring the day and Assemblymember Aubry for caring so deeply about this critical issue and for their leadership.” 

Looking forward to seeing you at the next Coalition meeting on February 19th “.[see article #1, under Manhattan].”
Serena Alfieri, Associate Director of Policy,
Women in Prison Project,
2090 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. Suite 200,
NYC, NY  10027
212-254-5700 x.311, salfieri@correctionalassociation.org

The Women in Prison Project of the Correctional Association of New York, is a statewide alliance of individuals and organizations dedicated to making the criminal justice system more responsive to the needs and rights of women and their families.


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