Building Bridges

The monthly newsletter of the Prison Action Network

Translate this page:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

SEPTEMBER 2011












WE POST LATE BREAKING NEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS HERE DURING THE MONTH. TO GO DIRECTLY TO THE SEPT ISSUE OF BUILDING BRIDGES, PLEASE SCROLL DOWN.



POSTED SEPT 20 - FROM NAACP
ONE LAST ATTEMPT TO SAVE TROY DAVIS

In moments of immense sadness, moments that shake the foundation of our faith in the justice system and mankind, adequate words are scarce.

Today, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles co-signed on the decision to execute Troy Davis.

Despite overwhelming evidence pointing to his innocence -- evidence that prompted former FBI Director William Sessions and more than a million others to write in support of clemency -- Troy's execution is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, September 21.

[His family has] asked us not to give up.

For the past two decades that Troy has been on death row, miracles have interceded at crucial moments. Can you help us make a miracle happen now?

Please stand with Troy and his family. Tell District Attorney Larry Chisolm that he has to intercede:

Ask-DA-Chisolm-To-Help

Chatham County District Attorney Larry Chisolm is the man who requested the death warrant against Troy Davis. He's the glue that holds the case together and, even after today's news, he remains in a unique position to petition the judge to withdraw the death warrant against Troy. It's a long shot, but it's Troy's best hope.

Please, our last hope is to change the heart of District Attorney Chisolm. Sign today, and we will make sure that every name is hand delivered to his office.

Please, take one last action and sign the petition today.






POSTED SEPT 10 BY PRISONERS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

Monday, September 26, 6:30-8:30PM
Pratt-Willert Community Center, 422 Pratt Street.


Who Are the Keepers?

by Karima Amin

A few years ago, Prisoners Are People Too took a look at the role of the correctional officers in our NYS correctional facilities. After so much talk about “the keepers” and “the kept,” during recent Attica 40 commemorative events, I thought it was time to revisit the role of the individuals who are most intimate with prisoners on a day-to-day basis.

The correctional officer has the job of maintaining security and prisoner accountability to prevent disturbances, assaults, and escapes. Correctional officers maintain order within the institution and enforce rules and regulations. To help ensure that prisoners are orderly and obey rules, correctional officers monitor their activities and supervise their work assignments. Sometimes, officers must search prisoners and their living quarters for contraband like weapons or drugs, settle disputes between prisoners, and enforce discipline. Correctional officers periodically inspect the facilities, checking cells and other areas of the institution for unsanitary conditions, contraband, fire hazards, and any evidence of infractions of rules. In addition, they routinely inspect locks, window bars, grilles, doors, and gates for signs of tampering. Finally, officers inspect mail and visitors for prohibited items.

Correctional officers report orally and in writing on prisoner conduct and on the quality and quantity of completed work.. Officers also report security breaches, disturbances, violations of rules, and any unusual occurrences. They usually keep a daily log or record of their activities. Correctional officers cannot show favoritism and must report any prisoner who violates the rules. If a crime is committed within their institution or if there is an escape, they help the responsible law enforcement authorities investigate or search for the escapee. In jail and prison facilities with direct supervision of cellblocks, officers work unarmed. They are equipped with communications devices so that they can summon help if necessary. These officers often work in a cellblock alone, or with another officer, among the 50 to 100 inmates who reside there. The officers enforce regulations primarily through their interpersonal communication skills and through the use of progressive sanctions, such as the removal of some privileges.

What I’ve described here seems harmless enough, yet I can cite scores of negative stories about “the keepers” and “the kept,” or “the keepers” and “the visitors.”

At the next meeting of Prisoners Are People Too, Rev. Patricia Bufford, a recently retired NYS Correctional Officer, will be our guest speaker. She is known in this community as an individual with a genuine interest in community enhancement. With 20 years experience as a CO, she will share her thoughts about corrections and more.

Come out and be a part of this conversation on Monday, September 26, 6:30-8:30pm at the Pratt-Willert Community Center, 422 Pratt Street. As always, these meeting are public and open to your questions and comments. (PRP2 programs are sponsored by The Circle of Supporters for Reformed Offenders and Friends of BaBa Eng. Email for: more info or call 716-834-8438.)





BUILDING BRIDGES
SEPTEMBER 15, 2011


Dear Reader,

Last month we published a letter to Governor Cuomo for people to sign as their first step in getting involved in the campaign to pass the SAFE Parole Act. The response has been encouraging. We’ve received one hundred and thirteen letters from all over the state, in prison and out, and some from people in other states. Please keep in mind that politicians are influenced, after their consciences, by two things: votes and money. So if you’re eligible to vote but haven’t registered, please do so and get your friends to join you. If you live in another state or if you are disenfranchised by your current incarceration or parole status we suggest you send the letter for signing to friends and relatives in NYS. The letter can be copied from the August 2011 edition of Building Bridges, found in the right column under previous posts. It’s the very last page.

We are encouraged by Columbia Law School professor Phillip Genty’s optimistic view of the Governor’s changes to the parole laws [see article 3], and we certainly hope Parole Commissioners are reading it and being influenced to see it as he does. Through Genty's eyes, the Governor’s changes accomplish much of what the SAFE Parole Act would. However we do not share Prof. Genty’s faith in the Risk and Needs Assessment that is used. Its questions measure the strengths and deficits of the person being interviewed. While this is useful in developing a Transitional Accountability Plan for use during incarceration and after release to parole supervision, how it will influence release decisions remains to be seen.

Please check out Parole News, linked here [see column to the right]. It links to Building Bridges and publishes our summary of each month’s articles. It also has a comprehensive list of links to many advocacy organizations as well as to a list of reports, articles and other resources, including legislation and key people in the parole world. It’s become a favorite website, and since the editor obviously reads Building Bridges, this is a message to say I’d like to make contact.

Please be well, keep the faith, share the news, and for everyone’s sake, get involved!



SUMMARIES OF ARTICLES:

1. Attica: NYC’s Attica Is Us event focused on the messages we can take from the 1971 Rebellion; Buffalo engaged in educating the public about the impact of incarceration on individuals and the community, and Mika’il DeVeaux used his memory of the day to write a piece reminding us of the continued politicizing of incarceration, and calls on us to fight back.

2. The Women in Prison Project looks forward to a “day when survivors who act to protect themselves and their children from an abuser’s violence are given support and protection instead of harsh punishment and incarceration—to a day when survivor-defendants are treated with the fairness and dignity they deserve.”

3. Columbia Law School Professor Philip Genty analyzes the potential impact of the policy shift contained in the Governor’s revision of Exec Law § 259-i and concludes that “this addition of an explicit requirement that the Parole Board adopt and be guided by procedures that require it to evaluate "rehabilitation" and "the likelihood of success…upon release" signals a critical reform and modernization of parole practices.”

4. Job Announcement from FACES NY, Inc. Job Title: Re-Entry Case Manager; Hours: 35 hrs/weekly; Salary Range: $30,000 - $35,000/yr Qualifications: BA degree in Social Work or a related human services field and/or 5 years minimum experience.

5. Legislative report dispels the rumor that the SAFE Parole Act has passed. A bill is not a law [please refer to the August issue of Building Bridges for the process]. The NYS Senate and Assembly both need to vote for it during a Legislative Session. The last Legislative Session ended in June 2011, and will not start again, barring an emergency, until January 2012.

6. The NYS Parole Reform Campaign offers video, audio, and literary opportunities to tell your story. We also need data entry and legislative look-up volunteers to help our supporters get the information they need.

7. Parole News: July Statistics for A1VO Parole Releases

8. Places to go: We’ve moved this column to the end; here are some of the highlights:

In ALBANY: watch a screening of Cointelpro with the filmmaker; meet and ask questions of Ed Fraley, dir of NYS Reentry Services, and Diance Buoni, of the Albany Cty Reentry Task Force.
In BUFFALO: attend one of Karima Amin’s inspiring Prisoners Are People Too meetings featuring films and discussion and/or join the vigil outside the Erie County Holding Center.
At LONG ISLAND’s Belmont Lake State Park, attend the annual picnic of Prisoner Families Anonymous.
In MANHATTAN watch a film and join a coalition to free the San Francisco-8, Think Outside the Cell for an entire day by listening to inspiring speeches and speakers, plus lots of networking - formerly incarcerated people are encouraged to attend, as the focus is on a new way of reentering society. You could also say no to prisons, yes to caring communities with the Campaign to end the New Jim Crow and/or help Milk Not Jails plan the next steps of their campaign which includes a brand of dairy products labeled “Milk Not Jails.”

[For copies of any document, article or legislation referred to, or condensed, in this issue, please send an email to PAN with a request clearly stating the number of the article and the date it appeared. -Ed.]



1. ATTICA: ON THIS 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF WHAT BECAME KNOWN AS THE ATTICA REBELLION, EVENTS WERE HELD THAT WERE GROUNDED IN DIFFERING PERSPECTIVES. MOST MAINSTREAM MEDIA PAINTED A PICTURE OF VIOLENCE INITIATED BY THE PRISONERS AGAINST GUARDS. TWO MAJOR ALTERNATIVE COMMEMORATIONS, ONE BASED IN NYC, THE OTHER IN BUFFALO AND AN OPEN LETTER FROM MIKA’IL DEVEAUX REFLECT A DIFFERENT STORY, ONE IN WHICH BOTH PRISONERS AND GUARDS WERE THE VICTIMS OF STATE VIOLENCE.

NYC: ATTICA IS ALL OF US SEPT 9 EVENT AT RIVERSIDE CHURCH:
Riverside was filled to overflowing, with close to 3,000 people present to see a painful clip of the horror that was Attica during the early days of Sept 1971 and hear some of the survivors tell their stories. Seven men who lived through the Attica Rebellion: Joseph Harris, Calvin “Hutch” Hutchinson, William Anthony Maynard, Melvin Muhammad, Che Nieves, Arlos Roche, and Al Hajji Sharif, described it from their perspectives and reminded us that we weren’t going to get the whole picture in the few hours of this meeting. The picture they were able to present was harrowing, yet inspiring in terms of the sacrifice and courage they portrayed.
Poet, musician and revolutionary political activist Amiri Baraka read his poem “Somebody Blew Up America”. [available on YouTube]

Six well known activists, with moderator Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! gave us their suggestions for how to take the message of Attica into the future: Asha Bandele, Dhoruba Bin Wahad, Soffiyah Elijah, Elizabeth Fink, Joseph “Jazz” Hayden and Cornel West. Professor West summed it up in a speech from which these lines are excerpted:
“... we live now in revolutionary times, but the counterrevolution is winning. The greedy oligarchs and plutocrats are winning. One out of four corporations don’t pay taxes, been gobbling up billions of dollars. And yet, 42 percent of America’s children live in poverty or near poverty. That is sick. It’s a moral obscenity.” “..when you bring together the Wall Street oligarchs and the corporate plutocrats, and they tell any person or any group, ‘If you speak the truth, we’ll shoot you down like a dog and dehumanize you the way we did to dehumanize the brothers in Attica,’ the only thing that will keep you going is you better have some love in your heart for the people. That’s the only thing that will keep you going...”, “enough love for the people in [your] heart to still tell the truth about poverty, about suffering, about struggle, and be able to look—not just to presidents, because by presidents you’re just talking about the placeholder of the oligarchs and the plutocrats—I don’t care what color they are—to tell that truth. And most people, they hold off on that. They say, "No, I got one life, one life. I saw what they did. I saw what they done." “We’re going to have a new wave of truth telling. We’re going to have a new wave of witness bearing. And we’re going to teach the younger generation that these brothers didn’t struggle in vain, just like John Brown and Nat Turner and Marcus Garvey and Martin King and Myles Horton and the others didn’t.


BUFFALO: ATTICA 40 EVENTS:
The University at Buffalo Law School sponsored a 3-day conference entitled “40 Years After the Attica Uprising: Looking Back, Moving Forward.” It began with a screening of Ghosts of Attica and included the following Attica 40 Community Events:

Commemorative Walk from Buffalo to Attica:
Chuck Culhane, active member of Prisoners Are People Too, Inc., Erie County Prisoners Rights Coalition, Western NY Peace Center, and the NYS Defenders Association, envisioned a commemorative rally and a trek from Buffalo to Attica State Prison, which manifested on Friday, September 9, when a small group gathered in the morning at the Sr. Karen Klimczak, SSJ, Peace Garden on Hickory Street. Some were there for the send-off. Some were drivers, who planned to serve as escorts and support. Others were committed walkers: Chuck, Russell Brown, Charley Bowman, Chris Barbera and Vicki Ross, who walked 16 miles to the Village of Marilla. On Saturday, September 10, the dedicated walkers were Chuck, Nate Buckley, and Chris Barbera, who walked from Marilla to Attica State Prison, another 16 miles. The support escorts were Karima Amin, who served for 2 days and Frank Haynes and Valerie Niederhoffer who served for one day each. Charley Bowman and Wayne Alt, from the WNY Peace Center, joined the group at the end for pictures and prayers. Kudos to Chuck Culhane who had the vision, and to Chris Barbera who walked the entire route.

Panel Discussion:
A second community event, sponsored by Prisoners Are People Too, Inc., featured a panel discussion, “Mass Incarceration: Its Impact On Community,” at Bethesda World Harvest International Church. Five ministers were invited to share their thoughts on the value and purpose of remembering the Attica Rebellion of 1971 and their thoughts about the impact of mass incarceration on families in our communities. Rev. Alberto Lanzot and Pastor James Giles were formerly incarcerated; Rev. Eugene Pierce and Rev. Jeff E. Carter were formerly employed as prison administrators. Br. Michael Oberst, once served as the executive director of Cephas Half-way House which came into being as a result of the 1971 Rebellion. Dr. Henry L. Taylor, Jr., Director of UB’s Urban Studies department, served as moderator. Karima Amin, Director of Prisoners Are People Too, was the facilitator. There were approximately 100 attendees.

Both events were informational as well as inspirational.


Open Letter from Mika'il DeVeaux, Exec Dir., Citizens Against Recidivism, Inc.:
Lest we forget Attica

Lest we forget, the business of the criminal justice system deals in lives. Today we should remember the events that ended on September 13, 1971, in Attica New York, when lives were lost and a strong message was sent about the value of the people who are incarcerated and the lives of those that work in prisons as well. Today's (September 13, 2011) New York Times reported that the then Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller told then President Richard M. Nixon, that "They did a fabulous job." "It really was a beautiful operation," when reporting on how the ordeal concluded. When asked about the hostages (guards) that were killed by gunfire, Governor Rockefeller replied "Well you know, this is one of those things, you can't have sharpshooters picking off the prisoners when the hostages are there with them, at a distance with tear gas, without maybe having a few accidents."

President Nixon was of the opinion that trouble in prison was caused byAfrican Americans. He had his views confirmed by Governor Rockefeller during a very brief exchange. "Tell me," Nixon asked, "are these primarily blacks that you're dealing with?" "Oh, yes," Rockefeller replied, "the whole thing was led by the blacks."

As we continue our efforts today, we need to be clear about the ideological battles waged around the issues. The prison expansion that began some four decades ago was fueled by attention given to the construction of a crime wave in the media and the raised voices and political rhetoric of conservative politicians. In fact, since the 1970s, crime rates had been stable and in decline. Moreover, neither crime nor policies to address it were high on the public agenda. Even so, today more than two million number among the incarcerated, five million others labor under parole or probation and some 65 million American are reminded that they have a felony conviction no matter how long after repaying their debt to society.

History clearly reveals the politicization of crime as part of conservative policies to reverse gains made by social activists in the 1960s. As a result of struggles during the civil rights era, overt racist arguments and remarks were no longer suitable for public discourse. As a result "war on crime" became the veiled racist messages to conservative supporter. "In notes taken at an Oval Office meeting shortly after Nixon's election, H.R. Haldeman, his chief of staff, wrote, "[the President] emphasized that you have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the Blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognizes this while not appearing to". On this point, Jean Hardisty observed that during the 1970s: “. . . a conservative backlash began to gain popularity. By the end of the 1970s, the New Right, a growing social and political movement whose central program was to attack liberal ideas and practices, had labeled the liberal model the "coddling" of criminals. The New Right directed its message - that the country appeared to be spinning out of control - to White men, conservative Christians, and White Southerners. "Middle Americans," feeling they were losing status and financial security in a time of social change, were encouraged by rightists to fear "chaos" in the streets and in private life. Subtle messages appealed to racial stereotypes by implying that the reforms of the 1960s and 1970s had strengthened the position of "undeserving" welfare recipients (usually stereotyped as people of color) and criminals at the expense of "good" White people. Soon moderate Democrats and even some liberals began to collaborate in the promotion of the backlash slogan, "tough on crime."

The "war on drugs" took a similar tone. Today's conservative policies of punishment with its use of political rhetoric has its roots in the historical reactions to street activism when African Americans and Hispanics from wrecked and shattered communities began to link with mainly white politically active students and those of privilege in opposition to war and other policies advanced by the status quo. Social problems identified in America were linked to these problem children. They were dubbed disrespectors of law and order. During this time, conservatives argued that what they "shared in common was drugs! Therefore drugs was America's problem! The solution was elegantly suited to the agenda of the political right: a "War On Drugs" (Cahill, 1999).

These political and ideological realities are Attica too. "From the very beginning, like all wars, the War on Drugs has been about politics and economics. And, like all wars, to protect "national security," civil liberties are suspended, atrocities are committed, and health, education, and welfare are dangerously depreciated (Cahill, 1999).  We must remember Attica. We must remember all the Atticas and continue to fight back, continue to fight for social justice for all. If we don't Angela Davis warned us "If they come for me in the morning, they will come for you in the night."



2. THE CORRECTIONAL ASSOCIATION HAS RELEASED THEIR WOMEN IN PRSON PROJECT'S REPORT, 'FROM PROTECTION TO PUNISHMENT: POST-CONVICTION BARRIERS TO JUSTICE FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SURVIVOR-DEFENDANTS IN NEW YORK STATE, COAUTHORED WITH THE AVON GLOBAL CENTER FOR WOMEN AND JUSTICE AT CORNELL LAW SCHOOL.

This report is part of their campaign to change the criminal justice system’s harsh and unjust response to domestic violence survivors who act to protect themselves from an abuser’s violence.  In her foreword, Justice Debra James, Supreme Court, Civil Branch, New York County Chair, New York Women in Prison Committee, National Association of Women Judges made the following comments:

“The statistics are heart-wrenching: an estimated 75% of women in New York’s prisons have suffered severe violence at the hands of an intimate partner during adulthood, and more than 9 out of 10 women convicted of killing an intimate partner in New York State were abused by an intimate partner in the past.” ...“As this report illustrates, [current harsh punishments] represent not only failures of policy and practice but also violations of survivor-defendants’ fundamental human rights. I am hopeful that this report will invigorate and inform the efforts of advocates, policymakers, justice system actors, and others to address the injustices identified. With continued dialogue, understanding, and innovation, and with action on the recommendations for reform contained in this report, our State may look forward to a day when survivors who act to protect themselves and their children from an abuser’s violence are given support and protection instead of harsh punishment and incarceration—to a day when survivor-defendants are treated with the fairness and dignity they deserve.”

For more information, contact Tamar Kraft-Stolar, Dir.
Women in Prison Project
212-254-5700, ext. 306. email Tamar
2090 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd., Ste 200



3. CHANGES TO PAROLE LAWS SIGNAL POTENTIALLY SWEEPING POLICY SHIFT, WRITES PHILIP M. GENTY IN THE PAGES OF THE SEPT 01, 2011 NEW YORK LAW JOURNAL.

.....In his article [condensed here] Prof. Genty holds that the most significant reform in Gov. Cuomo’s revision was the removal of Section 1. In 1978, the Parole Board announced its guidelines for setting the minimum sentence, which Section 1 gave them authority over. The only two factors specified in these guidelines were the seriousness of the offense and the person's prior criminal history. The guidelines were presented as regulations, which set out a grid for calculating the minimum period of imprisonment, i.e., the period of time a person in prison would be required to serve before becoming eligible for parole release:
(3) To derive the guideline time range, the appropriate cell is located on the parole decision making grid where the offense severity and prior criminal history scores intersect. The offense severity score is located on the vertical axis, the prior criminal history score on the horizontal axis. The cell on the guideline grid where the two scores intersect indicates the suggested time to be served, based on these two major factors.

.....No other release guidelines have ever been set forth by the board. In 1980, the Legislature removed the responsibility for setting minimum sentences from the Parole Board and transferred it to the courts. Senator Christopher Mega's memorandum in support of this change described the Parole Board's power to set sentences as "an irrational waste of taxpayer money as well as of criminal justice resources" and observed that "there is nothing on which the Board's decision can be based which was not before the court at the time sentence was imposed…; and most of these factors consist of matters the court is better able to ascertain and evaluate (e.g., seriousness of the offense, mitigating and aggravating factors, etc.). However, despite the Parole Board's loss of the responsibility for setting minimum sentences, Section 259-i(1) of the Executive Law—"Establishment of the Minimum Periods of Imprisonment"—stayed on the books, and the guidelines remained unchanged.

.....The 2011 amendments require the board to adopt procedures that incorporate a growing body of social science research about assessing post-release needs and recidivism risks. These procedures will be designed to measure rehabilitation and facilitate better informed parole release decisions. The amended Section 259-c states that the Parole Board shall:
establish written procedures for its use in making parole decisions as required by law. Such written procedures shall incorporate risk and needs principles to measure the rehabilitation of persons appearing before the board, the likelihood of success of such persons upon release, and assist members of the state board of parole in determining which inmates may be released to parole supervision.

.....This addition of an explicit requirement that the Parole Board adopt and be guided by procedures that require it to evaluate "rehabilitation" and "the likelihood of success…upon release" signals a critical reform and modernization of parole practices. Such procedures, when promulgated, will rationalize parole decision-making by placing the focus primarily on who the person appearing before the Parole Board is today and on whether that person can succeed in the community after release, rather than—as under the previous "guidelines"—on who the person was many years earlier when she or he committed the crime. This is a shift in policy of potentially sweeping significance.



4. JOB ANNOUNCEMENT FROM FACES NY

FACES NY, Inc. a nonprofit agency in Central Harlem, is seeking a full-time staff position for an Office of Minority Health funded re-entry initiative titled HIRE NY (Health Improvement for Re-entering Ex-offenders). The HIRE NY Project will coordinate a system of care for individuals re-entering NYC from State and Federal prisons needing HIV/STI prevention education, HIV/AIDS treatment and care, substance use and mental health, and family reunification support.

Re-Entry Case Manager 35 hrs/weekly $30,000 - $35,000/yr

Qualifications: BA degree in Social Work or a related human services field and/or 5 years minimum experience in substance abuse/mental health counseling or related field, strong knowledge of chemical dependency issues, familiarity with MICA, homelessness, entitlements, HIV/AIDS and co-occurring conditions and criminal justice system. Bilingual skills preferred.

Please submit your resumes with cover letters to: Antonio Rivera, Director of Education & Client Services, Fax #: 212 864-1614 or via email
FACES NY, Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer.






5. LEGISLATION: STATUS OF THE SAFE PAROLE ACT, SENATE BILL S5374, SAME AS ASSEMBLY BILL A7939:
[Note: the Bill is the same in both houses but it has different numbers]

Rumors that the SAFE Parole Act has passed are unfounded. A bill is not a law [please refer to the August issue of Building Bridges for the process]. The NYS Senate and Assembly both need to vote for it during a Legislative Session. The last Legislative Session ended in June 2011, and will not start again, barring an emergency, until January 2012.

S5374: The Senate will have to reintroduce the SAFE Parole Act in January when they go back into session. It will get a new Senate number. At the end of last session it had 4 Senate sponsors: Senator Tom Duane and three co-sponsors: Senators Velmanette Montgomery, Bill Perkins, and Gustavo Rivera.
When Sen. Nozzolio chooses, the SAFE Parole Act will be introduced to the Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections Committee, which he chairs, for a vote. A majority of the members will have to vote for it in order for it to move out to the Senate floor for a vote. If a majority vote against it, it will be dead unless and until someone reintroduces it at the next Session (Jan. 2013).

A7939: The Assembly retains bills for 2 sessions, so it will keep this number and its 7 Assembly sponsors: Assembly Member Jeffrion Aubry, two co-sponsors: Assembly Members Andrew Hevesi and Eric A. Stevenson, and three Multi-sponsors: Assembly Members Herman D. Farrell, Jr., Richard N. Gottfried and John J. McEneny.
Assembly Member Jeff Aubry (who is also the head of the Assembly’s Corrections Committee) probably will wait until he feels it has enough support to pass before he introduces it to the committee. Like the Senate, if the committee passes it, it goes to the Assembly floor for discussion and a vote.

You are probably sick of hearing me say it, but you need to get your State Senator and Assembly Member to vote for it if we have any hope of this bill becoming a law. The longer you take to get involved, the longer it will take. It won’t happen without all of us doing everything possible to win their support.



6. NYS PAROLE CAMPAIGN: CHANGE THE PUBLIC'S PERCEPTION OF PEOPLE IN PRISON AND THEIR FAMILIES. GO PUBLIC WITH YOUR STORIES! VIDEO, AUDIO, AND LITERARY OPPORTUNITIES ARE AVAILABLE. [WE ALSO NEED A VOLUNTEER TO HELP ORGANIZE THE LETTERS TO THE GOVERNOR WE’VE RECEIVED.]

WWW.PAROLEREFORM.ORG Family members and friends and advocates of people who have appeared -or will appear- before the NYS Parole Board, are invited to tell their stories on video or audio recording, and hopefully by doing so open the eyes of those who know nothing of the injustices we experience. When people learn the truth we hope they will support the SAFE Parole Act and vote for legislators who also do.

There are 4 ways to do this:

1. arrange a video interview by contacting Judith at 518 253 7533;
2. tell or read your story or that of a family member by calling 877 518 0606 to record it;
3. post your writing on the blog at www.parolereform.org. Register and sign in, then click on the Blog tab, and type or cut and paste your story. Incarcerated persons can have friends on the outside do it for them. Please restrict your stories to the impact parole hearings have had.
4. attend a training session on story gathering for the Parole Reform website. Must have a computer and be comfortable using it. Interested people may call Judith at 518 253 7533.

Volunteer Needed: We need help organizing the letters to the Governor that we’ve received. If you have a computer and are comfortable using it, please send an email to parolereform@gmail.com.



7. PAROLE NEWS: JULY STATS AND COMMISSIONERS BY FACILITY

JULY 2011 PAROLE BOARD RELEASES – A1 VIOLENT FELONS – DIN #s through 1999
unofficial research from parole database

Total Interviews..........................# Released....... # Denied.... Rate
17 initials..................................... 0................... 17................ 0%
61 reappearances....................... 17................... 44............... 28%
78 interviews.............................. 17................... 61............... 22%

July Initial Releases: none

July Reappearances
Facility................. Sentence.....................Offense.... # of Board
Adirondack.............15-Life.....................Kidnap 1....... 2nd
Fishkill...................15-Life..................... Murder 2....... 2nd
Fishkill...................15-Life..................... Murder 2....... 3rd
Fishkill...................15-Life..................... Murder 2....... 6th
Green Haven........... 5-Life..................... M pre-74...... 8th
Groveland.............. 25-Life.....................Murder 2....... 4th
Groveland.............. 25-Life.....................Murder 2....... 7th
Mid-Orange............15-Life.....................Murder 2....... 2nd
Mid-Orange............15-Life.....................Murder 2....... 5th
Mid-Orange............17-Life.....................Murder 2....... 3rd
Otisville...................15-Life....................Att Mur 1....... 3rd
Otisville...................15-Life.....................Murder 2....... 6th
Otisville.................. 20-Life.....................Murder 2....... 4th
Otisville.................. 25-Life.....................Murder 2...... 2nd
Shawangunk.......... 15-Life..................... Murder 2....... 2nd
Woodbourne...........15-Life..................... Murder 2...... .8th


PAROLE BOARD MEMBERS BY FACILITY:
CAYUGA: Ferguson and Greenan
GREEN HAVEN: Smith and Lemons



8. PLACES TO GO: ACTIONS, EVENTS AND MEETINGS HAPPENING AROUND THE STATE THIS MONTH

ACTIONS:
BUFFALO VIGIL: Every Wed from 5-6 pm Erie County Prisoners Rights Coalition demonstration in front of the Erie County Holding Center, corner of Delaware and Church, in Buffalo. Stand for ending abuse.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

EVENTS:
ALBANY

SUNDAY OCTOBER 16TH, 6:00 PM SOCIAL JUSTICE CENTER FILM SPECIAL!!
COINTELPRO 101, WITH FILMMAKER CLAUDE MARKS.

In the 1960s-1970s, the FBI ran a secret program of repression, disruption, incarceration, and assassination against Black Panthers, Puerto Rican independentistas, the Chicano/a movement, the American  Indian  Movement, and white solidarity activists. In this remarkable documentary, the program, called Cointelpro  (for Counter Intelligence Program), is unmasked by some of the activists who survived it.

Filmmaker Claude Marks will be present and will talk with the audience about the legacy of Cointelpro today:
Some of Cointelpro's targeted activists and revolutionaries are STILL IN PRISON TODAY! After 30 years they are among the longest held political prisoners in the world. How can we support them? What are today's forms of Cointelpro-type repression and how can we challenge them?

Sponsored by the Social Justice Center of Albany, the Albany Political Prisoner Support Committee, and the Capital District Solidarity Committee. $4 donation at the door to cover expenses requested but not required. The Social Justice Center is wheelchair accessible.

Location: Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

LONG ISLAND event

SUNDAY SEPT 18, 8AM on PRISONER FAMILIES ANONYMOUS PICNIC [Rain date Sunday, Sept 25]

Annual picnic at Belmont Lake State Park

Last year’s picnic was a huge success and lots of fun. Take time out from worry and stress and enjoy each other’s company. Talk, network and just have a good time for yourself. We realize that some of you will be coming from great distances, so don’t worry about bringing perishables. We will all bring more than enough for ourselves and others to put on the BBQ, last year was a testament to that! So much food and not enough stomachs. If you can do the same, great. If not, don’t worry.

Our committee will be there as early as 8 am and as late as the park will let us stay, so come any time.

Bring your family – mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, kids, grandkids – anyone you would like to see enjoy the day at our picnic. Playgrounds are stationed all around the park.

Location: Belmont Lake State Park is located at exit 38 off the Southern State Parkway in North Babylon, LI, NY. Look for the “PFA” signs. Unfortunately, parking is $8.00 so try to carpool if you can.

For more information email or call 631.943.0441
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

MANHATTAN events

THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 22, 6:15 PM FREE THE SAN FRANCISCO 8

Speakers: Larry White, Riverside Prison Ministry, Fortune Society, Prison Action Network, and ex-prisoner; Ramona Africa , MOVE Org, ex-prisoner; Anne Pruden, Angola 3 organizer; Raquibah Fatimah Basir; recently released after 27 years in prison.

Film: In the Land of the Free, a documentary featuring Herman Wallace, Albert Woodfox, and Robert King, known as the Angola 3. Light refreshments from 5:30-6:15.

Presented by the Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition (NYC), PO Box 16, College Station, NY NY 10030, hotline:212 330.8029, email: info@freemumia.com.

Location: St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 521 W. 126th St.


SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 24, 7:30AM-5:30PM "THINK OUTSIDE THE CELL: A NEW DAY, A NEW WAY,"

Last chance to register for this national symposium on issues affecting the incarcerated, the formerly incarcerated and their families that will bring together an impressive array of well-known speakers. This event was created to educate and motivate anyone who has ever been incarcerated, as well as the families of those in prison or who have come home. Please plan to spend the day being fed - both physically and mentally.

Speakers: AL SHARPTON, CORY BOOKER, SOLEDAD O'BRIEN; RANDALL ROBINSON, JEREMY TRAVIS, "CHEF JEFF" HENDERSON, ROSSANA ROSADO, KHALIL MUHAMMAD, ALAN ROSENTHAL, TERRIE WILLIAMS, BYRON PITTS; and MARC LAMONT HILL.

Free and open to the public; free breakfast and lunch Register NOW!

Location: The Riverside Church, W. 120th St and Riverside Drive


SATURDAY OCTOBER 1, 1-4PM THE CAMPAIGN TO END THE NEW JIM CROW

A movement building event for those committed to the call: “No to Prisons, Yes to Caring Communities”
For more information, call 212 501 2112

Location: The Riverside Church Assembly Hall, 490 Riverside Drive [enter on Claremont Ave]
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

MEETINGS

ALBANY
Monday September 19, 7 - 8:30PM Prison Families of New York, Albany Support Group
Guest Speakers: Ed Fraley NYS Reentry Services/Parole and Diane Buoni, Albany County Reentry Task Force

Location: 373 Central Ave, Albany, NY.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

BUFFALO
Monday September 26, 6:30-8:30PM Prisoners Are People Too, Inc. Monthly meeting.
Prisoners Are People Too, Inc. is a justice advocacy initiative focused on issues of prison reform. Meetings usually consist of a prison related movie and a lively interactive discussion afterwards.

September’s Meeting details are not currently available. Details will be posted by Wednesday, Sept. 21 at: prp2.org  or you may send an e-mail .

Location: Pratt-Willert Community Center, 422 Pratt Street

The Circle of Supporters for Reformed Offenders and Friends of BaBa Eng are the sponsors of PRP2, Inc. programs. For further information, contact Karima Amin: 716-834-8438 or send her an email.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

MANHATTAN
Tuesday, September 20, 6:30-8:30pm MILK NOT JAILS Planning Meeting

With the State Fair and a successful Kickstarter fundraiser among the many successes MILK NOT JAILS can claim this Summer, we're looking forward to lots of next steps with the campaign this Fall.  Join us for our monthly meeting to plug into our milk business planning, policy platform outreach and advocacy, and to set goals for the rest of the year.  Light refreshments will be served.

Location: 666 Broadway 7th Floor, New York City
Take the B/D/F/V/6 to Broadway-Lafayette
Not in NYC? You can call into the meeting by dialing (712) 775-7200; Access Code 257779#
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

SUPPORT GROUP MEETINGS:

ALBANY: Every Monday 7-8:30 pm Prison Families of NY Support Group Meetings Alison 518-453-6659
Every Tuesday at 6 pm P-MOTIONS (Progressive Men Operating Towards Initiating Opportunities Now)
Malik at 518-445-5487.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

BROOKLYN:
Every Wednesday 5:30pm VOCAL Parolees Organizing Project For more info call 917 676-8041
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

LONG ISLAND:
Wednesdays September 27 and October 11, 7:30pm Prison Families Anonymous meetings The Community Presbyterian Church 1843 Deer Park Avenue

Tuesday October 4 (& all first Tuesdays), 7:30pm at St Brigids Catholic Church, 75 Post Ave, Westbury, NY.
For information, please contact: Barbara: 631-943-0441 or Sue: 631-806-3903



Building Bridges is published by Prison Action Network as a way of communicating with our members.
If you would like to join, please send a note.

Labels: , , , , ,