Building Bridges

The monthly newsletter of the Prison Action Network

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Friday, February 15, 2013


During the month we post late breaking news and announcements on this site, so please check back now and then. Scroll down to immediately read the February edition.

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POSTED 3/11 by Prison Action Network

Click here for a compelling flyer advertising "When Prison Gets Old", a discussion of the special needs of people who are suffering from the infirmities of old age while incarcerated.  Soffiyah Elijah, Karen Murtagh-Monk and other celebrated advocates will be members of the panel.
2pm on March 28 in Albany NY.

POSTED 3/6/13  by Prison Action Network

Brian Fischer will be retiring from his position as the head of the NYS Department of Corrections and Community Service (DOCCS) at the end of April.

Fischer.retirement.ltr.2013 by JimmyVielkind

Andrea Evans, the Chair of the NYS Parole Board announced that her term expired on 2/6/13.  She will stay until her replacement is named.

POSTED 2/24   by the Campaign to End the New Jim Crow:
The Campaign to End the New Jim Crow presents
the award-winning film

Race, Mass Incarceration & New Visions for Criminal Justice in the U.S.

A Screening and Community Discussion

Saturday, March 9, 2013

1:00 pm to 4:00 pm at Riverside Church

enter at 91 Claremont Avenue
(between West 120th & 121st Streets, NY, NY)


Panel discussion with the film’s director, activist and attorney, Matt Pillischer; 
L.Amir Amma, a student and activist who was formerly incarcerated;  
Soffiyah Elijah, Executive Director of the Correctional Association;
 Women On The Rise Telling HerStory (WORTH); 
and others working to end mass incarceration and defeat the New Jim Crow! 

Please register at

Posted 2/19 by Prison Action Network:
This submission arrived too late for publication by our Feb.15 deadline.  Enjoy!
Prison World Stories: Three Women Speak  by Karima Amin
Most of you know that I am a storyteller. It’s what I do and it’s who I am.  I love stories and storytelling. Jackie Torrence, a very famous storyteller, now deceased, once told me that a story is like a prayer. I believe this; stories have power. 

For three decades I have shared stories of all kinds and I’ve listened to stories since my childhood that have made me laugh and cry. I have read and heard stories that have inspired me, captured my imagination, and shaped my worldview. In sharing stories with both children and adults in many venues, I have reached a better understanding of who I am and what I value. I have never forgotten that it was storytelling that first took me into the prisons. 

I went in as a guest speaker, telling stories and delivering motivational speeches. In 1994, the year that I resigned from teaching in the Buffalo Public Schools, WBLK-FM invited me to share fables on the air. I started receiving letters from prisoners who were responding to the fables, finding hope, comfort and inspiration in them. My eyes were opened and I became more concerned about what was happening in the prisons, and subsequently, in our communities. Letters from prisoners and my prison visits opened my mind and heart to a new world. My new understanding led me to the creation of Prisoners Are People Too, Inc. I have heard many stories at our monthly meetings and they have all helped to educate our attendees and me. 

These important stories have healed lives and decreased stigma. These important stories have opened doors and windows of understanding. These important stories have brought people together to work for the common good. 

At the next monthly meeting of Prisoners Are People Too, three wonderful women will share important stories. Hopefully, their stories will give you a better understanding of the prison system and its impact on families. 

One formerly incarcerated woman will share her story of the difficulties she’s facing now, trying to establish a transportation service that will help prison families visit their incarcerated loved ones. The State provided a free service for decades. This service was discontinued in the spring of 2011. It has been statistically proven that keeping families together reduces recidivism. Why would the State keep loved ones apart? 

One woman has been married to an incarcerated man for 12 years. They met when she was a worker in her church’s prison ministry.  He was the prison chaplain’s clerk.  He is preparing for his first parole board appearance and she must be wife, supporter, advocate, and activist. How is she managing with limited support from family and friends?

One woman is married to a man who has a life sentence. They have been married for nearly 13 years. How has she managed to raise their seven children and keep the marriage intact?  How does she take care of herself, mentally and spiritually? 

These are important stories and we need to hear them. Telling our stories makes us stronger. Telling our stories brings us together. Telling our stories helps us to make meaning of our lives. Our stories matter. 

The next meeting of Prisoners Are People Too, Inc. will be Monday, February 25, 2013, 6:30-8:30pm, at the Pratt-Willert Community Center, 422 Pratt Street in Buffalo. This program is sponsored by The Circle of Supporters for Reformed Offenders and Friends of BaBa Eng. For more information: 716-834-8438;


Dear Reader,

I’m sorry to report that rumors of the SAFE Parole Act being passed are unfounded.  Rumors started when the Governor succeeded in getting his gun law legislation, called The SAFE Act, passsed.  We heard from people who thought it was the SAFE
Parole Act and for a split second I knew what it will feel like when it finally is the SAFE Parole Act.  I’m sorry if you believed the rumor and had your hopes dashed.  Yet there is good news about the SAFE Parole Act, which you will read in the first article.

Be well, stay strong, and please, get involved,  ~The Editor 


1.  Legislation: update on the SAFE Parole Act;  bills that were voted on by the Senate Crime Committee on Feb 6.

2.  Parole News: A Summary of 2012 Releases. At the NYS Budget hearings on Public Safety on February 6, 2013 it was announced that Parole Board Chair Andrea Evans’ term had expired. It is not clear whether she will stay on until her replacement is named and/or if she will be remaining as a Commissioner.

3.  Veterans Day weekend conference, When Johnny Comes Marching Home...and Gets Arrested - From Honor to Dishonor and Back, will focus on the special needs of incarcerated War Veterans.    

4.  NYS Prisoner Justice Network calls on readers to build a strong movement with a clear message: people in prison, like those on the outside, deserve respect and decent care in their old age, and elders who pose no danger to the community should be released.

5.  An invitation to join a group of advocates on March 2 to discuss releasing aging people from prison.

6.  Job Opportunities for people with criminal histories and a good education.

7.  Corey Parks is now working for Harlem SNUG, and shares with readers what SNUG is and does.

8.  The Reentry Roundtable on February 20 will focus on legislative proposals that address barriers to effective reentry.  Anita Marton and Kate Rubin will be the guest speakers.

9.  An evening of film and theater on February 27, will make a case for providing access to higher education for people in prison.

10.  Prison Voices Project, airing on WGXC, 90.7 FM, has a new time slot and a website.  The producer is reaching out to incarcerated artists for a website logo.

11.  Albany’s Center for Law and Justice is presenting a ten week film series, starting on February 21, to present the story of the African American presence and experience in the Americas.

12.  SAVE the dates!  On April 5th and 6th, Columbia University students will be presenting their 3rd annual Criminal Justice Conference.  Don’t miss an event that gets better every year!

13.  Click on the Calendar for events in your area.

[for copies of any complete source article, or a bill, please send a request stating month of printing and number of the article or the bill.]

1.  Legislation
The Safe And Fair Evaluations (S.A.F.E.) Parole Act S.1128/A.4108

There is good news!  Much to our surprise, the SAFE Parole Act was introduced by Senator Kevin Parker (without even being asked!) and given its 2013 number, S.1128.  A few days later, Sen. Kennedy signed on.  In the Assembly, Speaker Pro Tempore Jeffrion Aubry sponsored it and it was given the number, A.4108A . Multi-sponsors Brennan, Crespo, Farrell, Gottfried, Scarborough, and co-sponsors Hevesi, Stevenson, and Clark also signed on.

Newly appointed to the leadership of the Assembly as the Speaker Pro Tempore, Jeffrion Aubry is no longer on the Corrections Committee, but is a member of the Assembly’s Codes committee. He has been replaced as the Chair of the Assembly’s Corrections Committee by Daniel O’Donnell, who signed onto the SAFE Parole Act last session, and hopefully will again this year.

Prison Action Network visited with Sen. Parker and together we designed a strategy, which is basically to intensify what we’ve already been doing, sending our stories to Committees in both houses, and then to our own representatives, with copies sent to Senator Parker to show his colleagues how much support there is.  He’s not on the Senate’s Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections Committee, but he is on Finance and Rules where many bills have to pass before going before the Senate for a vote. Both houses need to pass the bill before it can become a law, and the Governor has to sign it.

On Tuesday, February 12, the Senate’s Crime Committee met for the first time this year and considered 10 bills.

Explanation:  All bill descriptions are those of the sponsors.  S stands for Senate, A stands for Assembly.  

Bills need to pass in both houses, so a bill that has no Assembly sponsor (no same as) even if it passed in this committee might not get an Assembly sponsor and therefore not become a law.  Where a bill has a sponsor in both chambers we identify it with a slash mark between their two numbers (S.1234/A.5678) and the primary sponsors like this: (Avella/Miller).  The first name is the Senator., the second is the Assembly Member.  We don't list the co-sponsors.  You may write us for that information or look it up on-line.

Most of the following bills passed out of the Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections Committee to another committee.  All but four have sponsorship in the Assembly.  Before any of these bills become law they have to be passed in both houses, where changes can be made from the floor before a final vote.  If passed, the Governor has to sign them before they can become the law.

Six of the bills passed and were sent to the Calendar for their “first report”.  The Daily Calendar is the agenda for the Senate sessions and contains those measures which have come through the committee process.  Bills take their place in order as they are reported from committee, and at this point are referred by their Calendar Number. This process allows additional time for your reaction against or for a bill.  Each bill has to be on the Senators' desks for three days before it can be voted on, unless the Governor authorizes and the Senate accepts a Message of Necessity for a certain bill. When bills reach the Order of Third Reading, they become ready for a final vote.

S.323/A.609 Avella/Miller  Has to do with risk level determination hearings for convicted sex offenders. Passed and referred to Finance.

S.758/A.2726 Fuschillo/Weisenberg About who pays for mandatory ignition interlock devices on cars when required by the Dept of Community Supervision.    Passed and referred to Finance.

S.1020/A.3818 Robach/Miller Prohibits Level 3 sex offenders from living in college housing. Passed and sent to the Calendar for its first report. 

S.1392/A.2646 Skelos/Simotas Spells out the duty of sex offenders to annually verify their address. Passed and sent to the Calendar for its first report. 

S.1437/no same as Ranzenhofe Amends correction law in relation to knowingly harboring a sex offender who has failed to register or verify his or her address.   Passed and sent to the Calendar for its first report. 

S.1481/no same as Marcellino Related to notification of certain persons upon the conditional release of an inmate convicted of a crime against a member of the same family or household. Passed and referred to Finance.

S.2204/no same as Young Relates to authorizing employment by not-for-profit organizations and public service projects under the work release program. Passed and sent to the Calendar for its first report.

S.3305/no same as Nozzolio Permits correction officers to be color blind. Passed and sent to the Calendar for its first report.

S. 3309/A.4118     LaValle/Thiele Prohibits certain persons from serving as a trustee, principal, officer, or member of a Board of Education of any public school in any BOCES, city, union free, common or central school district of any charter school. Passed and sent to the Calendar for its first report.

S.3338/A.487 Hassell-Thomson/O’Donnell Requires notice be provided to any officer or employee of the department of correctional services whose personal information is the subject of a subpoena duces tecum. Passed and sent to the Calendar for its first report.

2.  Parole News: Summary of the 2012 Releases of Convicted A1 Violent Offenders (A1VOs)  DIN #s through 1999, unofficial research from parole database 

(January 2013 releases will be published next month, along with additional analyses of 2012 parole releases.)

There were 1190 A1 Violent Offender (A1VO) Interviews in 2012.  Of those, 29 were female and 1161 were male.  

Of the 29 females interviewed, 8 (28%) were released.  Of those 8, three were from Bedford Hills, 5 from Taconic.  Among the 29 interviews were 8 women from Albion and Bayview, none of whom were released.  Of the Bedford Hills interviews 27% were released.  Of the Taconic interviews 50% were released.  One female was a medical parole releasee.  All releasees had 15-life except the medical releasee who had 25-life.  

Total Interviews:
Of all 1190 interviews, 313 (26%) received release decisions. 
Initial interviews: 213 of which 29 (14%) resulted in release, or 9% excluding 9 deportees.  Reappearances: 977 interviews of which 284 (29%) resulted in release decisions.  

By Security Levels:
Maximum:  420 interviews, 83 releases, a 20% release rate.  
74 were initial interviews, of which 4 (5%) ended in release decisions. 

Medium: 757 interviews, 226 were released, a 30% release rate. 
138 of the interviews were initial interviews, 25 of which were releases (22%).

201 were reappearance releases (31%).

Central NY Psych: 4 interviews

Walsh Medical: 9 interviews, 3 were releases.  

Sentences: 15-life: 281;  more than 15 but less than 20: 123;  20-Life: 211;  more than 20 but less than 25: 75;  25-life: 372;  more than 25-life: 68;  less than 15-life and may have been YO/JO’s: 49; and 11 who appeared to be serving a new sentence for a crime committed in prison.

Of the 313 releases, 222 had less than 25-life while 91 had 25 or more. 37% of the interviews had 25-life or greater while 29% of releasees had 25-life or greater.  

Convictions:  Three arson (1 was released on reappearance).  One attempted murder pre 74.  Thirty-four attempted murder 1st degree (of which 7 were released, 2 on initials).  Two Juvenile Offenders for Murder 2nd degree (1 was released).  Twenty-one kidnap 1st degree (6 were released on their reappearances).  Seventy-nine had more than one A1VO conviction (5 of those included Murder 1st degree) and 9 of the 79 had more than one A1 violent offense and were released, 1 of them on his initial hearing.  Nine hundred ninety-seven for a single murder 2nd degree offense, with or without other lesser class offenses.  

The number of the hearing at which the applicant was released:
2 on 14th,  2 on 13th, 4 on 12th, 2 on 11th, 8 on 10th, 8 on 9th, 17 on 8th, 28 on 7th, 38 on 6th, 34 on 5th, 39 on 4th, 44 on 3rd, 58 on 2nd, 29 on initial.  Most denials are for 2  years, so a 14th hearing is likely to mean 26 years added to the person’s sentence by the Parole Board. 

Of all interviews, 5 were known to have had victims of law enforcement and another 5 fairly notorious cases, at least 62 received a conviction while incarcerated (8 of whom were released), 20 were interviewed on special consideration hearings (6 of whom were released).  One male and one female received medical interviews, the female was released.  At least 16 people were released for deportation. 

There are more statistics, which we will publish next month along with more details (if we have them) about Andrea Evan’s departure from her position as Chair of the Parole Board.  

3.  When Johnny Comes Marching Home...and Gets Arrested - From Honor to Dishonor and Back 
Before you know it, Memorial Day weekend will be here, when people honor our War Veterans and begin the Summer holiday season with a parade and a barbecue.  For you, if you accept the invitation, it will be 3 days - Friday May 24 through Sunday May 26 - filled with workshops, wonderful food, interesting people and luxurious accommodations, all free to Veterans and their families and friends and anyone else who is especially mindful of Veterans and especially our incarcerated War Veterans.  We will gather to discuss the state of Veterans in our criminal justice system, and to make a call to action for reform. 

This one-of-a-kind experience will be held at Christ the King Spiritual Life Center, an idyllic 600 acre facility near Greenwich, NY, in a place where horses live, and trails are there for the walking.  You will love it!

There is no fee to attend the conference; scholarships have been generously provided by program sponsors for all those who wish to attend.  Please be aware that space is limited and will be filled quickly; no registrations will be accepted after April 30, 2013.  When you register let us know if you need, or can help with, transportation. 

Because up until now, little attention has been given to incarcerated veterans, our presenters may not be well known to you, but in Veterans circles they are known as very special people with innovative ideas about how to address the needs of Veterans.

Our moderator for the weekend will be Gabriel Sayegh of the Drug Policy Alliance in New York City.  Other presenters are:

Ed Tick, Dir of Soldier’s Heart, is considered an expert in healing the wounds of war experience.
Susan Verbeke, Guidance Specialist for Veterans, NYS DOCCS
John Amidon, Veterans for Peace
Bob Nevins, director of Saratoga WarHorse, using horses to heal the wounded warrior
Brian Delate, writer/Director and Vietnam Veteran, star of a one man play about a Vietnam veteran
Rev. Nigel Mumford, Welcome Home Initiative
Rev. Joseph Caron, Ret. Chaplain, Mt. McGregor Correctional Facility
Jonathan Gradess, NYS Defenders Association.
Paul Henderson, Musician (will perform at our Sunday Barbecue), presenting his story from war to drugs to becoming a lawyer
Hon. Robert Russell, Jr.,  Buffalo Veterans Treatment Court
Lem Genovese, retired Army veteran, combat medic, and nationally acclaimed veteran tunesmith (joining Paul Henderson at the Sunday Barbecue).

4A Prison Is Not a Nursing Home: The Incarceration of the Elderly in New York State
by the New York State Prisoner Justice Network

“The Dr. here does nothing for the inmates. I am very sick at this time. My eyes are giving me trouble and it is hard to see. Next year I will be going to the parole board for the 5th time. I have done the time. Why does the parole board keep hitting me and other brothers? I will be 87 years old [this year]. I am the oldest brother here. The Medical Unit is on lockdown 24 hours a day. I am trying to get to Sing Sing or Green Haven where I will get better medical help. As a Black man I am very strong, a fighter in the struggle for freedom and justice. Thank you for your help.” (name withheld, New York State incarcerated elder)

The long-term, continued incarceration of the elderly and infirm shows how much the current criminal justice model is based on revenge and not on community well-being and safety. Over the past few years, more people have begun to question the entire punishment model as cruel, costly, and unnecessary. The long-term incarceration of the elderly is increasingly seen as a shameful symptom of this wasteful and dysfunctional model. 

There are about 8400 men and women over the age of 50 in New York State prisons. Fifty is widely accepted as the age for defining older prisoners, because people age more rapidly in prison than on the outside. Like the prison population generally, the elderly in prison are disproportionately people of color. Many of these elderly prisoners received harsh sentences as young people under “tough on crime” legislation which began in the mid-seventies, and have spent their entire adult lives in prison. Many are trapped in the political blowback which influences the parole board to deny, based on nature of the crime,  people who have long ago complied with everything they could possibly do to prove themselves ready for re-entry.

The recidivism rates for older prisoners, regardless of their crime of conviction, are the lowest of any group. Only 7% of NYS prisoners ages 50-64 return to prison for new crimes; the rate drops to 4% for prisoners over 64 – compared with nearly 40% for the general prison population. So while the costs of incarcerating those over 50 are approximately double those for younger prisoners, the supposed criminal justice rationale – community safety – cannot justify their continued imprisonment at any cost.

A number of reports, events, and organizations are currently highlighting the national disgrace of over-incarceration of the elderly. “At America’s Expense: The Mass Incarceration of the Elderly,” is an extensive report issued by the American Civil Liberties Union in 2012. Human Rights Watch issued a comprehensive report, “Old Behind Bars,” also in 2012, which states, among many other startling statistics, that between 2007 and 2010 the number of prisoners over the age of 65 in the U.S. grew an astonishing 94 times faster than the general prison population.

The New York State Prisoner Justice Network and its member organizations are currently participating in several events targeting the issue of elders in prison. A workshop called “Invisible and Forgotten: Aging and Solitary Confinement in New York’s Prisons and Jails” will be presented at the New York State Conference of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators, on February 16th at the Empire State Plaza in Albany. In New York City, a program on “Mass Incarceration and the Issue of Aging Prisoners in New York State” will be held at House of the Lord Church, 415 Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, on March 2nd from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., with a keynote address by the church’s Presiding Minister, Rev. Herbert Daughtry. [for details see Article 5]

The current focus on public education and information is the first step toward insisting on more humane conditions for incarcerated elders, and creating release mechanisms for elders to return to their families and communities. In advocating for these goals, activists are alert to the danger of laws and practices which look good on paper but do not actually improve conditions on the ground. We will be striving to avoid a repetition of the compassionate release statutes, which have had minimal impact, in practice, on the release of the elderly, sick, and dying.

As with other criminal justice reforms, to make a real difference, advocates will have to build a strong movement with a clear message: people in prison, like those on the outside, deserve respect and decent care in their old age, and elders who pose no danger to the community should be released.

5.  Release Aging People from Prison Presentation and Discussion

On Saturday, March 2, 2:00 - 4:00 pm, there will be a presentation and discussion of efforts to release aging people in prison in New York State. The Rev. Herbert Daughtry, minister of the church, has invited his congregation and the larger community to attend. Speakers will include Rev. Daughtry and Mujahid Farid, who served 33 years in prison in New York State and is currently court pens monitor at the Correctional Association of New York. Mr. Farid is also an initiator of the campaign to release aging people in prison. 

Prison justice advocates are warmly invited to attend.

Location:House of the Lord Church, 415 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn

"Release older incarcerated people who have served long periods of time — a group that has the lowest recidivism rates, meaning that they can be released without endangering public safety.  The yearly cost to taxpayers of continuing to incarcerate one old person is as much as $200,000. A New York State study revealed that people released after serving long sentences for murder (mostly older individuals) had the lowest recidivism rate for committing a new offense, 1.3 percent — lower than any other category of those released.  Between 2000 and 2011, the New York prison population 50 and older grew by 64 percent. Keeping these elders locked up until they die does nothing to enhance the security of our society. " 
~ from a NY Times letter to the Editor by Soffiyah Elijah, CEO, Correctional Association of  NY
Published on: 11/ 22/2012

6.  Job Opportunities for People with Criminal Histories
The Fortune Society 
Fortune encourages talented, dedicated individuals from all walks of life who possess a strong commitment to our mission. Men and women with criminal justice records who have successfully made the transition from incarceration into stable, productive lives in the community – including sustained employment since release – are encouraged to apply.
Current positions:
Family Specialist -­‐ MSW
We seek candidates with experience in parenting with a particular emphasis on fathering and the needs of younger parents. The Family Specialist will conduct groups, provide individual counseling and case management. Experience in vocational readiness a plus, as is bilingual and bicultural Spanish/English skills. MSW required.
Assistant Director of Treatment Services
Candidates should have 7 – 10 years of professional experience in an OASAS licensed 822 clinic; CASAC plus a clinical degree (MSW, CSW, Ph. D) and have supervised clinical and CASAC/CASAC-­‐T staff. Candidates must have demonstrated work experience in evaluation and quality improvement initiatives, as well as experience managing city, state and federally funded programs. Must have experience with completing reports for funders that summarize achievements and challenges and solutions.

Policy Researcher/Analyst David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy
The Policy Researcher/Analyst will bring research and writing support to DRCPP’s policy work and will have the opportunity to provide leadership in developing policy positions and documents such as white papers. The Policy Researcher/Analyst will work on a range of DRCPP issues including housing, employment and more. A significant portion of the Policy Researcher/Analyst’s time, in the coming years, will be dedicated to DRCPP’s new HIV Care Program. The HIV Care Program is an innovative training series designed to improve health care outcomes for HIV+/high risk criminal justice involved by providing cultural competency training to the health care providers who serve them.
Qualifications: Master’s degree, preferably in public health, human services, criminal justice, sociology or related field, with a strong background in research and writing in public policy, a minimum of two years relevant work experience, preferably in a nonprofit social service setting, must be detail oriented with superior analytical skills. Ability to do "big picture" thinking and solve problems in a way that is creative and collaborative, excellent oral and written communication skills coupled with exceptional people skills, understanding of both qualitative and quantitative evaluation methods, appreciation of Fortune’s work in serving people who have been incarcerated and those who are at risk.

Senior Director of Employment Services
The Senior Director will provide program oversight, strategic leadership, and overall vision to ensure the quality delivery of vocational services to job seekers. The Senior Director will build upon Fortune’s vast experience in the criminal justice field to enhance our existing employment services program that meets the needs of jobseekers with criminal records, as well as position the organization as a leader in the field of workforce development. The candidate must be a critical thinker, well-­‐versed in workforce development trends and best practices, able to analyze data and identify trends, and capable of incorporating data into the day‐to-day activities of the department and the achievement of outcomes. The candidate must have strong verbal and written communication skills.

Senior Director of Training and Technical Assistance/David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy
Will assess, manage, create and oversee Fortune’s trainings and technical assistance work. In particular, this position will spend a considerable amount of time over the next few years on our HIV Care Program, an innovative training series designed to improve health care outcomes for HIV+/high risk criminal justice involved by providing cultural competency training to the health care providers who serve them. The program is based on the “academic detailing” model, whereby trained professionals conduct one-­‐on-­‐one and small group meetings with health care providers to train them on evidence-­‐based practice with improve health care outcomes. Other areas of training and technical assistance include employment, housing replication and cultural competency.

Coordinator, Gun Violence Clinical Services
In September 2011, the Speaker of the City Council announced the Task Force to Combat Gun Violence, formed in response to an increase in shootings in New York City. Its membership includes 20 individuals representing service agencies, associations and academics. The Task Force has recommended a new Crisis Management response that would unite community-­‐based groups with city agencies so that all are working together to respond to and prevent gun incidents.  This position will involve Crisis Intervention – the CeaseFire model requires an on-­‐the-­‐ground, street-­‐level involvement and the coordinator must be on call 24/7 to work with the interrupters and outreach workers from the CeaseFire sites who engage directly with the individuals affected by incidents of gun violence in the target neighborhoods.  Requires a deep, personal commitment to ending gun violence in our community, 7 – 10 years of providing crisis intervention services or trauma based interventions in underserved populations, excellent written and verbal communication skills.   
For more information about any of the above positions visit

Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation
Our mission is to serve as a catalyst for positive change in the lives of people in our community on their paths to secure and prosperous futures.
For job opportunities, please contact Michelle Clemons-Wilson, Human Resources Director, at

Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation
76 Wadsworth Avenue, New York, NY 10033
O: 212.453-5398

7SNUG; don’t shoot, be different!

Working to cure violence, Operation Snug is a funded program that’s staffed by many ex-offenders. These men and woman are taking steps to give back to the same communities they once took from. Harlem Snug works to divert young men and women 16-24 years old who live in a 72 block neighborhood in Central Harlem from a life of violence.

Harlem SNUG’s staff consists of one supervisor, six outreach workers, two hospital responders, and three violent interrupters/hospital responders who are responsible for managing case loads and mediating conflicts in high crime areas.

Their past experience helps them to identify with the youth who are attracted to violence:  the current team supervisor is a person who still found himself gravitating towards gangs and criminal activity even though he was a kid with a lot of family support who attended good schools.  Outreach Workers strive to understand how these young men or ladies feel or think before developing an individual plan which can include finding employment for the children along with suitable programming and activities for their enjoyment.  Outreach Workers’ relationships with parents can create a unified approach to saving their children from falling into a violent life style. 

Violent Interrupter/Hospital Responders learn how to mediate conflict between rivals before it escalates into violence. Their job is to work with hospital staff to discourage retaliation after the violence results in serious injury or death.  Most people living that lifestyle are focused on taking a life, while SNUG (GUNS spelled backwards) focuses on saving them by helping them to start caring about the life of another human being.

                                         ~ Corey Parks 

     ~ The author can be contacted at SNUG, NYC MISSION SOCIETY,  
653 Lenox Avenue. New York, NY 10037       

8.  The next NY Reentry Roundtable is scheduled for Wednesday, February 20th from 1-3pm 

Come hear about legislative proposals to address barriers to effective reentry for formerly incarcerated individuals in New York State. 

Guest Speakers: Anita Marton from the Legal Action Center and Kate Rubin from the Bronx Defenders will will talk about 2013-2014 Reentry Legislation.

Hosted by The Community Service Society of New York (CSS)
105 East 22nd Street at Park Avenue South,  Conference Room 4A,  Take the 6 or N/R trains to 23rd Street
Kindly RSVP to Gabriel Torres-Rivera at or call 212.614.5306t

9.  Pathways and Passports to Education: Telling the Narrative

February 27, 6:30 - 8:00pm
Baruch Conference Center—55 Lexington Avenue (@ 24th St.) NYC

A screening of the documentary film Passport to the Future: Accessing Higher education in an Era of Mass Incarceration will be followed by a live performance by College and Community Fellowship's Theater for Social change.

The documentary, by Benay Rubenstein and filmmaker Jeremy Robins, captures the personal experiences of people with criminal history records in enrolling in and attending college. The interviews provide compelling evidence of how a college education is a life transforming experience for formerly incarcerated people. The Center for Community Alternatives will be on hand to discuss their research showing that over 60% colleges and universities across the nation now have a “box” on their admissions application asking applicants about their criminal history backgrounds.
You MUST register for this event in order to gain admittance! 

10.  Report from the Prison Voices Project, Hudson NY

Hello again from the Prison Voices Project, a radio show on Columbia and Greene Counties' new community radio station, WGXC 90.7-FM.  First off, I would like to thank all of you who have written me letters over the last few months.  I have read every one, and I have even shared a few on air.  (Remember, unless you explicitly give me permission to read it on the air, I won't do so.) 

The last few shows have featured a discussion on the War on Drugs, poetry by Derek Anderson, a formerly incarcerated man and poet who shared his story and struggles with re-entry after 31 years in prison, and an interview with Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of ColorBlindness. 

The Prison Voices Project will now air every other week in its' new time-slot, Thursdays from 10-11am on 90.7 FM (in Greene & Columbia Counties, and streaming live at in case family members want to listen.)  In honor of the new program schedule, the next program, on February 28th will be a retrospective of the program so far.  So, if you can tune in, please do. 

Also, I am in the process of building a website so that shows can be easily accessed and archived.  I currently do not have a logo for the Prison Voices Project, and I would like to invite you to submit a design for the official logo for the website.  It should say the "Prison Voices Project" and have a simple and clear image that stands for communication, radio, media, and voices traveling across walls and bars.  Any ideas?  Please submit drawings in ink, (not pencil) and no bigger than post-card size (4X6") to the Prison Voices Project by March 15.  Drawings can be in color or, black and white.  You will be credited for the art-work so please include your signature in your submission.  Please note that the image might be digitally altered to fit the scale, color, and style of the website.  Your submission will indicate your permission for the Prison Voices Project to use the image on the website and in other materials.  Thank you for your collaboration!  

Write to me/Submit artwork for the PVP logo:   The Prison Voices Project, WGXC,  704 Columbia Street, 2nd floor, Hudson, NY  12534. Tune in to WGXC 90.7 FM, every other Thursday from 10-11am:  Feb 28;  Mar 7;  Mar 21;  April 4

11.  A Celebration of Black History and Culture through Film.

Every Thursday Feb 21 - April 25 at 5:30 pm
Location:  200 South Pearl Street, Albany NY

The series includes 10 dramatic and documentary films selected for their ability to present the story of the African America presence and experience in the Americas.

Free and open to members of the public who are 14 and over.  Free refreshments.

Presented by the Center for Law and Justice, Inc., the African American Cultural Center Center, and the Albany Housing Authority

Films include: Middle Passage, Sankofa, Roots, Glory, Slavery by Another Name, A Soldier’s Story, President Obama on Race and Racism, Ballin’ in the Graveyard, Django (if available), No Way Out

For More Info: 518 427 8361

12.  SAVE THE DATES: April 5th and 6th for Beyond the Bars: Moving Forward
The 3rd Annual Interdisciplinary Criminal Justice Conference, presented by The Columbia University School of Social Work Criminal Justice Caucus and the Criminal Justice Initiative, will bring together people who are interested in current efforts and future ideas for addressing mass incarceration.
The past two conferences have been amazing, inspiring, and very informative.  Prison Action Network encourages you to set aside the 2 days to immerse yourself in a fresh and creative exploration of strategies for ending mass incarceration.
Building Bridges will update you whenever we receive more information.

13. calendar:
If we haven’t presented you with enough information about events in your community this month, we suggest visiting  For a more complete listing.  Organizations are invited to list your events there as well.

Building Bridges is Prison Action Network’s way to communicate with our members.  
Contact us to join.

Read now!