July 22, 2009

The Sentencing Project releases national report: 1 in 11 prisoners are serving life sentences

More prisoners today are serving life terms than ever before — 140,610 out of 2.3 million inmates being held in jails and prisons across the country — under tough mandatory minimum-sentencing laws and the declining use of parole for eligible convicts, according to No Exit: The Expanding Use of Life Sentences in America, a report by The Sentencing Project, a group that calls for the elimination of life sentences without parole.

The authors of the report, Ashley Nellis, Ph.D., research analyst and Ryan S. King, policy analyst of The Sentencing Project, state that persons serving life sentences "include those who present a serious threat to public safety, but also include those for whom the length of sentence is questionable."

The full report and links to Press articles can be found here.

July 02, 2009

State agencies partner on prison-based addiction services

Leaders of New York’s drug treatment and criminal justice systems today announced a collaboration on behind the walls addiction services that will serve as a blueprint for the future under Rockefeller Drug Reform.

The New York State Department of Correctional Services’ (DOCS) Willard Drug Treatment Campus in Seneca County is launching a new phase of the corrections-based drug treatment readiness program, in collaboration with the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) and the Division of Parole (DOP), to enhance addiction services “behind the walls” to parolees as part of the Rockefeller Drug Law Reforms signed this year by Governor David A. Paterson...

...Andrea Evans, Chairwoman of the NYS Board of Parole and Chief Executive Officer of the New York State Division of Parole said, “Substance abuse is one of the greatest barriers to successfully completing parole. The program here at Willard is an opportunity to help the addicted choose sobriety and in doing so eliminate the behaviors that often result in criminal activity and a return to prison. This program is a proactive way to protect public safety by stopping crime before it happens."

Full Press release is available here.

July 01, 2009

Building Bridges - July 2009 edition

The July 2009 issue of Building Bridges has been released by the Prison Action Network.

Subjects covered in this issue include:
1. Abuse of incarcerated youth
2. Actions you can take
3. ICARE Reports
4. Legislation
5. Lifers and Longtermers Clearinghouse
6. Parole news
7. Prison closures - what replaces them?
8. Prison media
9. Prisoners of the census
10. Transportation to prison
11. Citizens Against Recidivism questionnaire

Update on Merit Time Bill S2932/A6487: the Bill had passed out of the Senate Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections Committee and was waiting to be put on the Calendar, when the Senate fell into total disarray. It did not get out of the Assembly Corrections Committee before the end of session. It may be reintroduced next session, or yet another Merit Time Bill may be drafted to replace it.

Citizens Against Recidivism, Inc. would like to consult with people in prison and have developed a brief survey on the issues that affect prisoners. The survey can be found at the end of the July issue of Building Bridges.

Graziano v. Pataki update: July 1st 2009

Brief update on Graziano v. Pataki, from the Prison Action Network:

"GRAZIANO VS PATAKI: The lawyers for Graziano submitted written questions to Pataki; his responses are not due for another three weeks or so."