March 15, 2011

Building Bridges - March 2011 edition

The March edition of Building Bridges has been issued by the Prison Action Network.

Summaries of Articles:

1. Actions, events, and meetings are listed geographically and chronologically, so you can easily check for those in your area at times you are free. Three legislative advocacy days are listed (under Actions). These are excellent opportunities to get comfortable talking to legislators. If you support the S.A.F.E. Parole Act, you really ought to attend one of them. Winning over legislators will be an important part of our success.

2. Bob Gangi, former Exec. Dir. of C.A. is moving on, not to retire, but to take the position of Senior Policy Advocate at the Urban Justice Center. On Monday, April 4th, he will begin work there on justice related issues like the questionable arrest policies of the NYC Police Department. He looks forward to having contact, professional and/or personal, with many of you in the future.

3. Bronx Community Solutions - Your organization is invited to participate in the Bronx Reentry Community Forum and Resource Fair: “I’m Home ... What’s Next?” on Saturday, May 7, by hosting a resource table, contributing items for door prizes, or by bringing participants or students from your program.

4. Formerly Incarcerated People’s Movement - A gathering of formerly incarcerated persons began efforts to launch a campaign against the New Jim Crow. We marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, met with state legislators, and began organization building. We will be doing the same on the east coast. There were people there from around the country. You can see some video footage on

5. In Your Face heads to Washington D.C., on foot! - Readers can keep informed about the In Your Face WALK 2 WASHINGTON on the In Your Face Movement FaceBook pages, where you can also read the numerous write-ups they've received.

6. NYS Parole Reform Campaign Report - The latest organizations to sign a letter in support of the SAFE Parole Act are Exodus Transitional Community, National H.I.R.E. Network, and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project. Campaign members helped design a logo for the Campaign's Thousand Kites campaign website, soon to come online.

7. NYS Prisoner Justice Network - Everyone is invited to any of their series of regional and local meetings (listed in the article) and events taking place around the state to inform people in local communities about the statewide network, to share ideas and strategies for challenging and changing New York’s criminal INjustice system, and to encourage people to attend the Legislative Awareness Day for Prisoner Justice on May 3rd in Albany.

8. Parole News- January A1VO statistics show only one release on an initial hearing. A recent FOIL request asking the date and location of Parole Board Release Hearings and the names of the Parole Commissioners who were on each Board produces more questions than answers. Will DOCS and the Division of Parole merge under Cuomo? Read the article by Joel Stashenko in the NY Law Journal, in which he claims Parole Boards would lose authority under Cuomo, posted on

9. Prison Media: Thread News! is a digital multimedia magazine available online and free of charge. Their first issue deals with the complexities of prison re-entry, as seen through the eyes of 35 year old recent parolee Manny Borras, a playwright, who must now navigate life on the outside. You can submit your stories for future consideration.

10. Think Outside the Cell: Their upcoming National Symposium on Sept. 24th will bring together national experts and policy makers, as well as hundreds of those who live in the long shadow of prison, whose voices and concerns have rarely been raised on the national stage. The Rev. Al Sharpton, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, and CNN journalist Soledad O’Brien will be among them. Anyone with prison in their backgrounds is encouraged to attend. An audience of more than 800 is anticipated.