May 16, 2011

Building Bridges - May 2011 edition

The May edition of Building Bridges has just been released by the Prison Action Network.

Summary of articles in this issue:

1. Actions, Event and Meetings include Coalition for Women Prisoners Advocacy Day in Albany on behalf of the the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act. [with dates for NYC and phone pre-trainings]; Presentation of the SAFE Parole Act on March 19 at the Chelsea Reform Dem Club, with Tom Duane; March 21 appearance of Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow at Riverside Church; Buffalo PRP2! meeting on May 23, Manhattan meetings on May 17 (Milk Not Jails), May 18 (NY Reentry Roundtable), and May 19 (Coalition for Women Prisoners) as well as regularly scheduled support group meetings. You can keep busy working for justice almost any day!

2. The Coalition for Fair Criminal Justice Policies is passionate about bringing deserving men and women home from prison through better parole policies, but the question throughout the process from arrest through sentencing, potential incarceration, and parole release should be: where do we want this person to end up? This is called Reintegrative Justice.

3. Legislation: S 338/A 154 expands Merit Time eligibility to include violent crimes (with some exceptions) and the list of criteria for receiving merit time has also been expanded.

4. DOCS and the Div. of Parole have merged into DOCCS (Dept. of Corrections and Community Supervision); The Parole Board will maintain its independence.

5. NYS Parole Reform Campaign is now at WWW.PAROLEREFORM.ORG. Visit this new interactive website where you can view people speaking about their parole experiences, leave your parole story on the storyline phone, and take several actions, including sending Senator Duane a thank you letter. It includes a list of members of both committees in the legislature who have to pass it before it can move to a vote of each house.

6. Parole News - 134 interviews, 30 released, 4 on initial hearings. (Still none in the Elmira or Watertown hubs.)

7. A link to The SAFE Parole Bill S.5374 in its entirety, plus what we know about TAP and risk and needs assessments. Called a “mark-up”, the bill S5374 shows the changes that constitute the SAFE Parole Act. It contains all the language in the governor’s revision. The SAFE Parole Act removes all the crossed out language and adds the CAPITALIZED words.