August 16, 2011

Building Bridges - August 2011 edition

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

Summary of articles in this issue:
1. Activism: most of this issue is devoted to letting you know about all the interesting things going on this month; lots of picnics, parades, and less business meetings than usual. A great way to get comfortable with other people who share your situation and your interests.

2. Citizens Against Recidivism is gearing up for its annual Award Dinner coming up this October 29th, and the deadline for nominating someone for an award is September 1.

3. The Legislative report this month attempts to explain the legislative process in terms most of us can understand. Feel free to send us your comments and questions.

4. Mayor Bloomberg is removing one of the obstacles facing formerly-incarcerated people looking for jobs, by ordering city agencies not to ask about criminal histories until after the interview process.

5. The NYS Parole Reform Campaign is moving forward in a spirit of hope and enthusiasm. We've been having meaningful visits with legislators and commissioners. Let us know if you would like to join us in the future.

6. Parole News covers June's releases of A1VOs, discusses the composition of the parole board, and reports on a parole applicant's 11th parole hearing.

7. A letter to sign and send to Governor Cuomo supporting the SAFE Parole Act (scroll down to the end of the Building Bridges newsletter to find it).

Also from Building Bridges, an update on the NYS Parole Reform Campaign:

"We've been spending the summer months visiting with people we hope will become supporters of the SAFE Parole Act. A group of constituents and supporters met with Sen. Edward Maziarz in his district office in Lockport NY. Joining us was former head of Parole, George Alexander, representing the Saving Grace Ministry Parole (half-way house) program where he serves as an assistant director. (He sends his greeting to to all of you.) Sen. Maziarz appeared impressed by the personal stories he heard at our meeting. If you're in his district and would like to share yours, it could make a difference.

We also had a productive visit with Andrea Evans, chair of the Parole Board. We went into the meeting assuring her we would keep our discussion confidential but we do want you to know we were representing your interests, which of course are in everyone's best interest, so there's no conflict there.

If you want to join the campaign’s efforts, please contact us. By phone or email if possible; by letter if not (NYS Parole Reform Campaign, 518 253 7533, parolereform@gmailcom, PO Box 6355, Albany NY 12206). We especially encourage families to get together in support of the SAFE Parole Act. One of you can represent the group in corresponding with us. We need to present a united front, so let's make sure our outreach carries the same message, and goes to the most strategic places."