July 18, 2012

New York State Parole Board

The official list of Parole Board members has now been updated to include the recent appointments by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. Currently there are fourteen members and five vacancies:

Parole Board Members

Evans, Andrea W.
Smith, Walter Wm., Jr.
Ferguson, James
Hernandez, Christina
Ludlow, G. Kevin
Elovich, Lisa Beth
Thompson, Sally
Hagler, Michael A.
Ross, Mary
Crangle, Joseph
Brown, Jared
Sharkey, Edward
Coppola, Marc
Evans-Alexander, Ellen

July 15, 2012

Building Bridges - July 2012 edition

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

A brief summary is given below. Please see Building Bridges for full details:

* Electoral Politics - some suggestions to help us elect the people who are more likely to support our agenda.

* Family Empowerment Day 5 is in Buffalo this year, featuring Ebony Magazine's "2012 Couple of the Year".

* Innocent and denied parole because of it? The Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice has a plan for helping you.

* The legislative session ended in June with none of our bills being passed. A.M. Aubry, however, was able to put in a supportive word for people in prison and those who have been released, during the discussion of the Justice Center Bill which creates an agency to protect people with special needs.

* Corey's Column - in his first Building Bridges column Corey Parks describes his strategy for a successful reentry.

* Parole News reports on appointments of three new and three reappointed Parole Commissioners; an amazing Article 78; and 37 parole releases in May.

* NYS Parole Reform Campaign urges families and other advocates to become informed and get active. It's up to us. No one else cares as much.

* NYS Prisoner Justice Network reports on the Legislative Task Force on Criminal Justice Reform, proposed by the New York State Criminal Justice Advocacy and Reform Coalition made up of advocates, most of whom presented workshops at the Black and Puerto Rican Legislative Caucus this past spring. An update on the Sept.14th Event also is provided.

* Public Campaign Financing is urgently needed because the very rich think you and I are the ones who don't understand the country's problems! We have to replace the influence of big money in politics with public financing of elections, and Gov. Cuomo has said he will help us.

* In Our Name, Restoring Justice in America - the Aug. 24-26 agenda looks very inviting. Formerly incarcerated people and family members of currently incarcerated persons are offered generous scholarships. We'd love to hang out with you!

* Solitary Confinement through the eyes of Charles Dickens, author of A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist. Shows that opposition to the use of solitary confinement has been around almost as long as solitary has.  When will the public wake up?

* Strength of a Woman. Short sentences for abusers but when a woman defends herself after years of violence and threats on her life or her children's she often receives a much longer sentence. The July 30th meeting of Prisoners Are People Too in Buffalo, focuses on this issue.

July 06, 2012

Lawmakers: fix racial disparity on Parole Board

Extract from a NY Daily News article:

ALBANY — Gov. Cuomo is taking heat from minority lawmakers for not renewing the term of the lone black male on the state Parole Board.

Henry Lemons, a former deputy chief investigator in the state attorney general's office and longtime Brooklyn prosecutor, was cut loose when his six-year term expired recently.

Members of the Legislature's Black and Latino Caucus have bemoaned the disparity that exists between the board's membership and the general population of state inmates. Records show that 49% of all state prison inmates are black, and of that number, 93% are men.

Lemons' departure means that Chairwoman Andrea Evans is the only black representative out of the 11 current members of the board.

No reason was given for the decision not to reappoint Lemons, who was initially selected by former Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

"I have spoken to the governor in sharing my displeasure," said Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson, a Bronx Democrat and member of the caucus.

Sen. Eric Adams, a Brooklyn Democrat and a former NYPD cop, also spoke of the need for a black man on the board: "It's almost crucial that you have that representation."

Minority lawmakers are said to be particularly upset that four Parole Board members originally appointed by ex-Republican Gov. George Pataki were kept on after their terms expired last year...

For complete article, see:
Lawmakers: fix racial disparity on Parole Board, by Kenneth Lovett (NY Daily News, July 3 2012)