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.