December 16, 2012

Building Bridges - December 2012 edition

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

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

1.  Bring Back the Buses - DOCCS free bus service was created to support rehabilitation by strengthening family ties.

2.  Calendar of Events - for family members and anyone else who wants to get involved in changing the criminal justice system.

3.  "Central Park 5" documentary, now showing at commercial theaters, exposes the corruption that poisons our criminal justice system.

4.  Corey's column describes his struggle to succeed in the face of incomplete freedom.

5.  Educational and vocational programs were the topic at a hearing with the NYS Assembly's Corrections Committee where Glenn Martin shared the testimony of Fortune Society clients.

6.  Fortune in My Eyes describes how the Fortune Society was conceived in the theater.

7.  Getting out and staying out. Parole Board obstacles, community obstacles, and how to help overcome them.

8.  A conversation about the impact of political imprisonment and mass imprisonment on our families and our communities presented by the Sedou Odinga Defense Committee.

9.  Job openings that don't discriminate against people with criminal records.

10.  NYS Parole Reform Campaign. Let’s pass the SAFE Parole Act this year! It will take all of us working very hard. Will you help? Send us your pledge.

11.  Parole News - October releases, updates on recent Judicial and Parole Board hearings and a report on the Amicus Brief filed by five past Parole Commissioners, in which they accuse the Parole Board of caving to outside pressure.

Douglas Thwaites was released in October, on his second appearance before the Parole Board, for deportation. On December 21, 2011, the court granted his Article 78 against the Parole Board. In his decision, Hon. Lawrence H. Ecker, J.S.C. accused the Board of employing past-focused rhetoric, not future-focused risk assessment analysis, thus failing to sustain a rational determination on the inquiry at hand: whether there is a reasonable probability that, if such inmate is released, he will live and remain at liberty without violating the law. The court found the Board's decision denying parole to be arbitrary and capricious, irrational, and improper and annulled the Board's determination, vacated the denial, and directed the board to, within 30 days *, hold a new hearing with a different panel of the Board.  (*The Board did not comply with the 30 day time limit, and waited until October to give Mr. Thwaites another interview.)

12.  Reentry Roundtable's 7th anniversary - join them for lunch and a talk on the importance of effective reentry services, by Rob Carmona.

13.  Senate Shenanigans. No... let's upgrade that to Senate Insanity. Or a trip down the Rabbit hole. This year's NYS legislative practices are anyone's guess. We pray it may be a brand new day that restores justice, but it doesn't look promising.

14.  In Our Name will be presenting a Veteran's Conference in May, focusing on the needs of homeless, substance abusing, and incarcerated veterans. Ed Tick, of Soldier's Heart, will join with other cutting edge professionals to talk about some effective interventions for PTSD.