February 16, 2013

The Safe And Fair Evaluations (S.A.F.E.) Parole Act S1128/A4108: an update

Below is an encouraging update on the progress of the SAFE Parole Act, given by the Prison Action Network:

The Safe And Fair Evaluations (S.A.F.E.) Parole Act S1128/A4108

"There is good news! Much to our surprise, the SAFE Parole Act was introduced by Senator Kevin Parker (without even being asked!) and given its 2013 number, S1128. A few days later, Senator Kennedy signed on. In the Assembly, Speaker Pro Tempore Jeffrion Aubry sponsored it and it was given the number, A4108. Multi-sponsors Brennan, Crespo, Farrell, Gottfried, Scarborough, and co-sponsors Hevesi, Stevenson, and Clark also signed on.

Newly appointed to the leadership of the Assembly as the Speaker Pro Tempore, Jeffrion Aubry is no longer on the Corrections Committee, but is a member of the Assembly's Codes committee. He has been replaced as the Chair of the Assembly's Corrections Committee by Daniel O'Donnell, who signed on to the SAFE Parole Act last session, and hopefully will again this year.

Prison Action Network visited with Senator Parker and together we designed a strategy, which is basically to intensify what we have already been doing, sending our stories to Committees in both houses, and then to our own representatives, with copies sent to Senator Parker to show his colleagues how much support there is. He is not on the Senate's Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections Committee, but he is on Finance and Rules where many bills have to pass before going before the Senate for a vote. Both houses need to pass the bill before it can become a law, and the Governor has to sign it."

February 15, 2013

Building Bridges - February 2013 edition

The February 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 and ways to help.

1.  Legislation: update on the SAFE Parole Act; bills that were voted on by the NYS Senate Crime Victims, Crime and Correction Committee at their meeting on February 6.

2.  Parole News: a summary of 2012 releases. At the NYS Budget hearings on Public Safety on February 6, 2013 it was announced that Parole Board Chair Andrea Evans' term had expired. It is not clear whether she will stay on until her replacement is named and/or if she will be remaining as a Commissioner.

3.  Veterans Day weekend conference, When Johnny Comes Marching Home...and Gets Arrested - From Honor to Dishonor and Back, will focus on the special needs of incarcerated War Veterans.

4.  A Prison Is Not a Nursing Home: The Incarceration of the Elderly in New York State, a report by the New York State Prisoner Justice Network. The NYS Prisoner Justice Network calls on readers to build a strong movement with a clear message: people in prison, like those on the outside, deserve respect and decent care in their old age, and elders who pose no danger to the community should be released.

5.  An invitation to join a group of advocates on March 2 to discuss the release of ageing people from prison.

6.  Job opportunities for people with criminal histories and a good education.

7.  Corey Parks is now working for Harlem SNUG, and shares with readers what SNUG is and does.

8.  The Reentry Roundtable on February 20 will focus on legislative proposals that address barriers to effective reentry. Anita Marton and Kate Rubin will be the guest speakers.

9.  An evening of film and theater on February 27 will make a case for providing access to higher education for people in prison.

10.  Prison Voices Project, airing on WGXC, 90.7 FM, has a new time slot and a website.  The producer is reaching out to incarcerated artists for a website logo.

11.  Albany's Center for Law and Justice is presenting a ten week film series, starting on February 21, to present the story of the African American presence and experience in the Americas.

12.  SAVE the dates! On April 5 and 6, Columbia University students will be presenting their third annual Criminal Justice Conference.  Don't miss an event that gets better every year!

13.  Visit the reentry.net/ny calendar for more events in your area.