August 25, 2013

Building Bridges - August/September 2013 edition

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

Prison Action Network's brief summary is given below. Please see Building Bridges for full details and their current news about parole, ways to help and become involved.

1.  Parole releases are averaging close to 26% for both initials and reappearances; Building Bridges gives a list of current parole commissioners and their biographies. 

In other parole news, the following is a brief summary from the highly recommended report, Parole Release Decisions and the Rule of Law, by Alan Rosenthal and Patricia Warth (Atticus, Summer 2013, Vol. 25, No. 2, p. 10-16):
"In response to the amendment of Executive Law § 259-c(4) the Parole Board took no action to establish written procedures, instead apparently relying upon the "Evans' Memo" to suffice. Upon inspection and investigation of this memo a simple truth emerges. The memo does not contain the procedures required to satisfy the 2011 amendment and it has not been promulgated by proper filing with the Department of State, the Secretary of State, or publication in the state register. Therefore any action taken by the Parole Board to deny parole to any person coming before it would be made in violation of Executive Law § 259-c(4) because it would have been made without first establishing or following proper procedures, thus inviting judicial annulment."
2.  Only four Criminal Justice bills that the Prison Action Network were following made it into law. None of them targets a subset of the prison population, and two increase benefits to victims.

3.  The campaign to overhaul NY’s failed parole system is moving forward with a meeting on September 7 to begin planning the year’s events.

4.  NYS Prisoner Justice Network takes a cautious look at the Stop and Frisk judicial decision and A.G. Holder’s speech calling for federal prison reforms.

5.  DOCCS is denying more and more women entry to the Bedford Hills' prison nursery, particularly women who have been convicted of violent crimes and women who have had child welfare involvement with other children.

6.  Merle Cooper petition signatures reach 845. There are six days left to at least be counted among those who think DOCCS should maintain programs that have proven track records.

7.  College degree program at Albion C.F. to start this summer, thanks to a $200,000 grant from the Sunshine Lady.

8.  Baba Eng follows the thread from Black Codes > criminal justice system > criminal codes > Emancipation Proclamation > 13th amendment with its exception > vagrancy (and other) laws to catch up Freed Blacks.

9.  Black August: In remembrance of Jonathan Jackson, brother of George Jackson, Mujahid Farid, the featured speaker at this month’s Prisoners Are People Too meeting, will consider how the fate of Jonathan ties into issues of juvenile justice.

10.  Corey Parks wants to convince you of your ability to become a leader after you come home.

11.  ReEntry Roundtable Wed. Sept 18, 1-3pm, "Broken On All Sides" documentary.