You are receiving this newsletter because you are a member of the New York State Reentry Resource Center, a network of more than 1,000 advocates and direct service providers from all around the state. Each month, we bring you resource highlights, news, and policy updates from the online resource center.
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State Supreme Court Decision Finds OMRDD Denial of Employment Arbitrary and Capricious Based on Failure to Balance Evidence of Rehabilitation with Negative Factors: Monroe County Judge rules in favor of petitioner who was hired by a local agency pending OMRDD approval. OMRDD denied work authorization to petitioner based on petitioner's extensive criminal history, including six felony and twenty misdemeanor convictions. Court finds OMRDD's denial "arbitrary and capricious" based on failure to set forth specific relationship between the convictions and the duties of the job in question and failure to account for positive factors in Petitioner's application, among other reasons. Congratulations to the Monroe County Legal Assistance Center. Click here (PDF) to access the decision from the Reentry Net Library.
Community legal resources on reentry are now available at LawHelp New York: LawHelp.org/NY, along with Reentry Net/NY and over a dozen contributing organizations, is pleased to announce the completion of LawHelp's new topic area, Consequences of Criminal Charges. The new section has nine sub-topics with legal referral and "Know Your Rights" resources for individuals and their families coping with the consequences of arrest, conviction, and incarceration.
Jailing Communities: The Impact of Jail Expansion and Effective Public Safety Strategies:New report by the Justice Policy Institute examines the jail population growth and the serious consequences for communities that are now paying tens of billions annually to sustain county jails.Click here (PDF) to read the report.
2008 Presidential Candidates' Platforms on Criminal Justice:This guide prepared by The Sentencing Project compiles candidates' statements on a range of key criminal justice issues, including sentencing policy, reentry, felony disenfranchisement, and the death penalty. Click here (PDF) to read the report.
Mapping the Innovation in Correctional Health Care Delivery in New York City: A new study on the health and human services currently available to recently released inmates in New York City finds that many local communities are not adequately prepared to take on the ongoing management of released inmates’ medical and mental health conditions. Click here (PDF) to read the report.
Remember to visit Past Resources of the Week for highlighted reports, toolkits, and training materials from the past year.
*Second Chance Act Signed into Law*
On April 9th, President Bush signed into Law the Second Chance Act of 2007, legislation designed to aid former prisoners coping with the challenges of reentry. The Second Chance Act authorizes $362 million to states, local governments and nonprofit prisoner reentry organizations to help formerly incarcerated individuals obtain job training, literacy training, substance abuse treatment, counseling, housing and mentoring services.
*Upcoming Events & Opportunities*
New York Reentry Roundtable Advocacy Day: The New York City Reentry Roundtable, a project of the Community Service Society of New York (CSS), will hold its second annual Reentry Advocacy Day in Albany on Tuesday, May 20, 2008. Join advocates, family members and formerly incarcerated individuals to speak with legislators and staff about the challenges facing formerly incarcerated New Yorkers. For more information, contact Gabriel Torres-Rivera at (212) 614-5306 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
New York City’s Marijuana Arrest Policy Thirty Years after Decriminalization: In 1977, New York State decriminalized possession of personal use amounts of marijuana. Nonetheless, researchers report that New York City is now the national leader in detaining individuals for possession of personal use amounts of marijuana. Join the New York City Bar on April 30, 2008 at 6:30pm for a discussion of the costs and benefits of New York City's marijuana possession arrest policy.
Behind Bars: Latinos/as in Prison: John Jay College Latin American and Latino/a Studies Department will be hosting an event on Tuesday, May 6 from 4:00 - 7:00 PM at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. The event will feature a panel discussion and reception with the authors of a special issue of the Journal of Latino Studies focused on Latino/a incarceration. More information is available through the Latin American and Latino/a Studies Department (email@example.com; 646-557-4666).
The Financial Consquences of a Criminal Conviction- New Fees and Fine in New York's Criminal Justice System: Forum panelists will debate the vast array of fines, fees, costs, penalties, surcharges and assessments imposed against people convicted of criminal offenses on Thursday, May 15th, 6pm at the New York County Lawyers Association. To RSVP, contact firstname.lastname@example.org and write ‘May 15 event’ in Subject line. NYCLA Events are free and open to the public.
Assembly Hearing on The Rockefeller Drug Laws: Assembly Committees will hold a joint public hearing to explore the impact of the “Rockefeller Drug Laws” on public health and safety; to examine the impact of the 2004 and 2005 reforms of these drug laws; to examine the effectiveness of substance abuse treatment services as an alternative to incarceration; to determine the adequacy and effectiveness of existing substance abuse treatment services and resources; to explore restoration of some judicial discretion in drug cases; and to examine access and barriers to social services for persons with a history of substance abuse released from incarceration. The hearings are scheduled for May 8, 2008 at 10:00 AM and May 15, 2008 at 10:30 AM.
Looking for People 55 and over to Volunteer as Record Counselors to Help Individuals Take Control of Their Lives: The Community Service Society’s Retired and Senior Volunteer Program CSS/RSVP has volunteer opportunities for adults aged 55 and over who are concerned about mass incarceration and recidivism and would like to serve as record counselors and help people take control of their conviction histories. With instruction and ongoing support from a CSS staff attorney, they will gain a basic understanding of New York criminal law; discover how to spot and fix mistakes on rap sheets; learn the truth about the real-life consequences of criminal convictions; and educate individuals so that the words in their records are not the story of their lives. If you want to learn more about this opportunity please call Hazel Beckles Young Lao at 212 614 5556 or attend an Orientation on May 16th, 2008, 9:30 a.m. at the Community Service Society 105 E 22nd Street, 9th Floor Boardroom.