Reentry Net/NY Serving People from Arrest to Reintegration March 2010 Resource Updates and Highlights
You are receiving this newsletter because you are a member of the New York State Reentry Resource Center, a network of more than 2,000 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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Call to Support Reentry Housing:The Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) is asking New Yorkers to call on Albany legislators to support reentry housing. A proposal to dedicate $5 million out of existing funding to create 250 new units of reentry supportive housing has been distributed to Governor’s Office and key members of the Legislature. Please call Governor Paterson (518.474.8390), Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver at (518.455.3791), and Senator John Sampson (518. 455.2788) and say: “I’m calling to ask Governor Paterson to dedicate Five Million Dollars of the OASAS-administered Drug Law Reform service funding to create 250 new units of reentry supportive housing. Reentry Supportive Housing Works! It makes our communities safer, healthier and stronger, and it saves the tax payer money by reducing recidivism and emergency services.” In addition, please call your local Assembly member and Senator to ask for their support. If you would like further information, please call or email Ryan at 212.986.2966 (x248) or email@example.com.
Support Prison Closures and Hub Near Home: The NY Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents at the Osborne Association is asking organizations to sign on to a letter to the NYS Legislature. The letters calls for theirsupport for the proposed closure of four prisons and to consider proximity to children when assigning an incarcerated individual to serve time in a specific prison (Hub Near Home).Click here to view the letter. Click here for a fact sheet on the issue. If you would like to add your organization to the sign-on letter, please email Tanya Krupat, Program Director of NY Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents, The Osborne Association at firstname.lastname@example.org
Decision Affirming the Right to a Jury Trial in a Bawdy House Case: In this Bawdy House case, the respondents demanded a trial by jury, and the petitioner moved to strike that demand, on the basis of a waiver included in the lease. The court found in favor of the respondents, affirming the right to a jury trial on the grounds that the right is so fundamental that courts must indulge every reasonable presumption against waiver. Click here to read the decision. Click here to see more resources on drug holdover proceedings.
One Flawed Policy. Thousand of Families at Risk: Policy brief by the Community Service Society gives an overview of Human Resources Administration's(HRA) Cash Assistance program and the devastating practical effect that HRA's narrow definition of "temporary absence" has on families. The brief argues that the current policy significantly burdens poor families by excluding incarceration from the list of conditions that define temporary absence and reducing their Cash Assistance grant accordingly. Click here to read the brief.
Federal Judge Approves Settlement on Class Action Suit Against New York State Office of Children and Family Services' Statewide Abuse and Maltreatment's Register:A class action legal settlement has been reached that could restore the employment rights of up to 25,000 New Yorkers. Under the settlement of the class action lawsuit against the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) which operates the New York Statewide Abuse and Maltreatment Register ("SCR" or the "Register"), the State will send notices to the roughly 25,000 people on the Register whose Requests for Hearings were terminated between 2003 and 2007. The notice will inform people that they may have a right to request a new hearing. A website (www.registryclassaction.com) has been established to provide information for people who have not received a requested hearing. Click here to read the press release. For more information on SCR and instruction on clearing your name, Click here to view the guide by Lansner and Kubitschek, Attorneys at Law.
The State of Sentencing 2009 - Developments in Policy and Practice: The 2009 State of Sentencing report by The Sentencing Project highlights reforms in at least 19 states that hold the potential of further prison population reductions. Figures recently released by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics document a record prison and jail population of 2.3 million as of 2008, but also indicate that the population in state prisons is stabilizing. Overall, 20 states achieved at least modest reductions in their prison populations between 2007 and 2008. Click here to read the report.
Downscaling Prisons - Lessons from Four States: Report released by Justice Strategies and The Sentencing Project, finds that four states - Kansas, Michigan, New Jersey, and New York - have reduced their prison populations by 5-20% since 1999 without any increases in crime. This came about at a time when the national prison population increased by 12%; and in six states it increased by more than 40%. The reductions were achieved through a mix of legislative reforms and changes in practice by corrections and parole agencies. Click here to view the report.
Employment of People with Criminal Records - Legal Challenges for Employers:Employing people with criminal convictions is a balancing act: Applicants for employment and employees with arrest and conviction records may not be discriminated against under NYS and federal law (EEOC guidelines). However, some jobs have licensing or other requirements that exclude people who have criminal records, and employers fear tort liability. Cornell University ILR School in collaboration with Cornell University Law School, and Jackson Lewis LLP presents a panel of experts to discuss enforcement, practical impact on the workplace, and how to decipher records. The event will be held on Wednesday, March 24 at 8:30 AM. Please see flier for more information.
Free Know Your Rights Workshop - Rights of Relatives in Family Court:Workshop by LIFT gives an overview about the legal options a grandparent or other relative has for establishing a relationship with the child in their care. Attendees will learn the differences between kinship foster care, custody, guardianship and adoption as well as the financial support options that come with all of them. A peer trainer, a grandparent who has already been through the system, will conduct part of this workshop. Attendees will receive a copy of the workshop curriculum as well as a copy of LIFT's Legal Resource Guides, "Custody and Visitation"; "Child Protective Proceedings Rights and Responsibilities"; and "The Rights of Relatives in Family Court". The workshop is free and will be held on Thursday, March 25th at 5:30 PM.
Occasional Series on Reentry Research:The Prisoner Reentry Institute presents its March Occasional Series on Reentry Research titled, (Re)Starting and Stopping: Breaks between Criminal Activity Vs. Permanent Cessation from Crime. The featured speaker is Shawn Bushway, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, University at Albany-SUNY, and discussants will include Eric Waters, Program Director of Prison Reentry and Family Services at the Osborne Association and Joseph Shields, Executive Director of New Jersey State Parole Board. The event will be held on Friday, March 26th at 9:00 AM.
On The Front Lines: Building Skills for Reentry and Diversion:The New York City Discharge Planning Collaboration invites you to a free one-day training institute designed for discharge planners and other professionals working with currently and formerly incarcerated people. The goal of the institute is to impart practical skills to training participants that they can immediately put to use in improving outcomes for those they are working with. The Institute will provide participants with the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge related to reentry, diversion, and service delivery through highly interactive workshops. There will be a networking lunch and participants will be able to participate in one workshop in the morning and one in the afternoon. The training will be held on Wednesday, March 31 at 8:30 PM. Click here to RSVP.
Save The Date - 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 fourth annual Reentry Advocacy Day in Albany on Tuesday, May 4, 2010. 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 email@example.com.