Public Resources

Resources of the Week 2006

 

Each week, we choose a resource from the Reentry Net/NY library to highlight for advocates.  Often it is a new resource by one of many advocacy organizations around New York State that we are helping distribute; sometimes it is an older resource from the library that we think is particularly helpful and underused.  “Past Resources of the Week” for the current year are available from the Reentry Net/NY home page.  Below is the archive of “Resource of the Week” from 2006.

 

To download individual items in the “Resource of the Week” archive, you must be a member of Reentry Net/NY.  If you are already a member, make sure you are logged in.  If not, you can register for a free membership by filling out the simple Join Form.

 

December 18, 2006

Breaking Parole: An Analysis of The New York State Division of Parole’s Caseload Management Guidelines

Author: Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer

Description: Key findings on the extent to which the New York State Division of Parole is fulfilling its mission and linking formerly incarcerated people to needed services, as well as recommendations for change the Division of Parole must make to ensure that people returning from prison have the highest level of services possible to help them avoid re-incarceration and to protect public safety.

 

Week of December 11, 2006

Practice Advisory: Removal Defense of Immigrants in Drug Possession Cases--The Impact of Lopez v. Gonzales

Author: New York State Defenders Association Immigrant Defense Project

Description: On December 5, 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court held in an 8-1 opinion that the government has been misapplying immigration law by subjecting lawful permanent resident immigrants to automatic deportation for drug possession offenses. The decision, Lopez v. Gonzalez , will have a dramatic protective impact on the rights of the nation's 12 million legal immigrants.  This practice advisory is IDP’s first in a series of advisories on the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision in Lopez v. Gonzales (No. 05-547) (Dec. 5, 2006).  Included are post-Lopez challenges to government arguments in removal proceedings that a drug simple possession offense (or an offense that otherwise may include non-trafficking conduct) is an aggravated felony.  For further information and analysis visit the Immigrant Defense Project website:

 

Week of December 4, 2006

Mapping Prisoner Reentry: An Action Research Guidebook

Author: The Urban Institute

Description: The Reentry Mapping Network (RMN) is a collaborative effort by community-based organizations and the Urban Institute, designed to create community change through the mapping and analysis of neighborhood-level data on prisoner reentry. RMN partners collect and analyze local data related to incarceration, reentry, and community well-being, and work with their communities, local organizations, and policymakers to develop strategies for addressing prisoner reentry in their regions. This guidebook provides information on how interested parties can understand and address prisoner reentry at the local level through mapping and data analysis. It outlines the concepts and methods underlying the RMN and the experiences of the RMN partners so that other jurisdictions can learn from these experiences and create more successful reentry strategies in their own communities.

 

Week of November 27, 2006
N.Y. Court Opposes Order on Sex Offenders
Author: The New York Times

Description: Article on New York Court of Appeals 7-0 decision ruling that the state cannot use mental hygeine laws to confine people convicted of sex offenses in psychiatric hospitals after their prison terms end. 

Read the full text of the decision in the Reentry Net/NY library.

 

Week of November 20, 2006
Addressing Sexual Violence in Prison: A National Snapshot of Approaches and Highlights of Innovative Strategies
Author: The Urban Institute
Description: Before the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) of 2003, it was not clear the extent to which state departments of corrections (DOCs) were addressing sexual violence in systematic ways. In fact, little information existed about what strategies were being put into practice in prison systems across the country. PREA has changed the way DOCs are addressing prison sexual violence (PSV). Mandatory recordkeeping and a push for eliminating such incidents has moved many DOCs to develop specific responses to PSV or to further refine approaches already in place. The purpose of the current project was to provide a national snapshot of DOC initiatives to address PSV, as well as to identify specific practices that seemed to be, in the absence of formal evaluations, particularly promising or innovative in nature.

 

Week of November 13, 2006

Sample Letter in Response to Demand for Statutory Penalties for Shoplifting

Author: The Bronx Defenders

Description: Letter for any individual to use to demand their rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and requesting that the debt be validated.  Letter includes optional language for if the individual has no money or assets and are facing a demand for statutory penalties for shoplifting.  Letter includes optional language for if the individual is not even facing criminal charges.

 

Week of November 6, 2006

Report and Recommendations to New York State on Enhancing Employment Opportunities for Formerly Incarcerated People

Author: The Independent Committee on Reentry and Employment

Description: The Committee’s recommendations for policies that would promote public safety and successful reintegration by enhancing employment opportunities for low-income New Yorkers.  The Independent Committee on Reentry and Employment is a consortium of leaders from advocacy organizations for the formerly incarcerated and low-income New Yorkers.  The report includes comprehensive policy change recommendations to increase labor market participation of jobseekers with criminal records.  The committee was assembled by The Doe Fund, a New York City-based non-profit organization that provides job development services to the homeless and formerly incarcerated people, at the behest of Chauncey G. Parker, Director of the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services. 

 

Week of October 30, 2006

Custody and Control: Conditions of Confinement in New York’s Juvenile Prisons for Girls

Author: Human Rights Watch

Description: Report on abuse and neglect of girls in New York’s Juvenile Prisons.  This report focuses on the two large, prison-like facilities in which girls in New York state are confined, namely, the Tryon and Lansing facilities, and concludes that, far too often, girls experience abusive physical restraints and other forms of abuse and neglect, and are denied the mental health, educational, and other rehabilitative services they need. Because of the facilities’ remote locations, confined girls are isolated from their families and communities.

 

Week of October 23, 2006

Reference Chart for Healthcare Agency Criminal History Background Checks for Applicants for Employment in Home Health Care

Author: Legal Action Center

Description: This chart created by the Legal Action Center explains new regulations requiring criminal history screening and restricting people with felony convictions from employment in certain home health care jobs.  The chart clarifies regulations passed by the Department of Health, the New York State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disability.

 

Week of October 16, 2006

*New Report* Rebuilding Families, Reclaiming Lives: State Obligations to Children in Foster Care and Their Incarcerated Parents

Author: The Brennan Center for Justice

Description:  Recommendations for how federal policy makers can address family reunification needs of foster children and their incarcerated parents. 

 

Week of October 9, 2006

How to Help When a Person with Mental Illness is Arrested in New York State

Author: Urban Justice Center and National Alliance for the Mentally Ill – New York

Description: This important 2001 publication still has useful and relevant information about how any concerned advocate, family-member or friend can help advocate for a person with mental illness to receive treatment rather than incarceration, and to be treated as a human being.

 

Week of October 2, 2006

FAQ for New Transgender Birth Certificate Regulations Proposed in New York City

Author: Sylvia Rivera Law Project

Description: New regulations about transgender birth certificates in New York City were proposed last week and may be promulgated soon.  This document summarizes frequently asked questions about transgender peoples’ access to birth certificates under the current and proposed regulations.  This information can also be a model for advocates in other states working to make sure everyone has access to identification documents.

 

Week of September 25, 2006
Connections 2005-2006 and The Job Search
Author: New York Public Library
Description: Directory of resources available to people returning home to New York City from jail or prison, including agencies that help with employment, housing, financial assistance, education, health, and more.  Additional directories for other parts of New York State (Ulster County, Westchester County, Albany and the Capital District, and Rochester/Monroe County) can be found in the
Find a Service Provider page of Reentry Net/NY.


Week of September 18, 2006

Certificates of Relief from Disabilities and Certificates of Good Conduct – Resources

Author: Reentry Net/NY

Description: Link to the Reentry Net/NY folder on Certificates of Relief from Disability and Certificates of Good Conduct.  Resources include: training materials from The Bronx Defenders and the Legal Action Center on what the Certificates are and how to get them; sample applications; link to the Legal Action Center’s “How to Gather Evidence of Rehabilitation;” and a model motion that attorneys can adapt to reargue cases where a Judge has denied a Certificate to an applicant.

 

Week of September 11, 2006

Better Ballots New York – Voter Education Guide

Author: Compiled by the Voter Enfranchisement Project of The Bronx Defenders, in partnership with the Drop the Rock Campaign, the New York Campaign for Telephone Justice, and the Prison Policy Initiative

Description: The Better Ballots 2006 Voter Education Guide is based on official candidate statements.  Better Ballots covers all statewide races in both the primary and general elections, and State Assembly and State Senate races in the general election for many districts in New York City and across New York State.  The website also includes links to important information about voter registration deadlines and voting rights.

 

Week of August 28, 2006

Collateral Consequences of DUI

Author: Glenn E. Murray, Esq.

Description: In addition to the danger of a jail sentence and fines upon conviction in a criminal court, defendants face various indirect, or so-called “Collateral Consequences.”  This is especially true for defendants charged with driving while intoxicated or impaired.  Defense counsel must thoroughly harvest and evaluate information concerning the four Cs: The Client, Case, Court and Consequences.  Attached is a list of some DUI collateral consequences for counsel to consider, some of which commence before the first court appearance. 

 

Week of August 21, 2006

How to Gather Evidence of Rehabilitation

Author: The Legal Action Center

Description: Explains how job applicants with criminal records and/or alcohol and drug histories can get evidence of rehabilitation to help obtain employment.

 

Week of August 14, 2006

Legal Outline of Authorities and Decisions Related to Criminal Records and Employment

Author: Community Legal Services of Philadelphia and National Employment Law Project

Description: Outline covers authorities and decisions relevant to availability and accuracy of criminal records; civil Rights litigation; "cleaning up" rap sheets (expungement, pardons, and sealing); statutory employment restrictions; certificates of rehabilitation or certificates that relieve the holder from statutory forfeitures and bars; and other litigation for policy-makers and litigators to use in understanding the scope of employment barriers faced by people with criminal records and possible strategies for mitigating those barriers.

 

Week of August 7, 2006

How to Get Public Housing & Section 8 - Even With a Criminal Record

Author: Legal Action Center

Description: This manual tells people in New York City how they can get into Section 8 and public housing even if they - or someone in their household - has a criminal record or is in recovery from a drug problem. The manual is designed for applicants and their advocates. It contains the New York City Housing Authority admissions policies for people with criminal records and recent illegal drug use, and step-by-step suggestions for how people can gather the evidence of rehabilitation necessary to gain housing. It also includes sample letters of reference - the type people really need to convince housing authorities of their rehabilitation. Though the manual focuses on New York City Housing Authority policies, its chapter on “How Can You Win Your Hearing?” can help people applying to other local housing authorities marshal their best evidence of rehabilitation.  

 

Week of July 31, 2006

NYSDA Immigrant Defense Project Practice Tip: US Supreme Court Grants Cert on Whether a State Drug Possession Offense Constitutes a "Drug Trafficking" "Aggravated Felony”

Author: Immigrant Defense Project of the New York State Defenders Association

Description: On April 3, 2006, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Lopez v Gonzales (Docket No. 05-547) and Toledo- Flores v US (Docket No. 05-7664). These cases raise the important issue of whether a state felony offense of simple possession of a controlled substance is a “drug trafficking” “aggravated felony” for federal immigration and sentencing purposes when such offense would be deemed a misdemeanor under federal law. The IDP, along with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, the National Association of Federal Defenders, the Capital Area Immigrant Rights Coalition, and the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, had in January prepared and submitted an amici curiae brief in support of cert in the Lopez case, which raises the issue in the immigration deportation context. The Toledo-Flores case raises the issue in the context of the criminal sentence enhancement for the federal crime of illegal entry into the US following a prior conviction of an aggravated felony.

 

Week of July 24, 2006

Updated: Reentry Advocacy and Assistance for Clients With NY State Prison Sentences

Author: Office of the Appellate Defender

Description: This manual includes a very useful chart of the different types of release (detailing what they are, who is eligible, and how they work); sample release advocacy materials, and tips on conditional release, planning for release, and post-release assistance.  An older version of this manual was previously featured in “Resource of the Week.”  Please discard the older copy and use this updated version.

 

Week of July 10, 2006

A New Sentencing Model to Meet the Challenge of Reentry and Public Safety

Author: Center for Community Alternatives

Description: On June 7, 2006 Governor George Pataki signed into law an important change affecting sentencing in New York. Penal Law §1.05(6) has been amended to add a new goal, "the promotion of their (defendant's) successful and productive reentry and reintegration into society..." (Chapter 98 of the Laws of 2006), to the four traditional sentencing goals of deterrence, rehabilitation, retribution and incapacitation. In this Justice Strategy policy paper, the Center for Community Alternatives explains the significance of the recent amendment and explores some of the questions and challenges faced with the introduction of reintegrative sentencing.

 

Week of June 26, 2006

2006 New York State Occupational Licensing Survey

Author: The Legal Action Center

Description: Over one hundred occupations in New York State require some type of license, registration, or certification by a state agency. This survey provides information about statutory restrictions placed on licensure of individuals with criminal records and about the procedures available to appeal a denial of licensure, registration, or certification based on an individual's criminal history.  This survey can assist individuals with criminal records, employment counselors, and others who work with them to identify those State licenses for which they are eligible. (This survey does not cover federal licenses or other federal employment barriers.) The survey shows that there are only a few statutes that automatically bar individuals with criminal records from licensure solely on the basis of past convictions, and most of those statutes provide for lifting the automatic bar when an individual is granted a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities, a Certificate of Good Conduct, or Executive Clemency (pardon).

 

Week of June 19, 2006

The Collateral Consequences of Non-Criminal Adjudications

Author: New York County Lawyer's Association

Description: The New York County Lawyers' Association (NYCLA) has called for the immediate creation of a procedure to address the collateral consequences of non-criminal convictions to petty offenses in a report, The Collateral Consequences of Non-Criminal Adjudications, prepared by its Criminal Courts Task Force. The Report acknowledged the worsening problem of collateral consequences for non-criminals, particularly with the advent of electronic databases. NYCLA's Report suggests two alternative legislative proposals, both designed to directly address the matter.

 

Week of June 12, 2006
Jailhouse Laywer's Handbook: How to Bring a Federal Lawsuit to Challenge Violations of Your Rights in Prison
Author: National Lawyers Guild

Description: This Handbook is a resource for prisoners who wish to file a Section 1983 lawsuit in federal court regarding poor conditions in prison and / or abuse by prison staff. It also contains limited information about legal research and the American legal system. The Handbook is available for free to anyone: prisoners, lawyers, families, friends, activists and others.

Week of June 5, 2006
Re-Entry and Reintegration: The Road to Public Safety
Author: New York State Bar Association (NYSBA)

Description: The New York State Bar Association Special Committee on the Collateral Consequences of Criminal Proceedings has prepared this report on the collateral punishments experienced by New York residents who have been arrested or charged with a criminal offense, whether convicted or not, and the consequences of these punishments on their families, their communities and our society in general.

Week of May 29, 2006

Bureau of Justice Statistics Bulletin: Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear 2005

Author: Bureau of Justice Statistics

Description: At midyear 2005 the Nation’s prisons and jails incarcerated 2,186,230 persons. Prisoners in the custody of the 50 States and the Federal system accounted for two-thirds of the incarcerated population (1,438,701) inmates). The other third were held in local jails (747,529), not including persons in community-based programs.  On June 30, 2005, 1,512,823 prisoners were under Federal and State jurisdiction, which includes inmates in custody and persons under the legal authority of a prison system but held outside its facilities.  The report includes state-by-state as well as national incarceration statistics.

 

Week of May 21, 2006
State Fair Hearings Regarding Fleeing Felon Statutes
Author:

Description: Reentry Net/NY has selected New York State Fair Hearings addressing termination or denial of SSI and SSDI benefits to people who the Social Security Administration finds to be "fleeing to avoid prosecution" for a felony in any state.  These fair hearings are selected from the Fair Hearing Bank on the Western New York Law Center / Empire Justice Center Online Resource Center.

Week of May 15, 2006

Criminal history record check for certain applicants for employment in certain health care facilities and programs

Author: New York State Department of Health

Description: New York Codes, Rules & Regulations Section 400.23 covering criminal history record checks for applicants for employment in certain healthcare facilities and programs, and exclusion of some applicants based on criminal records.  Keep in mind that these exclusions are overridden by Certificates of Relief from Disability and Certificates of Good Conduct. 

 

Week of May 8, 2006

Tips for Judges to Mitigate Collateral Sanctions

Author: The Bronx Defenders

Description: Two-page summary of actions Judges can take to mitigate collateral sanctions of criminal proceedings in the areas of immigration, criminal record access and sealing, order of protection, financial consequences, and certificates of rehabilitation.

 

Week of May 1, 2006
Know Your Rights! Understanding Juvenile & Criminal Records and Their Impact on Employment in New York State
Author: National H.I.R.E. Network of the Legal Action Center
Description:
This booklet was written to educate young people like yourself who have been involved in the New York State juvenile or criminal justice system. It explains some of the challenges you might face when you look for a job and what you can do to lessen, or in some cases remove, some of those barriers. The booklet highlights some of New York’s laws that you should be aware of when looking or applying for a job, such as what type of employers can get your rap sheet, how to get and correct your rap sheet, what you must legally disclose about your criminal history on a job application or in an interview, and what type of criminal records can be sealed. Our hope is that the information inside will give you and those who work with you some of the tools you need to successfully enter and remain in the workforce.

 

Week of April 24, 2006

Occupational Licensing Survey

Author: Legal Action Center

Description: This survey provides information about statutory restrictions placed on licensure based on criminal records and about the procedures available to appeal a denial of licensure, registration, or certification based on an individual's criminal history. This survey can assist people with criminal records, employment counselors, and others who work with them to identify those State licenses for which they are eligible. (This survey does not cover federal licenses or other federal employment barriers.) The survey shows that there are only a few statutes that automatically bar ex-offenders from licensure solely on the basis of past convictions, and most of those statutes provide for lifting the automatic bar when an individual is granted a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities, a Certificate of Good Conduct, or Executive Clemency (pardon).

 

Week of April 17

Women’s Prison Association Housing Toolkit

Author: Women’s Prison Association

Description: WPA’s Housing Toolkit is designed to offer techniques, resources and skills that are helpful in finding housing solutions for individuals and families with criminal justice involvement. We also provide information and resources on major legislation and advocacy that affects the development of public policy in this arena.

 

Week of April 10

Impact of HR 4437 (if enacted) on rights of immigrants who have a criminal record
Author: New York State Defenders Association, Immigrant Defense Project

Description: This Immigration Practice Tip by Manuel D. Vargas outlines the implications of HR 4437, passed by the House of Representatives in December 2005, which will further limit the rights of immigrants with criminal records, and impose criminal penalties on immigrants living and working in the U.S. without documentation of lawful admission.

 

Week of April 3

Model City Policies Removing Unfair Barriers to Employment of People with Criminal Records

Author: National Employment Law Project

Description: The Second Chance Labor Project of the National Employment Law Project has summarized successful citywide initiatives in Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco that limit employment discrimination of people with criminal records in city jobs.

 

Week of March 27

Affidavit in Support of Application for Certificate of Relief From Disability

Author: Center for Community Alternatives

Description: The Center for Community Alternatives has developed a form for an "Affidavit in Support of Application for a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities" to be used in cases where the sentencing Judge may be reluctant to issue a Certificate based only upon the form application or the probation report.

 

Week of March 20

From Arrest to Appeal: A Guide to Criminal Cases in New York

Author: Fund for Modern Courts

DescriptionThorough introduction to the New York State Unified Court System, Introduction to Criminal Cases in New York, Who's Who In The Courtroom, Legal Representation and Assistance, Criminal Justice Process from Arrest to Appeal, Juveniles in the Criminal Justice Process, and Specialized Courts.  Also includes Glossary, additional resources, and references.

 

Week of March 13

 

Expanded Use of Criminal Records and Its Impact On Reentry

Author: Sharon Dietrich, Community Legal Services, Inc., Philadelphia, PA

Description: Paper presented to the American Bar Association Commission on Effective Criminal Sanctions, March 3, 2006.  Overiew of legal framework governing access to criminal records, indicators that criminal records have become more available and more frequently accessed, and discussion of questions related to limiting access, sealing, and correcting criminal record errors.

 

Week of March 6 

A Fact Sheet for Defense Attorneys: Advocating for Transgender Clients

Author: Sylvia Rivera Law Project

Description: 2-page fact sheet developed by Sylvia Rivera Law Project for defense attorneys advocating for transgender clients in New York City addresses Department of Corrections policy change abolishing gay housing at Riker's Island; How best to advocate for transgender clients in court; and How to support policy change.  Includes a list of referrals and references.

 

Week of February 27 

New Financial Penalties Proposed New York State Executive Budget 2006

Author: Center for Community Alternatives

Description: Policy paper from The Center for Community Alternatives on proposed increases to fees, fines, and surcharges associated with criminal proceedings and convictions in New York State.  For a pamphlet on the current financial penalties of criminal proceedings, see Sentencing For Dollars, also from the Center for Community Alternatives. 

 

Week of February 20

 

Arrested?  What Happens to Your Benefits If You Go to Jail or Prison?

Author: Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law

Description: A Guide to Federal Rules on SSI, SSDI, Medicaid, Medicare and Veterans Benefits for Adults with Disabilities, explaining what will happen to your federal benefits if you go to jail or prison, and what you can do to get them back if you are released.

 

Week of February 6 

WebCrims Case Information System: Find Your Next Court Date

Author: New York State Unified Court System

Description: WebCrims provides online access to criminal cases with future appearance dates in all criminal courts in New York City and Nassau and Suffolk Counties, the Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam and Dutchess County Courts, the County Court in Erie County, and the Buffalo City Court. We also display universal summons case information for the five counties of New York City. 

To Use: Click on the WebCrims link.  Where it prompts you to Log In, choose “Log In As a Guest.”  You will be prompted type the word you see on the screen.  Once you are in the Web Crims Information system, choose “Case Searches.”  Enter your name.  WebCrims should find your next court appearance.

 

Week of January 30

Reentry Advocacy and Assistance for Clients With New York State Prison Sentences

Author: Office of the Appellate Defender

Description: This new manual includes a very useful chart of the different types of release (detailing what they are, who is eligible, and how they work); sample release advocacy materials, and tips on conditional release, planning for release, and post-release assistance.

 

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