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Action Alert: Urge Legislature to Use Federal Funds to Restore Cuts to ATI and Re-Entry

April 27, 2010 Leave a comment

ALTERNATIVES TO INCARCERATION AND RE-ENTRY SYSTEM IS ESSENTIAL TO PUBLIC SAFETY AND IMPLEMENTATION OF ROCKEFELLER DRUG LAW REFORM

ENSURE PUBLIC SAFETY, SAVE LIVES AND MONEY, STRENGTHEN FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES

MESSAGE TO LEGISLATORS:

Use available federal funds to restore cuts to Alternatives to Incarceration (ATI) and reentry programs that reduce crime and the prison population and play an essential role in the successful implementation of Rockefeller drug law reform.

Read more…

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“Heads Up!” Cuts Endanger Reforms to Rockefeller Drug Laws

April 15, 2010 Leave a comment

The LAC’s own Anita Marton is quoted in a Capitol News story on how the state’s fiscal problems are threatening  much-needed Alternative to Incarceration programs:

One Year After Passage, Rockefeller Reforms Could Be Gutted By Budget Cuts

More State Budget News

New York state budget late for 15th day as senators squabble (Albany Times Union)

Lawmakers: The parks won’t close, so give us money for now (Albany Times Union)

Action Alert!

Tell Your Lawmakers Not to Cut Funds for Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services

From our partners Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers of New York State

Action Alert! Pressure Legislators to Restore ATI and Re-Entry Funding

April 7, 2010 1 comment

With the budget overdue and the Legislature back in session, lawmakers  could vote any day on budget resolutions. Now is the time to create enormous pressure on both houses to restore Alternatives to Incarceration and Re-entry related funding.

For the message to legislators, see our original action alert on ATI funding.

Action Alert! Senate Moves to Cut Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services

March 24, 2010 Leave a comment

From our partners in the Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Providers coalition (ASAP).

The Senate passed a budget resolution earlier this week that reduces funding to the Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) by millions of dollars. It is expected that the Assembly will soon pass its own resolution, and that the two chambers would then conference to come up with compromise budget that would be sent to the governor.

With the worsening state fiscal picture, we have been focusing our efforts on trying to keep what the governor proposed for OASAS. It is critical that everyone calls their Senator (518-455-2800) and Assembly member (518-455-4100) with the message that we cannot afford to cutting OASAS at a time when we are trying to address implementation of drug law reform and an increasing number of deaths related to opiate overdoses. Please make those calls TODAY.

Read more…

Urgent Action Alert! Call Your Legislators Now to Restore ATI Funding

March 24, 2010 1 comment

With the March 31 budget resolution looming,  the Senate passed its budget resolution on Monday. Now, we need your help: The Assembly may vote on its resolution today, so now is the time to create enormous pressure on both houses to restore Alternatives to Incarceration Re-entry related funding.

MESSAGE TO LEGISLATORS:

Restore damaging cuts to ATI and re-entry programs and continue your critical and longstanding support to protect New York State’s ATI and re-entry infrastructure.  Alternatives to Incarceration (ATI) and re-entry programs play an essential role in the success of Rockefeller drug law reform and are a key element of public safety that makes New York one of the safest states in the country.

BACKGROUND:

New York State’s ATI, re-entry, and related programs have played a key role in designing, developing and implementing safe and effective community-based programs that reduce the use of incarceration, facilitate productive and safe re-entry, and save the State many millions of tax-payer dollars. Yet, the ATI Demonstration Projects received a 12.5% cut during last year’s Deficit Reduction Plan and the Governor’s budget maintains those cuts for the coming year and also proposes cutting other funding for ATI and re-entry by 10%. Additionally, the field has lost critical Byrne and other sources of federal and state funding over the last two years, exactly when ATI and re-entry programs are poised to serve the people and communities who will be impacted by the newly implemented Rockefeller drug law reforms.  The Legislature also needs to continue adding targeted funding to ATI and re-entry programs as it has done for many years.

ACTION:

Please encourage your clients and their families, staff, board members and colleagues in your criminal justice work to call the conference committee members listed below and their own Assemblymember and Senator (Assembly at 518-455-4100, Senate at 518-455-2800) and ask them to protect ATI and re-entry programs, which are essential to public safety and the Backbone of Rockefeller Reform, from cuts that will severely damage programs and services.

Assembly
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver
Senate
Senate Majority Conference Leader John L. Sampson
Joseph R. Lentol (co-chair)

Jeffrion L. Aubry

Roann M. Destito

Helene E. Weinstein

Ruth Hassell-Thompson

Eric T. Schneiderman

Craig M. Johnson

The next step will likely be Assembly and Senate budget conference committees, so call and e-mail through the next few weeks as the Legislature focuses on trying to finalize the budget.

Legislative Update on Expanded Syringe Access Bill (S.5620)

March 12, 2010 Leave a comment
For the last few weeks, LAC and our partners in the field have been updating you about the progress of a bill in the New York Senate that would prevent new HIV and Hepatitis C infections by stopping police harassment of program participants.
Your participation enabled us to move the bill out of the Senate Codes Committee and into the full Senate for a vote. On the day of the vote, advocates of the legislation generated some many calls that Senator John Bonacic (one of the key senators we asked you to call) actually when and met with sponsor Tom Duane about the bill.
Ultimately, the bill was pulled due to a lack of votes, however, we will continue to monitor it and keep you updated. We strongly support this legislation and will fight for its passage in the Senate in the coming months.  Thank you for your support.

ACTION ALERT: NYSCOPBA uses false propoganda to urge legislators to keep empty prisons open!

March 11, 2010 10 comments

From our partner in the ATI and Reentry Coalition, the Fortune Society.

Fortune Society Logo
Money Down the Drain

Please take 2 minutes to call Governor Paterson TODAY at 518.474.8390 and say, “Since the prison population is down, please follow through with the proposal to close the four (4) upstate prisons. NYS should be investing in Alternatives to Incarceration and reentry, not prisons.” In addition, please call your local Assemblyman and Senator with the same message.

Did you know that Governor Paterson, as part of his Executive budget proposal, called for the closing of four more underutilized state prisons as a way to save the state millions of dollars during tough economic times? His decision was guided by extensive research conducted by and recommendations from the NYS Department of Corrections (NYSDOCS) Commissioner Brian Fischer (click here to read Commissioner Fischer’s recent testimony to the NYS legislature).

Unfortunately, what I saw during the ATI/Reentry Coalition Advocacy Day in Albany yesterday reminded me of how the upstate economy and prisons are inextricably intertwined. It was despicable. The Correction Officer Union, NYSCOPBA, has erected a full fledged (400 ft long) presentation on the Conduit of the Legislative Office Building (LOB), complete with a replica of a double-bunked prison cell (dimensions were significantly diminished to make it appear smaller than an actual cell) and FALSE pictures of a severely overcrowded prison in another state (people in prison in NYS wear green and not orange). Union officials were engaging LOB visitors and our state legislators, leading them to believe that the union is truly concerned about prison closures leading to double-bunking and overcrowding. Suddenly, the correction officers have become kinder, gentler and more compassionate about prison conditions? This is the same organization that fights vehemently against any proposed expansion of work-release, compassionate release for the terminally ill, expansion of family visiting hours and additional play areas for children in the visiting rooms!

Unfortunately, NYS prisons continue to serve as a stimulus package for rural upstate prison communities, even when crime is down and the prison population has been reduced by thousands over the past decade. In fact, the NYSDOCS projects the prison population being reduced by an additional 1000 people in 2010-2011. Of course, the other important side of this argument is to examine and provide alternative for the communities that house these facilities, whose local economies largely rely on the jobs these prisons supply and the business they generate in the form of visitors, correctional workers, etc. The building of prisons throughout the 1980s and 1990s created a cycle of dependency on prisons that we are under obligation to break. With the decrease in incarceration rates in NY state, paired with the economic benefits and success rates of ATI’s and other more comprehensive rehabilitation programs, we need to stabilize these rural communities by providing alternative options for economic security and growth.

The David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy strongly urges you to make the calls and ask our governor and legislators to exhibit leadership by closing these facilities as part of the budget process.

All the best,

Glenn

Glenn E. Martin
Vice President

Listings of all NYSDOCS administrative staff

Listings of all NYSDOCS administrative staff, including titles and salaries. These positions have already been reduced at three times the rate of correctional staff.

NYSCOPBA replica of a double bunker prision cell.

NYSCOPBA replica of double-bunked prison cell. Accompanying flyers highlighted that there are thousands of these cells in medium and minimum facilities, most of which are actually dorm settings and don’t have cells at all! Also, because of classification restrictions, NYSDOCS cannot simply transfer a person from a max to a medium facility simply to avoid double-bunking.

NYSCOPBA pictures of alleged overcrowding in NYS prisons

NYSCOPBA pictures of alleged overcrowding in NYS prisons, although people in prison in NYS are forced to wear GREEN, not ORANGE! The prison population in NYS has been reduced by 6000 people over the past four years alone.

NYSCOPBA suggested cell

A kinder, gentler NYSCOPBA suggests that they are truly concerned about the danger of putting two people into one cell, although this has happened in NYS for decades with no such response from the union.

The Fortune Society
David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy (DRCPP)
29-76 Northern Blvd Long Island City, NY 11101
212-691-7554 • www.fortunesociety.org