community Service means Business!

24 September 2010

1 Year Anniversary of Being out. A Warning.

via Prison Talk by bhoney29 on 9/24/10

I am not the best writer, but I want to share my experience as my boyfriend has been out of prison for one year this week.

My boyfriend spent two years in prison. It's hard for me to talk about his crime because to most people it sparks instant judgement.

Here goes. My boyfriend grew up in Michigan and got his Bachelor's degree in Chemistry. He went to Med School to become a doctor, and moved to Wisconsin to do so. During his first year there, he met a girl at a frat party and had a one night stand. The legal age is 18 in Wisconsin and she was not yet 18. Long story short, he got busted.

I knew him long before this ever happened. We dated when we were both 17 and even a little during the first part of college. We broke up and got back together while he was in prison. It was tough! All the letter writing and phone calls, you know how that is never the same as actually being with someone. But somehow we made it...

He was released in September of 2009. Joy! It was a dream. The first week we were on such a high, I can't remember being happier. Ever since then we have been getting along wonderfully and are very much in love.

Some things I noticed about him. He did not mind spending long periods of time "doing nothing". I would get bored and say "let's DO SOMETHING I'm sooo bored!!" while he would be very, very content to just sit around and watch tv. I feel that is a side effect of spending the two years in prison.

Other than that he seemed perfectly normal. No strange habits or emotional problems. He enrolled in school full time and getting his MBA since he can no longer be a doctor. He sees a counselor once a week. He has had no problems abiding by his parole conditions.

To say it very simply, we are doing very well. However, recently there has been a HUGE, very signicant problem. His PO moved and he got a new PO. I'll get to her in a minute.

Almost to the day exactly, one year after his release, a sweep came by the neighborhood to search our house. Twice a year (in Michigan) they can do a full search, police officers and special "techie" people. My boyfriend was at school, but I was home and had to admit that I own a laptop. They searched it, determined that he had not been using it, and left. But she left a note for him to come see her that Friday (3 days later).

This is what I want to say to everyone who is about to have their loved one come home. GET A COPY OF HIS PAROLE RULES AND READ THEM. FOLLOW EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM TO A T, do NOT disobey ANYTHING no. matter. WHAT. For NO REASON, BELIEVE ME. That is my warning.

My boyfriend has never signed a rule saying that there cannot be computers in the house. His PO (who I said I would get to, she is power crazy... I could tell you many stories of what she has said and done to him in the short time he has had her, but that is another story) claims she verbally told him not to have them. I was not aware that me owning a laptop was a violation of his parole conditions. I'm not sure he was even aware, because his old PO knew about my laptop and took no issue with it, as long as it had a password on it and we had a locked area to keep it.

She claims he has violated his parole and has put him in jail. He went to jail today (Friday) and I am to pick him up on Monday morning.

Because his violation occured in Wisconsin, in order for his parole to be revoked they would have to come get him, on their dime. I'm not sure whose decision it would be (judge, parole board, PO????).

His PO is going to send the information (that I had a laptop) to Wisconsin and it will be up to them to decide whether or not to procede with revocation. I think they have a certain time to respond by, but I'm not sure. I'm also unsure why she doesn't keep him locked up until they respond, but I am not about to ask questions. Maybe she knows she doesn't have a case and the overcrowded Wisconsin system would think it a waste of their time to revoke him for such a small incident.


We have done so much together to fix his life, to try to build ours together. He is doing very well in school, he does not use drugs or alcohol. Since his is on the GPS our nights consist of snuggling, moving watchind and board games. Our lives could not be any more wholesome, I would consider him a model parolee (I am biased!). I spent two years fixing my credit so we could buy a house, we worked hard and I ended up buying my first house this year! We moved in over the summer, and we finally felt like we were "building our home" and moving on to a better life.

Please don't take parole for granted. I didn't know his PO had told him "no computers". Know from the begining what he can and can't do. And play by the rules. Do everything you can because keeping your man by your side, physically next to you, is the ultimate goal. I can't tell you how sick I am wondering if I'm going to have the most important part of my life taken away.


One last thing. Nobody is aware of how felons are treated. They don't care. My boyfriend is trying so hard, and he is so well educated and respectful of me and loving towards me. He is really trying to do something with his life. If he is revocated it will ultimatley result in him being even more behind in life, make it even harder for him to finish his education, to get a job and to enter society again as a productive human being.

The country wastes tax payer dollars, thousands per year, keeping him on a GPS unit, money that in our time of economic crisis could be used to put another police officer on the streets to do REAL good. Sending my boyfriend back to prison seems very wrong to me, but nobody will use common sense and realize just how wrong it is.

I feel unheard. I wish there was a way to make the public more aware of situations like this.

Final word. KNOW THE RULES! DON'T TAKE ANYTHING FOR GRANTED! KEEP HIM IN LINE! Kiss him as much as you can. You never know when "they" will be back to take him away.

Posted via email from the Un-Official Southwestern PA Re-Entry Coalition Blog

23 September 2010

Untitled

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Public Policy and External Relations
September 22, 2010
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In this issue:

Cultivating Life Behind Bars

Missouri Tells Judges Cost of Sentences

Inmates Prepare for Outside World Through Reentry Services Program

It's Time to Lift the Ban on Pell Grants for Prisoners

Cultivating Life Behind Bars

By: Sara Schreiber, Officer.com 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Work crews sort trash on the recycle line at Stafford Creek Corrections Center. Photo: Roe Simmons

A number of prisons and correctional facilities today are growing their tomatoes and eating them, too. "Green" prisons that incorporate farming and sustainability programs reap real benefits. Aside from saving money and reducing waste, they are also shown to have enormous impact on the inmates themselves -- involving them in a host of maintenance activities and providing useful job skills upon release. Some even argue the programs go a long way in reducing recidivism. Maybe your corrections facility is looking for ways to cut costs and engage its inmate population. If so, on-site gardens and organic farms are a great place to start. But why stop there? Sustainability and green training initiatives can take on many forms.

Getting green off the ground

   From 1853 to 1979 the Southeast Correctional Institution (SCI) in Lancaster, Ohio had detained adjudicated juveniles, and in 1980 became an adult state correctional facility. Around the same time, the minimum to medium security prison adopted a farming operation that continues to be worked by offenders and supervised by a civilian staff. Now SCI, along with Vera Institute and the Ohio Green Prison Project (OGPP), is developing a pilot project to demonstrate that training incarcerated people to retrofit prisons with energy-efficient green technology can make facilities more cost-effective. The project will provide trainees with job skills to prepare them for careers in the burgeoning green economy, making them more likely to succeed when they return to their communities. The lower operating and energy costs are expected to result in savings for SCI and Ohio taxpayers.

Read More

Missouri Tells Judges Cost of Sentences

By: Monica Davey, The New York Times 

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ST. LOUIS - When judges here sentence convicted criminals, a new and unusual variable is available for them to consider: what a given punishment will cost the State of Missouri.

For someone convicted of endangering the welfare of a child, for instance, a judge might now learn that a three-year prison sentence would run more than $37,000 while probation would cost $6,770. A second-degree robbery, a judge could be told, would carry a price tag of less than $9,000 for five years of intensive probation, but more than $50,000 for a comparable prison sentence and parole afterward. The bill for a murderer's 30-year prison term: $504,690.

Legal experts say no other state systematically provides such information to judges, a practice put into effect here last month by the state's sentencing advisory commission, an appointed board that offers guidance on criminal sentencing.

Read More

Inmates Prepare for Outside World Through Reentry Services Program

By: Amanda Thomas, The Times-Georgian 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ruthie Shelton of the Georgia Department of Corrections speaks to inmates Tuesday at the Carroll County Prison during a Re-Entry Services program ceremony. (Thomas O'Connor/Times-Georgian)

After graduating from the Carroll County NAACP's Re-Entry Services program, 38 inmates returned to their prison lives with new knowledge on how to survive when they return to the outside world.

While not typically a place of celebration, the mood represented at the prison Tuesday night was that of accomplishment as the inmates were congratulated on completing their month in the program, which began on Aug. 17.

The graduates were all smiles as they accepted certificates of completion.

There was no evidence of cliques or animosity toward the system that night as inmates applauded each other on their accomplishments and shared their testimonies on how the program enriched their lives. They talked about finally being provided with a road map that will help guide them on the outside and about the powerful messages they received that inspired them to improve their lives.

Read More

It's Time to Lift the Ban on Pell Grants for Prisoners

By: Jamaal Abdul-Alim, CampusProgress.org 

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Back in 1994, shortly after 22-year-old Seth Ferranti was sentenced to 24 years in prison for his role as the leader of a drug ring, he took advantage of the Federal Pell Grant in order to get a college education while serving his time.

He was among the last wave of American prisoners to do so.

Even though abundant research found that providing a college education for incarcerated individuals greatly lowers their chances of reoffending, conservative lawmakers-with dubious claims that inmates were depriving law-abiding citizens of Pell grants-ignored the research, denigrated the wishes of the late Sen. Claiborne Pell, father of Pell grants, and in 1994 passed legislation that put the kibosh on federal Pell grants for those behind bars.

Ferranti-now 39, holds an A.A. and B.A., and has become a published author-turned to his parents for the money he needed to continue his college education in prison. But most prisoners, Ferranti says, don't have such resources at their disposal and would benefit greatly from having Pell grants restored.

"There needs to be something in place to allow prisoners that have the drive and ambition to get a college degree to get it," Ferranti adds, speaking via e-mail from the Federal Correctional Institution in Loretto, Penn.

Read More

Follow Us on Twitter! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Follow @SaferFoundation on Twitter for more updates on criminal justice news and more information about the organization. We appreciate your support! 

Public Policy and External Relations Contacts

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

B. Diane Williams, President / CEO

Veronica Cunningham, Vice President, Public Policy and External Relations
Kenneth Clarke, Associate Vice President, Development and Marketing

Anthony Lowery, Director, Policy and Advocacy

phone: 312-922-2200

www.saferfoundation.org

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

* Many articles refer to people with criminal records as "ex-offenders" or "offenders". While we appreciate all the positive press these issues receive, we are working to use other terms to describe our clients that do not carry such negative connotations. These terms include "people with criminal records" or "people reentering society".

Posted via email from the Un-Official Southwestern PA Re-Entry Coalition Blog

from the Desk of Debra Germany-Morrison

Hello Everyone,

FYI,

I was recently notified that I will be receiving the Community Service Leadership Award on October 8, 2010. at 6:45 p.m. This will be held at The CAPA High School Performing Arts Theater 111 Ninth Street, Downtown, PA 15222. (See Attached Invitation, Flyer, &  Letter)

I would like to personally extend an invitation to each of you to come out and join me in this celebration and also, join us  in Stopping the Violence in Pittsburgh.  Divine Intervention Ministries and Soul’d Out Productions  wanted to reach out to the families affected by violence and At-Risk Youth committing acts of violence.  We are hosting a Play entitled the Company you Keep.  The Company You Keep is a stage play produced by Soul’d Out Productions that addresses the effects of violence. It will be performed at The Creative and Performing Arts High School (CAPA) Theater from October 8th through October 10, 2010. (See Attachments)

If you know someone in your Family,  Community, Church, or Job, that has been a victim effected by violence or if you know any At- Risk Youth  in your Family,   Church, Community, or Organizations that you are affiliated with, I would encourage  you to invite them to this play.

If you cannot attend the play, but would still like to help out/sponsor someone to attend, please consider making a donation.  The cost of the tickets are $12.00 if you come as my guest.


Our goal is to get the message out to the families and  our young adults that we care about them and that there are other  alternatives to violence.  This play sends a strong message to our young people to Be Careful of the Company you keep.  It will be a night that families can come together and  fellowship knowing that there is still Hope and that Hope is in God.

Please RSVP  at dtm1003@comcast.net or  call 412 303-5043 if you would like to attend the play  or sponsor someone else to attend and I will place your name on my guest list to receive the discounted ticket rate.

Please forward this to all your contacts I need your help getting the word out about this event.

I would like to thank you in advance for your prayers and support.

May God Bless you always,


Debra Germany-Morrison
www.divineinterventionministries.org
412 303-5043

Download now or preview on posterous
SOP Partnership-4.doc (1677 KB)

Posted via email from the Un-Official Southwestern PA Re-Entry Coalition Blog

from the Desk of Debra Germany-Morrison

Hello Everyone,

FYI,

I was recently notified that I will be receiving the Community Service Leadership Award on October 8, 2010. at 6:45 p.m. This will be held at The CAPA High School Performing Arts Theater 111 Ninth Street, Downtown, PA 15222. (See Attached Invitation, Flyer, &  Letter)

I would like to personally extend an invitation to each of you to come out and join me in this celebration and also, join us  in Stopping the Violence in Pittsburgh.  Divine Intervention Ministries and Soul’d Out Productions  wanted to reach out to the families affected by violence and At-Risk Youth committing acts of violence.  We are hosting a Play entitled the Company you Keep.  The Company You Keep is a stage play produced by Soul’d Out Productions that addresses the effects of violence. It will be performed at The Creative and Performing Arts High School (CAPA) Theater from October 8th through October 10, 2010. (See Attachments)

If you know someone in your Family,  Community, Church, or Job, that has been a victim effected by violence or if you know any At- Risk Youth  in your Family,   Church, Community, or Organizations that you are affiliated with, I would encourage  you to invite them to this play.

If you cannot attend the play, but would still like to help out/sponsor someone to attend, please consider making a donation.  The cost of the tickets are $12.00 if you come as my guest.


Our goal is to get the message out to the families and  our young adults that we care about them and that there are other  alternatives to violence.  This play sends a strong message to our young people to Be Careful of the Company you keep.  It will be a night that families can come together and  fellowship knowing that there is still Hope and that Hope is in God.

Please RSVP  at dtm1003@comcast.net or  call 412 303-5043 if you would like to attend the play  or sponsor someone else to attend and I will place your name on my guest list to receive the discounted ticket rate.

Please forward this to all your contacts I need your help getting the word out about this event.

I would like to thank you in advance for your prayers and support.

May God Bless you always,


Debra Germany-Morrison
www.divineinterventionministries.org
412 303-5043

Download now or preview on posterous
SOP Partnership-4.doc (1677 KB)

Posted via email from jimuleda's posterous

22 September 2010

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Posted via email from the Un-Official Southwestern PA Re-Entry Coalition Blog

From the Desk of Leanne Aurich

Hello everyone,

I hope your days are going well.

I want to invite you all to Rankin’s Jazz Brunch and Vocal Contest this Saturday at the Rankin Christian Center from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.  If you don’t have any plans on Saturday morning, I know RCDC would be delighted to have you there (and so would I!).  It wouldn’t be a Jazz Brunch without the band, which this year is the “Kevin Howard Trio.”  And, of course there will be a raffle, 50/50, and food.  Tickets are only $10 and must be purchased in advance. 

Let me know if you’re interested! 

Thank you,

Leanne

Leanne Aurich                                  

Community Outreach Specialist                

412-464-4000 ext. 4031

laurich@monvalleyinitiative.com

Facebook Page

Twitter

www.monvalleyinitiative.com

Mon Valley Initiative

303/305 East Eighth Avenue

Homestead, PA 15120

"You can't climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets."

Posted via email from jimuleda's posterous

From the Desk of Leanne Aurich

Hello everyone,

I hope your days are going well.

I want to invite you all to Rankin’s Jazz Brunch and Vocal Contest this Saturday at the Rankin Christian Center from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.  If you don’t have any plans on Saturday morning, I know RCDC would be delighted to have you there (and so would I!).  It wouldn’t be a Jazz Brunch without the band, which this year is the “Kevin Howard Trio.”  And, of course there will be a raffle, 50/50, and food.  Tickets are only $10 and must be purchased in advance. 

Let me know if you’re interested! 

Thank you,

Leanne

Leanne Aurich                                  

Community Outreach Specialist                

412-464-4000 ext. 4031

laurich@monvalleyinitiative.com

Facebook Page

Twitter

www.monvalleyinitiative.com

Mon Valley Initiative

303/305 East Eighth Avenue

Homestead, PA 15120

"You can't climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets."

Posted via email from the Un-Official Southwestern PA Re-Entry Coalition Blog

20 September 2010

Poverty Rise Stirs Debate Over Aid Programs (National Public Radio, 09.16.2010)

via National Alliance to End Homelessness by National Alliance to End Homelessness on 9/20/10

The recession drove the number of poor Americans in 2009 to its highest total in half a century, yet several measures indicate the impact could well have been worse.

While the Census Bureau's report Thursday on the economic conditions of U.S. households found that 3.8 million more people lived in poverty last year than in 2008, the agency and advocates for the poor say millions of others were sustained with the help of government programs.

Advocates cite federal stimulus initiatives aimed at low-income earners and the extension of unemployment benefits, which alone are credited with helping keep 3.3 million people out of poverty.

Social Aid, Economic Stimulus

Advocacy groups say the results provide a strong argument for continuing these programs not only as social aid but as a proven method for stimulating the economy.

"The thing about these programs is that they target low-income people, and that money goes back into the economy because they are most likely to spend whatever extra money they get," says LaDonna Pavetti of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. "And history shows that poverty levels don't go down until unemployment levels go down. So the worst thing that can happen is to end these programs before we're done needing them."

The findings carry political implications for the Nov. 2 congressional elections, which are expected to be a referendum on such economic policies pushed through by President Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress.

Gaining momentum from voters frustrated about the economy, Republicans have staked their Election Day ambitions on attacking the Democrats' deficit spending.

As part of its counterstrategy, the White House followed the Census Bureau report with a statement claiming credit for helping to mitigate poverty rates.

"The data released today also remind us that a historic recession does not have to translate into historic increases in family economic insecurity," Obama said in the statement. "Because of the Recovery Act and many other programs providing tax relief and income support to a majority of working families — and especially those most in need — millions of Americans were kept out of poverty last year."

'The Wrong Direction'

Fiscal conservatives say Obama has simply continued costly social aid programs that haven't solved the problem.

"Welfare spending is 13 times bigger than when the war on poverty began, in the 1960s," says Jennifer Marshall of the Heritage Foundation. "Aid to the poor is now the third most expensive government function, and yet we're seeing plans to spend $10.3 trillion over next 10 years. And yet seeing the indicators that poverty continues to go in the wrong direction."

A study released Thursday by the foundation blamed poverty on an increase in single-parent households and entitlement programs that prioritize benefits for unwed parents. The report advocates reducing "anti-marriage penalties" among other initiatives to, as Marshall says, "restore the culture of marriage."

The Recovery Act contained a raft of initiatives aimed at low-income earners such as child tax credits, increased food stamp benefits and emergency block grants issued to states that have helped create about 250,000 subsidized jobs. Advocates are urging the Senate to extend the block grants before they expire on Sept. 30.

Unemployment Benefits Helped

The larger impact on curbing the growth of poverty came from Congress' decision to extend emergency funding to help states continue paying unemployment insurance benefits. Heavy job losses in dozens of states had depleted unemployment insurance funds by early last year.

Unemployment insurance was more effective against poverty than in past years because Congress improved benefits for the longer-term jobless and approved the $25 weekly increase in jobless benefits temporarily granted by the Recovery Act.

Still, the Census Bureau report revealed the broadly harsh impact of last year's downturn.

More than 43.6 million people were impoverished in 2009 — or roughly 1 in every 7 — a 1 percent increase from the year earlier and the largest number recorded in 51 years. The 14.3 percent poverty rate is the highest since 1994 and the third consecutive annual increase.

Poverty rates increased among all racial and ethnic groups, except Asians, across all family structures and all geographic regions except in the Northeast. In addition, the number of uninsured rose.

Given the soaring unemployment rates over the past 16 or so months, most analysts projected poverty rates as high as 15 percent. Many of them also had forecast a decline in median household income, but the Census Bureau said it remained statistically flat, at $49,777.

Moving Back Home

The report also notes a large increase of people who coped with misfortune by bunking with relatives, or "doubling up." For these households, the poverty rate was 17 percent, but it doesn't capture the dire financial conditions of individuals who moved in with family members to save money.

"If you counted the people who moved in — who needed the help — their own poverty level would have been 44.2 percent," said Timothy M. Smeeding, director of the Institute for Poverty Research at the University of Wisconsin.

Smeeding found a particularly dramatic increase in poverty among people ages 25 to 34 who moved in with parents or other relatives. "For those households," he says, "the poverty rate was 8.5 percent. But if young adults' income is taken separately, their poverty rate would have been 42.8 percent. That's an important group."

Posted via email from jimuleda's posterous

Questions or answers

via Seth's Blog by Seth Godin on 9/20/10

You can add value in two ways:

  • You can know the answers.
  • You can offer the questions.

Relentlessly asking the right questions is a long term career, mostly because no one ever knows the right answer on a regular basis.

Posted via email from the Un-Official Southwestern PA Re-Entry Coalition Blog

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