December 9, 2015

GUEST: James Kilgore

GUEST: James Kilgore, writer and social justice activist who spent six years in prison, talks about one of the books he wrote while behind bars: "Understanding Mass Incarceration: A People's Guide to the Key Civil Rights Struggle of Our Time." 
The interview can be heard this Thursday at 5 pm at 91.3 FM, or streamed live from It will also be posted on the ClassWars website for the next six weeks. Simply click on the date to
hear it.

December 6, 2015

Dec 7 forum in Kingston

Youth Empowerment Forum

December 7th – 6:30pm
Old Dutch Church 

272 Wall St. Kingston, NY

Don’t miss this opportunity to meet, discuss, share concerns and receive information pertaining to your rights during encounters with law enforcement!

City of Kingston Mayor - Shayne Gallo

KPD Chief - Egidio Tinti

Ulster County Public Defenders - Andrew Kossover

Ulster County Probation - Trish Cina
Community Forum Sponsored by 
Ulster County Youth Bureau and ENJAN (End New Jim Crow Action Network

November 29, 2015

Poughkeepsie ENJAN change of Dec meetings

Poughkeepsie ENJAN,

Due to the holidays (both Thanksgiving and the winter holidays), ENJAN Poughkeepsie will need to follow a modified schedule for the rest of the year, instead of our normal second and fourth Wednesday of the month. The new schedule is as follows:

Wednesday, December 2nd (ie, next week)
Wednesday, December 18th
Wednesday, December 30th 

In January, we will resume our normal schedule.

All of the meetings will be in our normal location in the Sadie Peterson Delaney African Roots Library, at our usual time of 6 pm.

My apologies for those of you who got this email twice. Since I wanted to make sure everyone knew, I have sent it to both the planning-only Poughkeepsie-specific list and the larger, general discussion list. Some of you are subscribed to both.

Happy Holidays.


November 20, 2015

Local artist selected for NYC art show

OR DO THEY? (mixed media)
Local Woodstock artist, Nic Abramson, will display his work at the
Phoenix Gallery on West 28th St, NY. The opening is scheduled for
Thursday, January 7th, and the show is entitled "What's Right,
What's Left: Democracy in America."

November 12, 2015

ENJAN - Poughkeepsie

"Jeff has just informed me that the entire Partnership Center building is closed today because of Veterans' Day, so we cannot meet. Our next meeting would normally be two weeks from now, the 25th, but that's the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, also a difficult day to have a meeting.

So let's have our next meeting the 18th, a week from today. Today's meeting is cancelled, and we'll probably end up cancelling the one on the 25th as well.

See you next week! We'll have some exciting agenda items, including discussion of the election results and the possibility of getting a grant to bring out an activist theater group working to stop mass incarceration."


Monday, Nov. 23, ROSENDALE: The End The New Jim Crow Action Network (ENJAN) will meet 6-8 p.m.  at the Rosendale Cafe. The meetings in December we will resume at New Pro in Kingston. ENJAN is a Hudson Valley network dedicated to fighting racist policies of racial profiling, police brutality, and mass incarceration. Information, (845) 475-8781 or

October 22, 2015

Beyond the Bars, open until Nov 7 in Catskill

“Beyond the Bars.” September 12 through November 7, 2015. Opening Reception, Saturday September 26, 5-7 pm, GCCA Catskill Gallery, 398 Main Street, Catskill, NY.  Gallery Hours: M-F 10-5, Sat. 12-5. FREE, 518-943-3400.

September 30, 2015

September 19, 2015

Cornel West at Marist Sept 30

Dr. Cornel West on Race, Class & Justice in America: Where Are We Now?
Wed, Sept 30 at 7:00 p.m.
McCann Center Arena at Marist College, Poughkeepsie

Marist College is very pleased to launch the 2015 Autumn Academic Lecture Series on September 30 at 7:00 p.m. with a lecture by one of this country's most provocative voices on the topic of race, Dr. Cornel West. Widely regarded as one of the most important intellectuals on race relations in the United States, West has been hailed by the New York Times for his "ferocious moral vision and astute intellect." Dr. West has authored more than 20 books, including the highly regarded and best-selling Race Matters and Democracy Matters. Known for his skillful oratory and as an outspoken advocate for racial justice, Dr. West is a frequent guest on television shows of Bill Maher, Steven Colbert, C-SPAN, and many others. He has appeared in more than 25 documentaries and made his feature film debut in The Matrix. Dr. West was a tenured professor at Harvard and is professor emeritus at Princeton University and professor of philosophy and Christian practice at Union Theological Seminary.

This past year has witnessed growing awareness in the nation of continued problems in urban America, the ongoing racial tensions that continue to exist, and the alarming and tragic number of shootings of unarmed black men. President Murray, in his memo to the campus community on September 10, 2015, charged the academic area of the college, including our faculty and academic leaders, "to engage our students directly in the national conversation on race and urban challenges." I believe there would be no more appropriate launch to this important discussion than Dr. West's lecture.

September 15, 2015

Criminal Justice Reform/Alternatives to Jail Expansion join my Jobs Not Jails organization, E.N.J.A.N. (End the New Jim Crow Action Network), and our Real Majority Project Saturday, Sept. 26th at 10 am at the Family Partnership Center Lateef Islam Memorial Auditorium at 29 North Hamilton Street in Poughkeepsie (12601) for a follow-up open and public forum I'll be facilitating:

"Criminal Justice Reform/Alternatives to Jail Expansion: State-of-the-Art, Cutting-Edge Best Practices from Across the U.S."

Speakers will include the following (list growing!):

-- Odell Winfield and Geri Wilmott of

-- Soffiyah Elijah, Executive Director, Correctional Association of NY--

-- Dr. Vanda Seward, Program Administrator for the Kings County Re-Entry Task Force and Director for the nationally known ComAlert program-- recognized in NYTimes editorial eight years ago and by Harvard as being incredibly effective in drastically lowering the recidivism rate there:

-- Rita Zimmer, founder and Executive Director of Housing Plus Solutions-- see
(thx tons to Geri Wilmott for her PoJo column on this)

-- Elisabeth Swavola, Vera Institute Senior Program Associate at the Center on Sentencing and Corrections

-- Kevin Kelly
, Tompkins County Opportunities for Alternatives and Resources Board President

September 12, 2015

Angela Davis to speak Wed at Vassar (open to public)

Social justice icon and political activist Angela Davis to speak in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of Vassar’s Women’s Studies Program.

Angela Davis, a social justice icon of the 1960s and 1970s who went from the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted” list to a distinguished career as a professor and author, will speak at Vassar College to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Women’s Studies Program. Her talk, “Our Feminisms: From #occupy to #sayhername,” will address the past, present and future of women’s studies.

Davis’s lecture will be held on Wednesday, September 16, 5:30 pm, in the Chapel. This event is free and open to the public.

Recently, an overriding theme of her work has been the range of social problems associated with incarceration and the generalized criminalization of those communities that are most affected by poverty and racial discrimination. Davis is a founding member of Critical Resistance, a national organization dedicated to the dismantling of the prison industrial complex (a term she helped to popularize). Internationally, she is affiliated with Sisters Inside, an abolitionist organization based in Queensland, Australia that works in solidarity with women in prison.

September 11, 2015

DC protest of Cheney's call for war

Man Fails To Rip Banner Away From Dick Cheney Protester Half His Size

Here is Michaela Anang after she emerged from the building.

Vets For Peace joined Code Pink for the event. Picture by Ellen Davidson

September 10, 2015

Arrest rates for area communities

USA Today Police Survey

(Blacks arrested 4.1 times more often than non-Blacks)

(Blacks arrested 3.66 times more often than non-Blacks)

(Blacks arrested 1.96 times more often than non-Blacks)

(Blacks arrested 3.1 times more often than non-Blacks)

(Blacks arrested 4.4 times more often than non-Blacks)

September 9, 2015

Talk on the Drug War



ODELL WINFIELD 914 388 3092
Views expressed above are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect ENJAN positions.

September 3, 2015

Community Groups to Protest Freeman’s Fatal Accident Coverage

 Several community organizations will participate in a demonstration at 3:00 p.m., Tuesday, September 8, 2015, in front of the Daily Freeman’s Building on Hurley Avenue, Kingston.
The demonstrators will protest of the newspaper’s initial coverage of the four area young men, Kaireem Marks, Jr., Jante Clark, Adam McQueen and Dante Crump, who were killed in an automobile accident in Saugerties on August 26. The story included the criminal records of some of the victims. That information, however, was subsequently deleted from the newspaper’s website following an immediate outpouring of community denunciations.
Rev. G. Modele Clarke, president of the Ministers’ Alliance of Ulster County, said the inclusion of the victims’ criminal records was grossly insensitive and irresponsible.
“It appears to be a knee-jerk reaction to criminalize and diminish the lives of black victims after these tragic events,” Clarke said. “We saw it in Ferguson, last year with Michael Brown, in Staten Island with Eric Garner and several other similar instances across the country.”
Odell Winfield, president, of End Jim Crow Action Network (ENJAN), said the newspaper’s decision to include the victims’ criminal record was ill-advised.
“Releasing that type of information while the community is hurting so deeply is not only insensitive, it tends to devalue the lives of these four young men,” Winfield said.
Several community organizations are sponsoring this demonstration. They include: The Ministers’ Alliance of Ulster County; Kingston Council of Churches; End New Jim Crow Action Network (ENJAN) Citizens Action of New York and Midtown Rising.     
For further information, contact Rev. G. Modele Clarke: 914-388-0671 

Joel Tyner invitation

Hi ENJAN folks!...

Pls if you can join me today (Thursday, Sept. 3rd) at 3:30 pm for a Public Hearing on the Criminal "Justice" System in Dutchess County I'm hosting-- in our County Legislature's Chambers on the sixth floor of our County Office Building at 22 Market Street in Poughkeepsie.

Facebook event link for today's event: .

Fact: Inmate after inmate after inmate inside the Dutchess County Jail are killing themselves; even NYS Commission on Correction has exposed the notorious Corizon Resources (Correctional Medical Care) for improper mental care and negligence-- why is this company still getting our tax dollars?...see .

Correctional Medical Care (Corizon Resources) received $3.041,165.12 in county jail contract in 2014.

Correctional Medical Care (Corizon Resources) received $3,946, 505.56 in county jail contract in 2013. ...

Fact: 44% of Dutchess Jail inmates are African-American-- though African-Americans make up less than 11% of county population, according to Dutchess County Jail Administrator George Krom (and long ago Dutchess GOP eliminated funding for our county's Human Rights Commission to investigate this).

Fact: There are 36 Dutchess County Jail inmates now charged merely with nonviolent drug possession (that is their only charge-- just nonviolent drug possession), according to Dutchess County Jail Administrator George Krom.

Fact: 80% of Dutchess County Jail inmates haven't gone to trial (according to Public Defender's office), according to Dutchess County Jail Administrator George Krom.

Fact: Over 37% of Dutchess County Jail inmates now have been charged merely with misdemeanors, according to Dutchess County Jail Administrator George Krom.

Fact: There are 15 Dutchess County Jail inmates with bail set at $2000 or less-- needlessly locked up, according to Dutchess County Jail Administrator George Krom.

Fact: 80 percent of Dutchess County Jail inmates have substance abuse or mental health issues, according to Dutchess County Jail Administrator George Krom and the Dutchess County Criminal Justice Council.

Fact: Over 130 18-year-old's and younger are now incarcerated annually in the Dutchess County Jail, according to Dutchess County Jail Administrator George Krom.

Fact: County funding was recently eliminated by Dutchess GOP for the Dutchess County Youth Bureau Project Return program for at-risk youth, and there no longer is a Big Brothers Big Sisters, YMCA, or YWCA in Dutchess County-- or county funding for the Green Teen (CCEDC) program in the City of Poughkeepsie (in spite of public promises last May from Molinaro before the Co. Leg. to fund youth programs).

September 2, 2015

Third Community Policing Forum Scheduled

Rev. Dr. G. Modele Clarke, President 
Rev. Arthur L. Coston, Sr., Treasurer 
Rev. Jim Childs, Chair Advisory Board  

Ministers’ Alliance of Ulster County
8 Hone Street * Kingston, NY 12401       845-339-0773

Third Community Policing Forum Scheduled:
The Community and the Police, How Is It Going?

The Ministers’ Alliance of Ulster County will host its Third Forum on Community Policing. 

The Community and the Police
Tuesday, September 8th,
6:30 PM
New Progressive Baptist Church, 8 Hone Street, Kingston

Panel: Kingston Police Chief Egidio Tinti and Kingston Mayor Shayne Gallo

The reason for the third community/police forum is find out what progress has been made by the Kingston Police Department on issues previously raised by community members.  It will also include new community concerns to be brought to the attention of Chief Tinti and Mayor Gallo.

These ongoing forums have begun the transformational process of developing an effective community policing environment in the City of Kingston.

Come out and let your voices be heard.

September 1, 2015

'Ban The Box' in Kingston

Last night at Kingston Common Council Caucus, two resolutions Alderman Brad Will  sponsored and shepherded through the Laws & Rules Committee were approved without opposition by the eight Aldermen present:

Resolution #186 of 2015 to 'Ban The Box' will effectively reduce the chance of recidivism for rehabilitated individuals and provide them with a fair chance / 2nd chance at employment to support their families. This Committee Report was motioned by W4 Alderman Nina Dawson (D) and seconded by W9 Alderman Debbie Brown (R). I want to thank all the residents and citizens of Kingston (Barb StemkeCassandra BurkeOdell Winfield and many others) and beyond for their strong support and perseverance on this important issue. As a result of your hard work - and once details are worked out with our Civil Service Commission - Kingston will join Newburgh, New York City, Rochester, and Buffalo in the State as leaders in banning the box.

Thank you for working together to Ban the Box in Kingston.

Barbara Stemke

August 30, 2015

Poughkeepsie action against DA Grady

DA William Grady: Prosecute The Beat Up Squad

When people of color are mistreated or killed in the prison system, the perpetrators usually go free. This week in Poughkeepsie, NY, the family and friends of Samuel Harrell who was killed by a prison ‘Beat Up Squad’demonstrated to demand justice. Shandrae Delaney, mother of ‘Dallas 6′ prisoner Carrington Keys writes about her son and his allies who fight for the rights of prisoners from the inside and who have been punished and tortured for it. Now they are facing riot charges while though were in solitary confinement.

August 21, 2015

Stand with Ismail Shabazz Sept. 9th


On June 26th, 2015, many of us were shocked to learn of the home invasion and arrest of one of Kingston’s best-known human rights activists ISMAIL SHABAZZ.  The inscription on the Community Service Award presented to Ismail Shabazz from Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. says it all in a nutshell  --  “In recognition and appreciation of his educational and legal advocacy on behalf of the poor and youth in Kingston, New York.”  

Shabazz has been an outspoken critic of corruption in all its forms.  At a fairly recent community forum, which included dialoging with Kingston’s police chief and the district attorney, Shabazz raised the issue of rogue cops and the government turning its cheek.  

His arrest on a 16 count indictment in part alleging that he was selling weapons to an FBI informant, so soon after the forum, sent shockwaves throughout the community.  In Ismail’s own prophetic words, “True Leaders are being attacked, jailed or murdered because they speak that truth of how we as a people need to come together in Unity. “

We will not repeat the inflammatory reporting by the local press.  We stand by the comments of Attorney Michael Sussman who believes Ismail Shabazz was entrapped by an FBI informant/felon thought to be a friend and ally.  

On July 17, about sixty people appeared at a hearing at the Ulster County Courthouse to show solidarity with Shabazz.  Attorney Sussman believes that this strong showing was crucial in Shabazz shortly thereafter being released on $100,000 bail. Also very helpful were some of the comments by Judge Williams acknowledging Shabazz for his many years of community service.
Let us all stand strong with Shabazz at his next court appearance on September 9th, 9 am.

Ismail Shabazz with his renowned civil rights attorney Michael Sussman
  “To fight against corruption we must form unity with others no matter what their race.”


August 15, 2015

Weekly local radio show on Ferguson

A weekly show which focuses on issues of justice in the U.S. Empire and abroad—hosted by Susan Smith. #IndependentRadio LIVE-WEDS 12-1pm EST

Guests: Bassem Masri, Umar Lee, and Talal Ahmad - hosted by Susan Smith.

August 13, 2015

Join us at 7 pm this Tuesday, Aug 18

Conference Room 1 at Kingston City Hall, 420 Broadway

This is it! The Kingston Common Council "Laws and Rules Committee" will again hear ENJAN members and the community urge the Committee to support removing the questions of criminal history from the Kingston civil service employment application.

The committee will hear us at 7 pm this Tuesday, August 18 and they will VOTE on the proposal that evening. We need you to come to add your voice for a "fair chance" civil service application. We are asking for the removal of Questions 6 D and 6 E on the application. 6D is Have you ever been convicted of any crime (felony or misdemeanor)? 6E is Are you now under charges for any crime? 

The Kingston civil service employment application is used to fill positions with the municipality of Kingston, the Kingston Consolidated School District, the Kingston Area Library and the Kingston Housing Authority. It is very important that our "returning citizens" have a fair chance when they apply for employment with these employers.

August 3, 2015


#Law4BlackLives conference a ground-breaking event

Over 600 people from across the country came together on Friday and Saturday to help vision and build the legal arm of the burgeoning Black Lives Matter movement. The #Law4BlackLives Read the full program here.) The historic conference was kicked off on Thursday night with a special screening and talk back in the BJI Freedom Flicks series, showing “Concerning Violence: Nine Scenes from the Anti-Imperialist Self-Defense.” In the last year, led by BJI Director Purvi Shah, CCR has played a crucial role in helping build legal infrastructure and local support systems in Ferguson and Baltimore in the wake of the local uprisings after the police killings of Michael Brown and Freddie Gray. #Law4BlackLives was about continuing and broadening that work by bringing together the people who can make it happen – who are making it happen! Key plenaries at the conference were livestreamed, and are archived here. Photos from the conference are on the CCR blog.

July 22, 2015

Ferguson to Palestine radio show on WVKR

WVKR, 91.3 FM. 
Vassar College's independent radio station.

"From Ferguson To Palestine"
Wed, July 22, 12 – 1 pm

Weekly on Wednesday

From Ferguson To Palestine is a weekly talk show concerning issues of social justice and racial equity in the United States and abroad.  Hosted by Susan Smith and Daniel Aguilar, and incorporating interviews and discussions from grassroots activists.

To listen to the program from 12 - 1 pm every Wednesday:

July 14, 2015

Bermanzohn Talk in Kingston

On 7/14 at 6pm at New Progressive Baptist Church Paul Bermanzohn will lead a very exciting  discussion on the history of how America developed the war on drugs. Paul will connect Michelle Alexander`s  book THE NEW JIM CROW with America`s war on drug.

July 10, 2015

July 2, 2015

Bringing down the Confederate flag

Over the weekend, a young freedom fighter and community organizer mounted an awe-inspiring campaign to bring down the Confederate battle flag. Brittany “Bree” Newsome, in a courageous act of civil disobedience, scaled a metal pole using a climbing harness, to remove the flag from the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol. Her long dread locks danced in the wind as she descended to the ground while quoting scripture. She refused law enforcement commands to end her mission and was immediately arrested along with ally James Ian Tyson, who is also from Charlotte, North Carolina.

June 22, 2015

VFP solidarity

Photo and story by Ellen Davidson

VFP Members Make Solidarity
Visit to Black Church

Three members of Veterans For Peace went to services at the mostly African-American New Progressive Baptist Church in Kingston, N.Y., June 21 to express sympathy and solidarity in the wake of the racist shootings at the  Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., June 17.

Woodstock, N.Y., VFP President Jay Wenk presented flowers and a card with VFP's statement on the killings to "NewPro" pastor Rev. Dr. G. Modele Clarke, who said, "You have no idea how moving that is." As Jay noted that the bouquet was in sympathy for the massacre, a member of the congregation asked, "The one in South Carolina?" Jay's response, "All of them," was met with shouts of approval.

Rev. Clarke's call to worship that morning stressed turning anger at the killings at "Mother Emanuel" into concrete action, saying "Talk is cheap … [you have to] put some feet on the talk, some feet on the faith." When he asked the congregation if they were familiar with the contoversy about the Confederate flag flying over the South Carolina statehouse, Rita Worthington spoke from the pews, saying "I understand why it is a flag of legacy for some, but for us it is a legacy of hate … a legacy of white supremacy."

The VFP members got an ethusiastic welcome from the regular church-goers, who urged them to come back any time. "Your message about the importance of action really resonated with us," VFP National Board member Tarak Kauff told Rev Clarke, who uses his post to promote social justice, in particular prison outreach and street ministry.

June 20, 2015

Stand With Charleston Solidarity Action

Thursday, June 25
at 6:30 pm

A vigil to commemorate the nine Black people killed in a horrific act of white supremacist terror at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
Corner of Market and Main St., Poughkeepsie

June 15, 2015

Congratulations to Kingston ENJAN (End the New Jim Crow Action Network) and our friends and allies. The Juneteenth Committee would like to give special thanks to Colia Clark, our speaker, to New Progressive Baptist Church, Reverend G. Modele Clarke, the New Pro Choir members of the church congregation, the Woodstock Jewish Congregation Task Force to End the New Jim Crow, the LGB TQ Task Force to Undo Institutional Racism and Mass Incarceration, Undoing Racism, Citizen Action, Center 4 Creative Education, Poughkeepsie ENJAN and the family Of Shane Watson. Thank you to the Hudson Valley and surrounding areas (including NYC and Albany) for attending and making our Juneteenth celebration a true community event! Also we thank Jim Peppler for his outstanding photos 

To see photos go to http:

June 14, 2015

Rally for a wage that meets basic needs!

Thu, June 18 at 9:30 AM
733 Main St, Poughkeepsie (in front of McDonalds)

Join us at the Main St McDonalds in Poughkeepsie as fast food workers and their allies call upon the Wage Board to raise the minimum wage of fast food workers to $15/hour. The press conference will begin at 9:30am.

Due to the state senate's inaction following years of organizing and mobilization by fast food workers and their allies, Governor Cuomo has established a three-person wage board to examine the wages of fast food workers across the state, which will hold a public hearing in Albany on June 22nd.

This is a critical moment for fast food workers and low-wage workers across the state. Gov. Cuomo has only put together this wage board because of the actions that workers and community groups have taken to demand a higher minimum wage - so we need to keep the pressure on.

Community members in Poughkeepsie who care about this issue will come together at the Main St McDonalds in Poughkeepsie to call on the Wage Board to do the right thing by raising the wage to $15. We will also call on our State Senator Sue Serino to do the same by supporting legislation to raise the minimum wage. Together, we will rally and gear up to go to the public hearing of the Wage Board on June 22nd in Albany, NY.

June 9, 2015

Forum on police in Newburgh


A forum on “Strengthening Police and Community Relations” will be held in the Auditorium of the Newburgh Free Library, 124 Grand St. on Wed., June 10 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Presentations will be offered on community policing, body cameras, minority hiring, responding to mental illness and
the Police Community Relations and Review Board (PCRRB). A question and answer period will follow.

Speakers include Acting Chief Cameron, Corey Allen from Newburgh Police and Community Relations and Victor Michaels from Exodus: Newburgh Extension (ENE). The free forum is sponsored by the City of Newburgh Police Department, Newburgh Free Library, Police Community Relations Board and Exodus: Newburgh Extension. No registration is required. 845-569-8965

Hope to see you there.

Peace in the community,


June 8, 2015

 The Community and the Police
Tuesday, June 9th,
7:00 PM
New Progressive Baptist Church
8 Hone St., Kingston

Panelists: Kingston Police Chief Egidio Tinti;Kingston Mayor Shane Gallo; Ulster County District Attorney Holley Carnright; and members of the Kingston Police Commission.

The reason for this second community forum is to see if any of the questions asked by the community during the first forum have been addressed by the panelists.

Our justice system is broken. Black and brown men are endangered by the police. We need to explain all this to our elected and appointed officials.

We must insure that the police learn to use restraint with their lethal weapons.

We must insist that the police join with us to develop Community Policing and to build healthier relationships and trust with the communities they serve.

Let your voices be heard.

May 21, 2015


June 13
With Colia Liddell LaFayette Clark, a Shining Light in the Civil Rights Movement Then and Now
The Day We Celebrate African Americans’ Freedom From Slavery
Event:  Kingston’s 3rd Juneteenth Celebration, With Special Tributes to Robin Dassie, Recreation Leader City of Kingston and Ben Wigfall, former SUNY New Paltz professor and artist
Date:  Saturday, June 13, 2015
Place:  New Progressive Baptist Church, 8 Hone Street, Kingston, New York
Time:  Starting Promptly at 5 PM
Keynote Speaker:  Colia Liddell Lafayette Clark, National Voter Rights Hall of Fame
Entertainment:  New Pro Choir and Josh Otero, a master at using Poetry and Hip Hop to help change consciousness 
Sponsors: New Progressive Baptist Church and Kingston ENJAN (End the New Jim Crow Action Network) 
Free:         Including a delicious southern style dinner
Interview: Colia Clark, 917-530-3505 
Info:         Odell Winfield, 914-388-3092

May 19, 2015

Vigil in Poughkeepsie, Thursday, May 21

There will be a vigil in Poughkeepsie this Thursday at 5:30 pm at the corner of Market and Main, for black women and girls killed by police. The vigil is part of a national day of action called by Black Youth Project 100. The vigil is being organized by our friends and allies in Dutchess Ferguson Action/Black Lives Matter, who also organized the action in front of the jail and the die-in in the Poughkeepsie Galleria this past winter. From the Facebook event page:

"Join us on May 21st, a national day of action to end state violence against Black women called by the Black Youth Project 100. This will be a vigil in remembrance of black women and girls murdered by the police and an act of solidarity with the #SayHerName and #BlackLivesMatter movements. 

If the loss of their lives matters; 
If the grief of their families matters; 
If the impunity with which all Black lives can be taken matters;
Then we cannot allow these tragedies to remain unmarked, silenced and forgotten."

May 14, 2015

Why we don't need a 200 million new jail

WHEREAS, according to former Dutchess County Comptroller Diane Jablonski, New York City has embarked upon an effort to significantly reduce the length of stay in jail, modeled on a successful program in the Bronx that includes collaboration among judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, correction officials, and other participants in the justice system; the Dutchess County Criminal Justice Council recommended in 2012 that such needless delays in processing accused/inmates should be rectified, and

WHEREAS, according to our county's Public Defender, 80 percent of Dutchess County Jail inmates have merely been charged (they haven't gone to trial or been sentenced/convicted), land over 63 percent of inmates have been charged with misdemeanors (22.7%) or nonviolent felonies (40.5%), and

WHEREAS, the Poughkeepsie Journal recently reported that there are over sixty state parole violators in jail, many of them incarcerated merely for failing a urine test; according to the National Institute of Corrections, they could and should be safely in halfway houses for $65/day instead of much more being incarcerated in the Dutchess County Jail, and

WHEREAS, the Dutchess County Executive recently committed publicly to make sure mentally ill here in Dutchess are no longer arrested and incarcerated in our County Jail by making sure all law enforcement officers in Dutchess County get Crisis Intervention Training and putting into place services for the mentally ill; according to the Dutchess County Criminal Justice Council, literally 80 percent of Dutchess County Jail inmates have substance abuse or mental health issues, and

WHEREAS, diverting mentally ill from arrest and jail greatly lessens any perceived "need" for jail expansion; Miami-Dade County saves $12 million a year by diverting mentally ill from arrest and jail and was able to shut down one of their jails there for this reason (because they lowered their jail census from 7800 inmates to 4800 inmates this way), and San Antonio (Bexar County/TX) saves $8 million a year by diverting mentally ill from arrest and jail; they literally had 800 empty jail beds after they foolishly went ahead with jail expansion anyway, according to a public statement by Steve Miccio, Ex. Dir. of People, Inc. at a Dutchess CJC forum in January, and

WHEREAS, there are now approximately sixty women currently incarcerated in the Dutchess County Jail, or in jail "pods", or being housed out as inmates to other county jails in New York State, and the Dutchess County Criminal Justice Council recommended alternative housing for many of these women, and

WHEREAS, in Brooklyn, Housing + Solutions, Inc. and District Attorney Kenneth Thompson operate a diversion program for women with children; at Drew House, families have separate apartments and receive therapy or other treatment; typically women stay for 18 months to two years and leave without a criminal record, with a yearly cost of $35,000 per family compared to $135,000 or more for incarceration and foster care; a Columbia University team concluded the plan should be scaled up and replicated, and

WHEREAS, according to the U.S. Dept. of Justice, each at-risk youth put on the right track and kept on the right track, away from criminal justice system saves $1.2 million; Dutchess County has allowed far too many youth to slip through the cracks in the local school-to-prison pipeline, get mixed up in our county's criminal justice system, and be incarcerated in our County Jail, when so many cost-saving, pro-active, preventive alternatives have not been explored locally; though County Executive Marcus Molinaro promised last May to make sure youth programs are fully funded, county funding eliminated five years ago for our county Youth Bureau's Project Return program has not returned, and neither has county funding for the Green Teen Community Gardening program for Poughkeepsie at-risk youth; there is also no longer a YMCA, YWCA, or even a Big Brothers Big Sisters in Poughkeepsie any more, and Columbus Elementary, Hyde Park Elementary, Arlington Elementary, and La Grange Elementary Schools have also all be shut down over the past several years, and

WHEREAS, according to the Washington Post last December, "Chicago started a summer jobs program for teenagers attending high schools in some of the city's high-crime, low-income neighborhoods; research conducted by the University of Chicago Crime Lab found that students who were randomly assigned to participate in the program had 43 percent fewer violent-crime arrests over 16 months, compared to students in a control group," but thus far Dutchess County has refused to seriously fund a program like this to meet the true level of need in our communities; Nubian Directions' Robert Wright has recently stated there are at least 100 more at-risk youth unserved, and

WHEREAS, according to Dutchess County Senior Budget Analyst in her May 7th prevention to our County Legislature's Budget, Finance, and Personnel Committee, Dutchess County taxpayers are paying quite a dear price indeed for at-risk youth who have not been kept out of our county's criminal justice system; she stated publicly in our County Legislature's Chambers on two separate occasions during her presentation the following: "Dutchess County taxpayers spent $33 million last year in contracted child institution costs-- about 65% of which is reimbursed by state/federal government.  When you have just an extra handful of kids in detention or placement, that can change our budget in a million or two million dollarsŠLast year I asked [now retired] Dutchess County Community and Family Services Commissioner Bob Allers why a particular line item in the DCFS/DSS budget had been zeroed out when the year before it was $400,000, and he told me it was because one juvenile had left a facility," and

WHEREAS, the police chief in Gloucester, Massachusetts recently decided not to arrest heroin addicts possessing heroin who turn themselves in; instead, the police department there is finding treatment to help those heroin addicts turn their lives around and make their communities safer, and

WHEREAS, Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro recently stated publicly that ninety percent of Dutchess County inmates are released in ten months; the current recidivism rate for Dutchess County Jail inmates is over fifty percent within five years of being released; the New York Times has recognized the effectiveness of Brooklyn's ComAlert re-entry program, which has greatly slashed recidivism there merely by investing $2300 per year per inmate after release; another program to ease re-entry, Circles of Support and Accountability, has been used successfully in Vermont, according to the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation; community-based, non-professional models to assist high-risk offenders to return to the community; these programs should be embraced here and the Exodus Transitional Community program already in place much more funded, and

WHEREAS, the last confirmed amount is $39.9 million in stabilized reserves in our county's fund balance, according to Dutchess County Budget Senior Analyst Jess White in her recent presentation; literally nine percent of our county budget (well over the recommended five percent); if so many are willing to waste $125 million of our county tax dollars on an unneeded expansion of our County Jail, Dutchess County would do well to invest in the ways described above to avoid this, and therefore be it

WHEREAS, there are now dozens of Dutchess County Jail inmates now needlessly incarcerated with incredibly low bail amounts, accused of nonviolent misdemeanors, who pose no threat to public safety;
Opportunities for Alternatives and Resources, a United Way agency in Tompkins County supported by both Republicans and Democrats in the County Legislature there, saves $400,000 in jail costs annually in a county with a population less than a third of Dutchess County; New York City will soon be following this model, and

WHEREAS, Dutchess County could and should also follow the recent example of New York City to decriminalize minor offenses like public consumption of alcohol, bicycling on the sidewalk, being in a park after dark, and failure to obey a park sign; penalties and fines will still have to be paid for those offenses but not jail time; New York City has found that literally 88 percent of folks there arrested for low-level offenses end up spending a week or two in jail awaiting trial because they cannot afford even low bail; the same is undoubtedly true here; New York City also has decided smartly last year not to prosecute youth for low-level marijuana possession; Dutchess could as well, and therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Dutchess County Legislature affirms publicly that it is adamantly opposed to jail expansion, as the above alternatives have not been fully explored, and urges the Dutchess County Executive to work with the Dutchess County Legislature to explore the above alternatives instead, and be it further

RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be sent to the Dutchess County Executive, Dutchess County Sheriff, and the Dutchess County Criminal Justice Council
Posted by: Joel Tyner

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