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

Email all 25 of us at to build support for this new resolution to stop jail expansion!

May 2, 2015

Sunday rally in Poughkeepsie

Mae Parker-Harris has organized a rally for Baltimore this Sunday May 3, 4:00pm at 55 Mansion Street, Poughkeepsie 12601. By the Post Office/ Poughkeepsie Journal.