A Prosecutor's Vision for a Better Justice System
by Adam Foss
When a kid commits a crime, the US justice system has a choice: prosecute to the full extent of the law, or take a step back and ask if saddling young people with criminal records is the right thing to do every time. In this searching talk, Adam Foss, a prosecutor with the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office in Boston, makes his case for a reformed justice system that replaces wrath with opportunity, changing people's lives for the better instead of ruining them.
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Why you should listenBy shifting his focus from incarceration to transforming lives, Adam Foss is reinventing the role of the criminal prosecutor. As Assistant District Attorney in the Juvenile Division of Suffolk County, Adam Foss has become one of Boston's leading voices for compassion in criminal justice. Recognizing that prosecutors have a unique opportunity to intervene in offender's lives, Foss co-founded the Roxbury CHOICE Program, a collaborative effort between defendants, the court, the probation department, and the D.A. to recast probation as a transformative experience rather than a punitive process.
In addition to his work with the DA's office, Foss is the founder of the SCDAO Reading Program, a project designed to bridge the achievement gap of area elementary school students.
Congratulations Monica Cosby long time supporter of UUPMI working to ensure other women are never faced with prison.
Chicago Tribune :: July 18, 2018
ARTICLE: 'Prison is not where women need to be'
The number of women locked up in Illinois prisons could be cut in half under an ambitious proposal by reform advocates who argue that the corrections system has largely ignored the needs of female inmates.
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From Prison to Parole an ex-con's transition
Chris Carney, an ex-convict, rebuilds a life in the real world after landing a job as a building superintendent
Life on Parole — FRONTLINE and The New York Times' investigation of one state’s effort to reduce recidivism and lower prison populations by rethinking how parole works.
With unique access inside Connecticut’s corrections system, the film follows four former prisoners as they re-enter society and navigate the challenges of more than a year on parole — including finding work, staying sober and parenting -- all under intense supervision from the state.
From Vaughn Gresham, who was arrested for the first time at age 16, to Jessica Proctor, who spent nearly a decade behind bars for assault with physical injury, Life on Parole is a remarkable, firsthand look at why some people stay out of jail, why some go back, and how one state is trying to break the cycle of recidivism.
"I make a living on second chances — that’s what parole is," Officer Katherine Montoya says in the documentary.
Don't miss this inside look at how one state's experiment with second chances has played out for offenders, the communities they return to, and the system that's responsible for supervising them.
CNI Micro Finance Group by Erica King
One hundred twenty-five men and women recently released from the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) will be given a real chance to transform their lives thanks to an innovative new program forged by a dynamic public/private partnership fueled by CNIMFG with support from Citi Community Development. The program will provide training and start-up capital to help returning citizens open a business and create jobs and economic opportunities for themselves and underserved Chicago communities. Studies show that only 17.5% of returning prisoners who find regular employment, or create jobs for themselves, return to prison.
Erica King, VP Lending, CNIMFG, recently joined Governor Bruce Rauner and other state officials to launch the Pathway to Enterprise for Returning Citizens (PERC), the new privately funded program designed to provide recently incarcerated citizens with in-depth training, personal coaching and mentoring from its program partners: Bethel New Life, Chatham Business Association, North Lawndale Employment Network, The Safer Foundation and Sunshine Enterprises. Once the training is successfully completed, participants will be eligible to receive up to $50,000 in start-up capital from CNIMFG to open a business.
Watch or listen to the segment on line.
PERC's partners include the Illinois Criminal Justice Authority, IDOC, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and CNIMFG. More than $1 million was raised to fund the program from Citi Community Development, The Chicago Community Trust, the Perry Family Foundation, US Bank Foundation and the Hughes Foundation.
For additional information about PERC or CNIMFG's micro-lending products and financial services, contact Erica King, Vice President of Lending, CNIMFG, firstname.lastname@example.org or 773.341.2072.
Solitary Nation - April 22, 2014
With extraordinary access this film takes you to the epicenter of the raging debate about prison reform. Solitary Nation brings you an up-close, graphic look at a solitary confinement unit in Maine’s maximum security prison.
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Breaking Down the Box
"Breaking Down the Box" examines the mental health, racial justice and human rights implications of the systemic use of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons. It is a call to action for communities of faith to engage in the growing nationwide movement for restorative alternatives to isolated confinement that prioritize rehabilitation, therapeutic interventions, and recovery.
The 40-minute documentary was produced by filmmaker Matthew Gossage. More resources at nrcat.org
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After Solitary - FRONTLINE
When Kenny Moore was convicted of aggravated assault, burglary and theft and sent to Maine State Prison at age 18, he expected to serve an 18-month sentence. But after a series of fights and disruptive behavior, he was sent to solitary confinement, where his disruptive behavior only worsened. All in all, Kenny spent five-and-a-half years in solitary confinement and nearly 20 years in and out of prison.
Inside solitary, Moore ripped the hair out of his body. He bit chunks out of himself. He started hearing voices. He wrote messages on the wall of his cell with his own blood.
“It turns you into an animal,” Moore says in After Solitary, a new virtual reality film from FRONTLINE and Emblematic Group.
In After Solitary, follow Moore as he narrates an immersive, 360° tour of a solitary confinement cell, recounting what his
life was like on the inside — and how that experience has impacted his life now that he’s a free man.
The film is a visceral window into the practice of solitary confinement, which Maine State Prison began reducing the use of while Moore was locked up. The prison also started offering rehabilitation classes to inmates, and says that since 2011, rates of violence and self-harm have dropped dramatically. But studies show that inmates who have spent significant time in solitary are more likely to be sent back to prison.
Meanwhile, Moore, who was released last fall, is struggling to adjust to life on the outside. He rarely leaves his bedroom. It is, he says, his “own personal prison” — and the place where he feels most safe.
Last Days of Solitary - Frontline April 18, 2017
Inside one state’s ambitious attempt to decrease its use of solitary — and what happens when prisoners who have spent considerable time in isolation try to integrate back into society.
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RIKERS: An American Jail
Bill Moyers PBS 8-21-2017
The United States is facing a crisis of mass incarceration with over 2.2 million people packed into its jails and prisons. To understand the human toll of this crisis, Rikers Island is a good place to start. Of the more than 7,500 people detained at Rikers Island on any given day, almost 80 percent have not yet been found guilty or innocent of the charges they face.
All are at risk in the pervasive culture of violence that forces people to come to terms with what they must do for their own survival. RIKERS: An American Jail, a riveting new documentary from Bill Moyers, brings you face to face with men and women who have endured incarceration at Rikers Island. Their stories, told directly to camera, vividly describe the cruel arc of the Rikers experience — from the shock of entry to the extortion and control exercised by other inmates, the oppressive interaction with corrections officers, the beatings and stabbings, the torture of solitary confinement and the many challenges of returning to the outside world.
Since the initial release of RIKERS last fall, there has been widespread discussion and debate about the future of the prison complex. In April 2017, The Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform released its recommendations and called for closing Rikers and replacing it with smaller jails in the city’s five boroughs.
Just prior to the report’s release New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio reversed his prior position that closing Rikers Island Jail was not feasible and announced his support for closing Rikers, but said it will take a decade to do so.
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Please be sure to visit the official RIKERS website for more information about the film, mass incarceration in America and efforts at criminal justice reform. Also, please like @RIKERSfilm on Facebook and follow @RIKERSfilm on Twitter to get the latest information and contribute to the already robust online community talking about the film.
RIKERS, which recently won a 2017 Robert F. Kennedy journalism award, is a production of Schumann Media Center, Inc. and Brick City TV LLC, in association with Public Square Media, Inc. Produced by Marc Levin and Mark Benjamin, with producer Rolake Bamgbose. Edited by Jason Pollard. Director of Photography Mark Benjamin. Executive Producer, Judy Doctoroff O’Neill. Executive Editor, Bill Moyers.
What this is about
Learning asks us to change – so that the world might be a place for all are free to thrive