"Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and
those who are mistreated as if you yourselves
were suffering." Hebrews: 13:3
Local Advocates: RIHD Rep. Lillie (Ms. K) Branch-Kennedy, Advocare Rep Keith Deblasio ,
FCC rally "Virginia's high, high rates!
Mel Motel: "Strong Families, Safe Communities" Sends Clear Message for Phone Justice
The Campaign for Prison Phone Justice is a national effort challenging prison phone kickbacks and the U.S. Prison Telephone Industry. The campaign is jointly led by: Media Action Grassroots Network, Working Narratives, Prison Legal News and Participant Media as part of the social action campaign for Ava Duvernay's film Middle of Nowhere.
As the crowd chanted, "Fair rates! Now!" I felt warm despite the breeze that whipped through the courtyard outside the Federal Communications Office in Washington, DC. Around 75 people gathered from across state lines and political beliefs to rally for "Strong Families, Safe Communities." Put another way, we were all standing in person to urge the FCC to lower the cost of prison phone calls by taking action on the Wright Petition.
The rally was a mix of inspiration, encouragement, celebration and truth telling. On both ends of the rally, religious leaders led us in faithful call for an end to policies that victimize poor families. The crowd also joined the lovely-voiced singer Kenyatta Hardison in uplifting songs to open and close the gathering.
It was incredible to hear the remarks of prison phone justice ally, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn. She announced to the excited crowd that the FCC has, at last, decided to circulate a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the Wright Petition – this is bringing us a step closer to victory in the fight to end the high cost of interstate prison phone calls.
And it was wonderful to see people from Sum Of Us, the Prison Policy Initiative, Participant Media and the Campaign for Prison Phone Justice submit pages filled with 40,000 signatures from people in support of the Wright Petition. There’s no denying it when you see four huge binders brimming with paper: the voices of prisoners, their families and allies are speaking loud and clear. I also learned today that many of the people who signed onto the petition were not directly touched by incarceration but were compelled to support phone justice as a human rights issue.
As fantastic as it is to hear the remarks from policy makers and elected officials at an event like this, the most important thing to me is always hearing the stories of the people most impacted by the injustice that we are fighting to change – in this case, prisoners, former prisoners and their families. Lillie Branch-Kennedy shared that she and her husband spent literally $10,000 in phone calls with their son during the first four years of his incarceration. They estimate that the total is now around $25,000. Keith DeBlasio also shared the exorbitant fees that his mother had to pay to talk to him while he was in prison and stressed the positive impact lowering the cost of calls would have on communities by lowering recidivism.
The message at the Strong Families, Safe Communities rally was clear: we can come together across our differences to fight for fair phone rates for prisoners and their loved ones. The predatory, dehumanizing system of exorbitant rates and kickbacks has to stop. We also stood together in conveying a message of thanks for our allies at the FCC, the people and organizations on the ground fighting for prison phone justice, and all the people that came before us.
Mel Motel works as a researcher, paralegal, and sometimes writer at the Human Rights Defense Center/Prison Legal News, a member of the Campaign for Prison Phone Justice; outside of the office, she is a high school educator and member of the Criminal Justice Initiative donor/activist circle.
Concentrating on the Community Needs
in the Newport News, Virginia area
Saturday, October 27, 2012
1pm to 3pm
Stuart Garden Housing
1326-C Garden Drive
Newport News, Virginia 23666
Renita Parker, Good Seed Good Ground (Reentry)
Lillie (Ms. K) Branch-Kennedy, Resource Information Help for the Disadvantaged (RIHD)
Janet (Queen Nzinga) Taylor, Prisoner and Family for Equal Rights & Justice (PAFERJ)
Treance Moore-El, Author "At Risk Youth"
Christopher M. Brunson, Organizer
Telephone: (757) 240-7818
Posted: 6/20/2012 - ON-GOING CAMPAIGN
2012-2013 ThousandKites.org Community Restoration Campaign
Legislative Focus Update
"If we are to make a difference, we must do something different
--Dr. Wendell Hylton
It is important that we the people realize that change comes from the people and not the politicians. To opt out "prison warehousing" and opt in "earned" second chance advocacy. Fair and commonsense laws that reduces crime and reduces recidivism must be enacted. Listed below are proposed legislation requiring public proactive support.
2012 - 2013 Legislative Focus
Example: Bill number HB111, SB222
HB - House Bill SB - Senate Bill HJ or SJ - Study
Year Bill was last introduced (2007)
SB 796 (2011) Prisoner Literacy, Education, Therapeutic, vocational rehabilitation with additional "earned" sentence credit (new law)
To view SB 796: http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?ses=111&typ=bil&val=SB796
HJ122 (2012) Parole Reinstituted (65%) Study: required literacy, education, therapeutic, Vocational rehabilitation. To view HJ122: http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?ses=121&typ=bil&val=HJ122HB2127
HB2127 (2011) Earned Second Chance Provision Volunteer Tax Credit to pay for SB 796 increase literacy, education, therapeutic and vocational rehabilitation. T To view HB2127: http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?ses=111&typ=bil&val=HB2127
HB1632 (2011)Expansion of TANF for former Drug Conviction felons - additional eligibility program To view H1632: http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?ses=111&typ=bil&val=HB1632
Restoration of Voting and Civil & Voting Rights (Constitutional amendment (first resolution)
To view each copy of bill:http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?121+sum+SJ35
Parole Board: Non-legislative Agenda: Fair and Consistent Parole board hearing decisions for estimated 5,000 parole eligible Virginia prisoners. (Old law)
Attend local meetings.
Learn how legislation/bills are passed: http://legis.virginia.gov/1_cit_guide/howabill.htm
Many of the state legislators will say that they aren't on the committees for the below legislation. That's just a political cop-out! At the end of the day, when a bill makes it out of Committee, it later goes for a FULL vote! To learn more on how bills are passed in Virginia: http://legis.virginia.gov/1_cit_guide/howabill.htm
Call, email, write, meet with your district state legislators as soon as possible. Request that your district state legislators review the legislation, support the Community Restoration Campaign coalition and its efforts to move forward the below bills. It is very important that you let your district state legislators know that you are a concerned, that you are willing to work with them towards a fair and commonsense bill that doesn't jeopardize the safety of your community and Virginians. In a pleasant way, inform your legislators that future votes will be based upon their voting record and concern for the community they pledge to serve. Ask your district state legislator to patron/sponsored or co-patron/co-sponsor any/all of the below legislation during the 2013 General Assembly? Let them know that you, your family and community will be attending hearings during the 2013 General Assembly? That you are willing to work with them to better the proposed legislation/bills.
Don't forget to share your experiences through the flip camera campaign (here at the Campaign site), Campaign Blog POST, email, letter to: firstname.lastname@example.org
REMINDER: To register at the ThousandKites.org Community Restoration Campaign for "Fair and Commonsense" laws. Visit CRC site " The PLEDGE" - The GOAL: 100,000. We would like to see at least 10,000 PLEDGERS by September. By December 31, the 100,000.
Campaign Action Hub: http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/6220/p/salsa/web/common/public/content?content_item_KEY=3170
REMINDER: The Campaign is available, looking to meet and share value information in/to your hometown, city, county and/or region. We need area volunteers to assist us with the meeting. For additional information send email to: email@example.com or call (804) 426-4426 We the Thousandkites.org Community Restoration Campaign advocates cannot do it Thank you in advance and await your response!
REMINDER: NOT REGISTERED TO VOTE, REGISTER TODAY. NEED CIVIL/VOTING RIGHTS RESTORE, APPLY BY CALLING (804) 426-4426 FOR APPOINTMENT IN RICHMOND OR A LISTING OF PERSONS IN YOUR AREA.
As always, Peace and Blessings.
Lillie Branch-Kennedy (Ms. K)
Resource Information Help for the Disadvantaged (RIHD)
PO Box 55 - Highland Springs - Virginia 23075
Website: http://www.rihd.org/ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Va. corrections agency investigates inmate's death
POCAHONTAS, Va. (AP) - Authorities are investigating the death of an inmate at a state prison in Tazewell County.
Virginia Department of Corrections spokesman Larry Traylor tells the Bluefield Daily Telegraph (http://bit.ly/Su2ghc ) that the male inmate died at the Pocahontas State Correctional Center on Sunday.
The inmate hasn't been identified. An autopsy will be conducted by the state medical examiner's officer to determine the cause of death.
Traylor says the corrections department's inspector general is conducting an internal investigation.
Information from: Bluefield Daily Telegraph, http://www.bdtonline.com
Pocahontas Correctional Center, Virginia
Warden: Stanley K. Young (S.K. Young)
Listed below are articles regarding Stanley K. Young, while warden at Wallens Ridge State Prison
First Amendment to the United States Constitution
The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.
Originally, the First Amendment applied only to laws enacted by the Congress. However, starting with Gitlow v. New York, the Supreme Court has applied the First Amendment to each state. This was done through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court has also recognized a series of exceptions to provisions protecting the freedom of speech