January 2012 Correctional Forum


Published on

Correctional Forum is printed three times a year by the Pennsylvania Prison Society. I am the managing editor and designer. The newsletter addresses current issues in the criminal justice system, as well as news from the organization.

Published in: Health & Medicine
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

January 2012 Correctional Forum

  1. 1. January 2012  Correctional Forum Correctional Forum January 2012 A Publication of the Pennsylvania Prison SocietyPromoting a humane, just and constructive correctional system and a rational approach to criminal justice since 1787Guarding AgainstWrongful ConvictionsWitness Misidentification in Nearly 75 Percent of Wrongful Convictionsby Marissa Boyers Bluestine Eleven people have been released criminal justice system to help preventfrom Pennsylvania prisons after DNA wrongful convictions. Formed in 2006,testing proved their innocence. The the committee considered varioustrue perpetrators of only two of these proposals to prevent wrongful convic-crimes have been found. Since 1973, tions. The report takes an exhaustivethere have been 273 DNA exonera- view of the problems and causes oftions across the nation. In 55 percent wrongful convictions, and containsof these cases, the true perpetrators of recommendations drawn from best Read about New Leash on Life USA’sthe crimes were never caught. In the practices already in use in law enforce- first graduating class (page five).other 45 percent, the true criminals ment agencies across the United States. New Leash on Life USA partnerscommitted additional crimes while Many of these recommendations are with several local organizations,the innocent languished behind bars. grounded in more than a quarter cen- including the Prison Society,When we convict the wrong person, tury of scientific research. (See Commit- to teach job readiness skills toall of us are harmed. tee Recommendations, page 10.) prisoners while they learn how to train and care for dogs rescued from shelters. Recently, the Pennsylvania Advi- An independent report from 14sory Committee on Wrongful Convic- members was also released, arguing Above: Prisoner/trainer Robert withtions issued its final report, calling that the majority report did not “reflect dog Johnny Cash.for major updates to Pennsylvania’s Photo by Jack McMahon, Jr. See Wrongful Convictions on page 10Multisystemic Therapy: A New Approach for At-Risk YouthOffering Hope to Young People with Behavioral Disordersby Erica Zaveloff Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST) is ing family relations; encouraging provide services in the home at timesa family and home-based therapeutic the youth to interact with friends convenient to the family. Treatmentapproach to helping troubled youth who do not participate in criminal consists of up to 60 hours of contactovercome their behavioral disorders. behavior; helping the youth to get provided during a four-month period.It addresses the entire world of the in- better grades or to develop a voca- According to an MST therapist in Il-dividual — family, teachers, coaches, tion; helping the youth to participate linois, “There’s still something miss-neighborhood, and peers. The primary in healthy activities such as sports or ing when you’re not working withingoals of MST are to decrease youth school clubs; and creating a support the family’s immediate environment.criminal activity, reduce other types network of extended family, neigh- And that’s where MST comes in andof harmful behavior, and cut spend- bors, and friends to help the caregiv- does something different. We have theing by decreasing rates of incarcera- ers maintain the changes. approach where we see what’s hap-tion and out-of-home placement. MST Therapists who specialize in MST pening within the home. We get toachieves these goals through various have small caseloads (usually four to experience the dynamics, so that we’restrategies that include: enhancing the six families at a time), are available 24 actually getting to the core of some ofcaregivers’ parenting skills; improv- hours a day/seven days a week, and See Therapy on page 9www.facebook.com/PennsylvaniaPrisonSociety • www.prisonsociety.org 1
  2. 2. Correctional Forum  January 2012 The From the Executive Director Pennsylvania Prison Society Board of Directors When Laws and Morality William K. Stewart, Esq. President Diverge, Society Suffers William Griffin Vice President Dianne E. Reed, Ph.D. Laws are sand, customs are rock. Laws can be evaded and punishment Treasurer escaped, but an openly transgressed custom brings sure punishment. Angus R. Love, Esq. Solicitor —Mark Twain Robert Cicchinelli, M.S. Looking back, 2011 brought more than its share of angst and anguish. Nationally, the Anita Colon, M.H.S. economy inched forward at an agonizingly slow pace with housing foreclosures in the tens Theodore E. Glackman, M.Ed. of thousands and joblessness remaining stubbornly high. Bernard Granor, Esq. The political climate was as rancorous as possible, “compromise” was deemed a dirty Ellen Greenlee, Esq. word and elected leaders seemed determined to obstruct all attempts at progress. Ideology Julia G. Hall, Ph.D. and personal ambition trump the common good! Holly Harner, Ph.D. In cities across the country, the 99 Percenters occupied public spaces from New York’s Thomas J. Innes III, Esq. Zuccotti Park and Philadelphia’s Dilworth Plaza to LA’s Bank of America Plaza and Port- Vicki W. Kramer, Ph.D. land, Oregon’s Steel Bridge — all to express outrage at the growing disparity in wealth David B. Kresge, Ph.D. and inequities in the tax code. Greed obscures the need for fairness! Keith Leaphart, D.O., M.B.A. And in State College, once proud Penn State University cowered shamefully in the spot- Marcia Martinez-Helfman, J.D., M.S.W. light of public ignominy amid a horrific child abuse scandal. Morality is sacked! Duncan McCallum It was a year like few others when the values of the nation were hung out to dry. Ameri- Joanna Otero-Cruz can exceptionalism took on a new and ugly meaning. Joan Porter Michelle Alexander, a law professor from The Ohio State University, toured the country Grahame P. Richards, Jr. promoting her book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, and re- David Richman, Esq. minded us of yet another major failing. Combining academic rigor with a passion for justice, Barbara Rittenhouse she proclaimed that our criminal justice policies has spawned a new racial caste system. Peggy Sims In her book, she writes: Judith Stang, D.P.A. William Sylianteng, Esq. “In each generation, new tactics have been used for achieving the same goals — goals Lisa Varon, M.S.W. shared by the Founding Fathers. Denying African Americans citizenship was deemed es- Gretchen Wiseman sential to the formation of the original union. Hundreds of years later, America is still not an egalitarian democracy… Roger Zepernick “In the era of colorblindness, it is no longer socially permissible to use race, explicitly, as Emeritus a justification for discrimination, exclusion and social contempt. So we don’t. Rather than Norman Johnston, Ph.D. rely on race, we use our criminal justice system to label people of color ‘criminals’ and David W. Lauder then engage in all the practices we supposedly left behind.” In a 2007 report by The Sentencing Project, researchers Mark Mauer and Rex King Correctional Forum found the incarceration rates for the nation break down racially as follows: whites, 412 per Editor: William DiMascio 100,000 population; blacks, 2,290; and Latinos, 742. Remarkably, the rates for Pennsylvania were: whites, 305; blacks, 2,792; and Latinos, 1,714. Managing Editor and Designer: Mindy Bogue Astoundingly, Pennsylvania’s rate of incarceration for Latinos was the highest in the nation, followed next by Idaho at 1,654 and Connecticut at 1,401. Because the rate is cal- culated against the population of Latinos within the state, jurisdictions with much larger Correctional Forum is published by numbers of Hispanic residents would reasonably have lower incarceration rates. The Pennsylvania Prison Society, 245 N. Broad St., Still, the extremely high rate for Latinos and the higher than national average rate for blacks Suite 300, Philadelphia, PA 19107. seems to confirm Ms. Alexander’s contention about the criminalization of people of color. For more information, contact Mindy Bogue at 215-564-6005, ext. For far too long we have indulged in self-righteous indignation; wrestled with the mi- 112, or mbogue@prisonsociety.org. See Morality on page 9 2 www.facebook.com/PennsylvaniaPrisonSociety • www.prisonsociety.org
  3. 3. January 2012  Correctional Forum equally at home strolling the blocks of when walking through the maximum Graterford in the company of society’s security facility that was home to outcasts of whom he once said, “These thousands for Donald to greet indi- men are children of God. “That he viduals by name then explain to a visi- was a revered figure was obvious to tor what crimes brought each inmate anyone who peeked in on the funeral to the prison and who their families service at the Christian Stronghold were. Donald genuinely cared about Church in West Philadelphia where people and always wanted the prison hundreds of friends, family members experience to help people to improve and colleagues filled the facility to their lives. Notes in Passing hear condolences, resolutions and eulogies. Donald would have been Obituary writers recounted Don- ald’s serving as chief mediator during embarrassed to hear the accolades a 1981 hostage crisis with four gun- used to describe him. Pastor WillieDonald T. Vaughn (1944-2011) wielding inmates. After bringing the Richardson said Donald, like other crisis to a successful conclusion, he truly great men, are not boastful.by William DiMascio was cited for “outstanding courage.” Donald Vaughn Sr. was an excep- Who would imagine that five yearstional man. As they said at his funeral, after retiring, this North Philadelphia In an environment often native would attract a departmental“He was a man who loved people.” honor guard, present and past secretar- marked by antagonism and In an age of career mobility, he ies of corrections, commuted life sen- despair, he dispensed dignitycommitted four decades to Pennsyl-vania’s prison system. Starting as a tenced prisoners, advocates and officers? and respect.correctional officer at the Eastern State In fact, Donald never consideredPenitentiary, he worked his way up such adoration as a sign of personal ag- But it didn’t take an adrenalin rushthrough the ranks and made his mark grandizement. Instead he used it to set for Donald’s courage to emerge. Heas superintendent at SCI Graterford, a tone in prison. In an environment of- displayed bravery every day in his in-the state’s largest maximum security ten marked by antagonism and despair, teractions with the people around him,institution. After his retirement as he dispensed dignity and respect. including the uber-ambitious staff,deputy secretary of corrections for all When he did boast, it was about the the haplessly mentally ill inmates,prisons in eastern Pennsylvania, he accomplishments of prisoners. Among the nothing-to-lose prisoners and thejoined the Prison Society and provided his favorites were the men in the cu- underachieving bureaucrat. He chal-his experience and influence to help linary arts program. Donald beamed lenged them all to be their best.advocate for reform. when he had an opportunity to show He had a knack for touching men’s In the course of his career, Donald off their skills at making fancy horswalked among the high and mighty, souls. And while many will miss his d’oeuvres for special occasions. presence, his legacy will live on in theincluding then Vice President Al Gore,Attorney General Janet Reno and Car- words and actions of those he inspired. He knew his charges in a way fewdinal Anthony Bevilacqua. But he was in his position did. It was not unusual What more could any good man do?David P. Demarest (1931-2011) Demarest taught literature and oth- Demarest was instrumental in er courses at the University of Wiscon- forming the Battle of Homestead sin in Madison and Manitowoc, then Foundation to teach people the David P. Demarest, Jr. of Point Washington University in St. Louis, cultural importance of the 1892 laborBreeze (Pittsburgh) was a retired finally joining the faculty at Carnegie conflict, perhaps the most significantCarnegie Mellon University English Tech in 1964, staying through its tran- in American history.professor who helped preserve the sition to Carnegie Mellon. He retiredPittsburgh region’s immigrant and Demarest’s interest in poetry led him in 1999. to produce a book of poems by prison-working class culture. He was also adevoted Prison Society Official Visitor. He was also an early advocate of ers, mostly from SCI Greene. He was a saving the Braddock Carnegie Library frequent visitor to SCI Greene, a fairly “Dave was deeply interested in in the 1980s. At the time, the library, long drive from his home in Pittsburgh.helping inmates reenter society as the first Carnegie Library in the Director of Volunteer Services Johnproductive citizens. His death will be United States (1889) and the second in Hargreaves said,“His ability to addressdeeply felt by us and the inmates he the world, was closed and nearly a lost the problems prisoners shared with himmet,” says Marion Damick, Co-Con- cause. He later became the founder led to increased reliance on the Prisonvener of the Prison Society’s Allegh- and editor of the Braddock Fields His- Society that is a hallmark of our excel-eny County Chapter. torical Society newsletter. lent reputation at SCI Greene.”www.facebook.com/PennsylvaniaPrisonSociety • www.prisonsociety.org 3
  4. 4. Correctional Forum  January 2012New Visitors Virtual Visitation: Helping Families FeelChester County “Normal” for Ten Years Jacquelyn Carter by Elaina Howard Wayne Carter, Jr. The Pennsylvania Prison Society has hosted the Virtual Visitation pro- Sanford Dickerson gram for the past ten years, making it possible for incarcerated relatives Rashad Grove and loved ones to see each other through videoconferencing technology. Omar Harris In 2010, there were 2000 virtual visits, including many with prisoners Clarence Smith, Jr. temporarily housed in Michigan and Virginia. William DiMascio, Execu- tive Director of the Prison Society, expressed the long and personal bond Dan Williams with the Virtual Visitation program, and the impact of the program over LaMonte Wilson, Sr. the last 10 years. DiMascio recounts the very first virtual visit, seeing the Mike Zepp “smiles and utter joy” from family membersHuntingdon County visiting loved ones they had not seen in Rebecca Mitchell a very long time. Di-Lancaster County Mascio also explains that the program is a Derik Beiler remarkable bonding James Petersheim experience. Ebonee Allen,Montgomery County Family Visitation Jeff Schrager Coordinator, has fa- Families are not always able to visit loved cilitated the program ones in faraway prisons. Instead, they use for several years, Virtual Visitation to see and talk to prisoners, planning family visitsNew Staff helping to improve family ties and support. according to each prisoner’s previouslyTina Dixon Spence scheduled day and time. She comments, “Virtual Visitation is a veryExecutive Assistant to William DiMascio good program that benefits both families and inmates, because it helpsSarah Duncan-Wisniewski, MSS, LSW to maintain family ties.” Over the years, Allen has observed an increase in family participation and the longevity of participants in the program.Parenting Program Coordinator She believes the program has been successful in managing family ties and social support because family members feel that the meetings are more private and more comfortable than prison visits.New Volunteer Due to a lack of funding, the Prison Society stopped hosting Virtual Visitation as of November 30, 2011. We regret the loss, but celebrate theDiane Harrison ten years we served prisoners and their families through this program.Current Interns Save the Date!Donna BenderUniversity of Pennsylvania May 8, 2012Ashley BristowGwynedd-Mercy College The Pennsylvania PrisonElaina Howard Society is celebrating its 225thTemple University anniversary in 2012!Erica Zaveloff Stay tuned for more details aboutUniversity of Pennsylvania this special event. 4 www.facebook.com/PennsylvaniaPrisonSociety • www.prisonsociety.org
  5. 5. January 2012  Correctional Forum experienced community art instructor She also asked Stone Church mem- encourages them to be expressive in bers to learn about the alternatives to the use of materials provided by the incarceration used by the local judge Chapter. The Centre County Correc- and district attorney. tional Facility provides postage and ensures timely mailing. Lancaster County Chapter The Pennsylvania Department Huntingdon County Chapter of Corrections is discussing a pos- Chapter Harriet Kaylor recently spoke about her Prison Society work at her church, sible collaboration with the Lancaster County Commissioner and Prison the Stone Church of the Brethren. She Board Chair Scott Martin. This part- Highlights not only talked about the Society’s work, but also emphasized the need nership would create a joint work re- lease/reentry community corrections for more visitors. Monthly chapter center for Lancaster County, whichCentre County Chapter meetings do include some church does not currently have one. Some With the holidays fast approach- members, as well as members of the members of the Lancaster Countying, members of the Center County Juniata College faculty, a campus Chapter were involved in a whiteChapter are conducting their semi- minister, and others. Stone Church paper written by Heart for Persons inannual Art in Prison program, which children have been sending greetings the Criminal Justice System, a groupprovides selected inmates the oppor- to prisoners all over the state for many of concerned Lancaster County citi-tunity to create original holiday greet- years, which means a lot to the men zens working to improve conditions ating cards for family and friends. An she meets in the prisons. Lancaster County Prison.First Class Graduates from New Leash on Life USAby Mindy Bogue New Leash on Life USA graduated the first class of itspilot program on October 24. Four at-risk shelter dogs(named after celebrities) were saved, and six inmateslearned how to care for and train dogs while gaining otheressential job skills. After the eleven-week session, four ofthe six inmates paroled were still working with animals:three interning at animal shelters and the fourth receivingfurther instruction from a dog trainer. The program’s goal is to save the lives of shelter dogs byteaching participants to train the dogs, enhancing their adopt-ability. The dogs live in the cells with their inmate trainers,who have sessions with professional dog trainers, animalbehaviorists, and veterinary technicians. The Philadelphia Robert and dog Johnny Cash take a break from training. The skills Robert learned are helping him find and keepPrison System selects the prisoners who participate; those a job now that he has been released from prison. Johnnyselected cannot have a record of animal, sex, or child abuse. Cash has been saved from euthanasia and is now in a New Leash on Life USA has partnered with The Penn- loving home. Photo by Jack McMahon, Jr.sylvania Prison Society and JEVS Human Services to and Warden Karen Bryan, whom she says were instru-provide additional job readiness and life skills training for mental in getting this program into the Philadelphia Prisonthe participants. The prisoners attend daily workshops that System on State Road.address the challenges confronting many former offend-ers — frustration, lack of self-confidence, and the attraction There were many big-name speakers at the graduationof old ways of surviving. The program is also a morale —such as former Governor Ed Rendell — but the dogs werebooster for other prisoners and prison staff. In fact, three of the biggest hit of the ceremony. All six inmate graduatesthe four dogs were adopted by corrections officers. received early parole, thanks to the work of Byron Cotter, Esq., of the Defender Association of Philadelphia, and all New Leash on Life USA founder and director, Marian four dogs were adopted into loving homes; both inmatesMarchese, says, “[The prisoners] learned so much. They and dogs get another chance for survival and acceptance.got those internships because people from shelters wereimpressed by how good they were with the dogs after just For more information about New Leash on Life USA, see:eleven weeks.” Marchese says the program wouldn’t exist www.newleashonlife-usa.orgwithout support from Prison Commissioner Louis Giorlawww.facebook.com/PennsylvaniaPrisonSociety • www.prisonsociety.org 5
  6. 6. Correctional Forum  January 2012 Legislative Highlights Bill No. Description Chief Sponsor Action Status PPS Printer No. Position HB 1603 Requires that, for sentencing purposes, Rep. Thomas Quigley Passed House Judiciary Oppose PN 1984 a first offense for retail theft may R-Montgomery and Appropriations 178-20, include any disposition — a conviction, County 10/24/11; In Senate Judiciary ARD acceptance or other. 10/26/11 HB 1958 Revises registration for sexual Rep. Ron Marsico Amended in House Judiciary Oppose PN 2807 offenders in relation to SORNA and R-Dauphin County 12/5/11; Now on House floor federal stipulations. Certain juveniles who are transient or homeless now most register as sex offenders. (see SB 1183) HB 1963 Calls for sentencing enhancement by Rep. William Keller In House Judiciary 11/3/11 Oppose PN 2710 the court for certain firearms offenses D-Philadelphia by those on probation or parole; a County consecutive sentence if found guilty. SB 100 Provides for prison reform measures Sen. Stewart Greenleaf Passed Senate 50-0, 10/18/11; Support PN 1668 such as risk assessment, alternative R-Montgomery and In House Judiciary 10/19/11 sentencing, pre-release, and more. Bucks counties SB 397 Prohibits the death sentence for cases Sen. Mary Jo White Passed Senate 43-7, 10/18/11; Support PN 380 of mental retardation post-trial. R-Butler, Clarion, now in House Judiciary Erie, Forest, Venango, and Warren counties SB 775 Further provides for mandatory DNA Sen. Dominic Pileggi Passed Senate Judiciary and Oppose PN 1826 testing; includes arrestees and those R-Chester and Appropriations 12/6/11; Sent charged with crimes; mandatory DNA Delaware counties to Senate floor 12/7/11 sampling and record purging; impact and costs for Pa. State Police SB 1183 Extensively revises provisions relating Sen. Jane Clare Orie Passed Senate 11/15/11; Oppose PN 1821 to registration of sexual offenders, R-Allegheny and Amended in House Judiciary pursuant to federal mandate; makes Butler counties 12/5/11 editorial changes. (see HB 1958) SB 1220 Requires expungement of criminal Sen. Timothy Solobay Passed Senate Judiciary, Support PN 1496 history records for certain misde- D-Allegheny, Beaver, 9/27/11; In Appropriations meanors committed when under the Washington, and 10/25/11 age of 25. Westmoreland countiesUpdate on Philadelphia’s Ban the Box Campaign Ban the Box (The Philadelphia Fair Criminal Record Screening Standards Ordinance), is happening in mid-January2012. This new law prohibits employers from asking about criminal convictions during the job application process andin the first interview. It also prevents them from making hiring decisions based on arrests or criminal accusations that donot result in a conviction. The ordinance impacts employers with 10 or more workers in Philadelphia (but there are a fewexemptions). This should help formerly convicted individuals promote their skills instead of defending their past whenhunting for a job. Stay tuned for more details regarding how we are helping the City of Philadelphia implement this law. 6 www.facebook.com/PennsylvaniaPrisonSociety • www.prisonsociety.org
  7. 7. January 2012  Correctional Forum BookcaseAll Alone in the World:Children of the IncarceratedBy Nell BernsteinReview by Sook Yee Leung, former intern at Building Bridges “Families, criminals —it’s the mother’s long confinement has finallysame thing,” said a prison telephone ended. Will that be the moment hecompany vendor. gives up hope, or will he have let go years earlier of the idea that if he tries The magnitude of the insensitivity hard enough—earns enough money,of those words will truly sink in after garners enough glory, tells her storyreading All Alone in the World: Children loud enough—his mother will one dayof the Incarcerated. come home?” that vulnerable position through the Nell Bernstein, an award-winning words of children. In the chapter on visiting, Bernsteinjournalist, takes us on a heart-wrench- Yet, it is really the different perspec- considers the importance of touch, anding journey of families through the tives and how Bernstein weaves it all how the lack of it upsets and confuseswords of children, grandparents, together that forms an unforgettable dis- some children. She refers to variousspouses, and others affected by an course on children of the incarcerated. techniques pediatric professionals,incarcerated loved one. Bernstein’s nonprofits, parents, and children do to Bernstein includes parents: Ida Mc-chapter order (Arrest, Sentencing, alleviate that, such as video calls and, Cray expressed it best when she said,Visiting, Grandparents, Foster Care, even, “paper bag hugs” from incarcer- “It feels like a piece of you has beenReentry, and Legacy) is representative ated parents to children. torn off and you don’t know where itof the journey children and other fam-ily members take with them. While moments of joy crop up in is. I needed to see how my children Bernstein’s accounts, she makes us looked. Not being able to see them Bernstein does not just follow one made me feel less human. I felt lessfamily through each step. She follows aware of how much better these chil- dren’s lives can be. For instance, while caring because I couldn’t care for whomany families, representing each step I really wanted to care for.”of the journey while richly illustrat- in prison, Susana’s father was stilling each family’s life through details: able to create an unforgettable mem- Bernstein also includes prison-physical descriptions, the family’s ory by having all the inmates say, ers’ rights advocates: Carol Fennellydaily routine, and a certain child’s “Don’t cry, mija (term of endearment), observes that the incarcerated maylikes and dislikes. We’ll take care of your papi for you.” come upon a “redemptive moment The effort it must have taken Susana’s in someone’s life, when they have In her chronicles, Bernstein also father to arrange such a performance been taken out of the context wheresensitizes readers to the families’ hard- makes one wonder what else he could they were doing things that got themships with her sincere insight and have done for his daughter if he were there in the first place. A lot of times,connections to broader topics. In Carl not imprisoned. because prisons are no longer focusedMetz’s case, he calculated the time his on rehabilitation, that moment is lost.mother would take during her sen- Still, the power of All Alone in the But if you can reach people when theytence and said, “So you take one of her World lies within Bernstein’s gift for want to do something in their lives —life sentences back and she still have collecting powerful quotes. Noth- they want to be part of their families;two. You take another, she still have ing represents the emotional and they don’t want to come back to thisone. You take another one, she still physical dependence children have on place — then that moment can becomehave twenty years. So I was like, man. their incarcerated parent(s) than the valuable, and it can lead to redeemingIt really hit me.” words in Philip’s letter: “Dear Presi- a life that can be lost.” dent Clinton, I hope you can free my Bernstein, herself, then ponders mom. I need her. Because I am just a Altogether, the accounts and per-“death by incarceration” picturing little boy!” Boy, girl, mother, father, spectives in All Alone in the World make“a middle-aged Carl picking up the it does not matter—children need one very conscious of how incarcera-phone to learn from a stranger that his their parents. She pulls readers into tion extends beyond those imprisoned.www.facebook.com/PennsylvaniaPrisonSociety • www.prisonsociety.org 7
  8. 8. Correctional Forum  January 2012Correct? My #*$&^%!!!Editorial by Steve WhinstonSometimes a word gets so engrained in be seen as the criminal act and the fix Since we have seen that the word “cor-common language that we lose sight of could be seen as the action taken to rections” in this context does not seemwhether its meaning continues to fit its make sure no such act happens in the to fit with any established definition ofusage. Let me explain what I mean. future. OK, I can buy the criminal act the word, a replacement is required. part, but what is being done about Here are some suggestions.I was driving to work the other day and future conduct? Providing weights?a news item came on the radio about • Department of the Gonersthe effects of deployment to Afghani- Since the teacher model doesn’t work, (DOG). While prisoners may notstan on the jobs of members of a Na- let’s move on to the ship captain’s ver- be forgotten, they sure are gone —tional Guard unit. One of the people in sion of “correction.” In this context, far away and for a long time. Thethe unit was employed by the Depart- the DOC would recognize that an acronym DOG stenciled on inmatement of Corrections in another state. individual’s behavior is not follow- clothing would fit well with streetHmmm, Department of Corrections (?). ing the right path and take steps to usage of the word. When one in- bring the person back within society’s mate calls to another saying “Hey,We all know what it means to correct norms. I’ll accept the premise that a dog,” or “How you been, dog,”— to set right, to fix an error, to steer criminal act is equivalent to a boat no insult would be implied. And,on the proper course. When a teacher being off course, but again activities of course, we could refer to prisoncorrects, she points out a wrong such as weight lifting and license plate superintendents as DOG wardens.answer and replaces it with the right stamping do not seem to qualify asone. When a ship captain corrects, he enough to right the course. • Department of Oppressionturns the boat to head in the proper (DOO). This could really play Of course, I’m taking a skeptical look well with the public. They don’tdirection. When the Department of at the big picture. Some people actu- seem to care about prisoners be-Corrections (DOC) corrects, it…well, ally do “correct” while in the custody ing “corrected.” They want themwhat exactly does it do? of the DOC. But that is usually more punished. Department of Oppres-Let’s try the teacher model first. If we because their strength of character and sion fits that bill exactly. It would,use the definition of “correct” associ- self-analysis enables them to find their however, lead to some awkwardated with a teacher, then the DOC own paths, rather than because they acronyms. For example, if thewould point out an error and show take advantage of the paths that areus what was right. The error could being provided by the system. See Correct? on page 11Parole Officers Collect Toysfor Children of Philly ReNew Clients In December, two parole agents from the Phila- delphia District dropped off toys they collected for the children of our Philly ReNew clients. These two agents are specifically ASCRA (Assessment, Sanctioning and Community Resource Agent). They assist former offenders during the initial stages of transition from prison to the community. These special positions were created by the PBPP (Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole) to help stop parolees from reoffending. Participants in the Philly ReNew program live in Philadelphia, are fathers of minor children, and For more information about Philly ReNew: criminal backgrounds. The program helps them find employment, but also teaches them how to change Contact Pamela Superville at 215-564-4775, x120 their thinking about working with people and suc- or psuperville@prisonsociety.org cessfully handling everyday and difficult situations. 8 www.facebook.com/PennsylvaniaPrisonSociety • www.prisonsociety.org
  9. 9. January 2012  Correctional ForumTherapy, continued from page 1 The Nine Principlesthose issues the youth and their families are facing.” of Multi-Systemic TherapyBenefits of Multisystemic Therapy 1. Finding the fit: How do the youth’s problems relate toResearch suggests that MST is a fiscally responsible alterna- their environment?tive to juvenile incarceration and other punitive options. Todetermine whether MST is cost-effective for both taxpayers 2. Focusing on positives and strengths: The family helpsand victims of crime, the Washington State Institute of Pub- the individual focus on his/her known strengths, usinglic Policy (WSIPP) evaluated MST interventions. In their them to help build problem-solving skills.2001 report, The Comparative Costs and Benefits of Programs to 3. Increasing responsibility: Responsibility is increased inReduce Crime, WSIPP discovered that, on average, the cost a way that promotes trust between the youth and his/of MST participation is $4,743. As a result, taxpayers save her family.about $31,661 in criminal justice costs. When combinedwith the total savings to victims of crime (i.e. court and 4. Present focused, action-oriented, and well-definedlawyer fees), the amount increases to $131,918, or $28.33 goals: Goals must be tracked by the individualper $1 spent on MST interventions. so that he/she can relate to them and understand their importance. Research also suggests that MST reduces recidivism andrisky behavior among youth. For example, the Missouri 5. Targeting sequences: How does the youth behaveDelinquency Project conducted a 14-year study of youth within different social groups — family, friends,who participated in MST interventions. Results show that school, community?those who participated in MST experienced up to 54 per- 6. Developmentally appropriate: To promote the transi-cent fewer arrests, up to 57 percent fewer days in jail, up to tion into adulthood, the MST team stresses the ability to68 percent fewer drug-related arrests, and up to 43 percent engage with peers and the importance of obtaining anfewer days on adult probation. education and vocational skills.Multisystemic Therapy in Pennsylvania 7. Continuous effort: The youth and family members MST is currently available in some counties and cities must work daily toward goals in order to successfullyin Pennsylvania, but is not yet available everywhere. For address problems.instance, there are MST specialists in Pittsburgh and Har- 8. Evaluation and accountability: Interventions are contin-risburg, but there are not yet specialists in Philadelphia. uously evaluated for effectiveness. The MST team — not the family — is responsible for outcomes. For more information about multi-systemic therapy, see: 9. Generalization: The skills learned must be sustainable, www.mstservices.com so that the youth and family may continue to function www.patruancytoolkit.info and solve problems.Morality, continued from page 2nutiae of criminal justice, and permitted those distractions FBI. His commitment to upholding the law is so unbendingto keep us from doing what was morally right. We express there are few ethical considerations that get in his way.anguish about not having our risk assessment tools finely Wall Street bankers, politicians, and university admin-honed enough, then delay parole releases. We identify istrators go out of their way to act within the law in maxi-safe, constructive alternatives to incarceration, then turn mizing their profits, winning re-elections, or upholdingthem into punishment additions instead of substitutions. institutional reputations. But avarice, ambition, dishonesty,We convince ourselves that fear of punishment will be a and racial bias are among the viruses that infect our valuedeterrent, then increase the length of confinement. And, we systems; they are the enemies of the common good that as-decry the costs of prison operations, then impose fees for sault our moral code.necessities like medical care while ensuring inmates lack In criminal justice, as in other areas of human endeavor,the funds to pay for them. fairness in the way we treat each other is paramount. It’s All of these steps that we take are accomplished with great moral. It’s the right thing to do.fanfare about public safety, sound financial management Let’s hope the lessons of 2011 will make for a better 2012.and, of course, legality. We can criminalise anything, andfrequently do precisely that when sensational events hit the For more information, see:media. This is invariably when legality and morality diverge. The recently released movie, J. Edgar, depicts the life of www.sentencingproject.orgJ. Edgar Hoover and his decades-long efforts to build the www.newjimcrow.comwww.facebook.com/PennsylvaniaPrisonSociety • www.prisonsociety.org 9
  10. 10. Correctional Forum  January 2012Wrongful Convictions, continued from page 1 Recommendationstrue science” and cast aspersions on law enforcement. The independent from the Pennsylvaniacommittee acknowledged that adjustments and improvements canbe made to benefit all citizens, but does not see the need for systemic Advisory Committee Onchanges to the criminal justice system. Wrongful Convictions Many states, localities, and law enforcement agencies are adopting • A law requiring lineups and photo arraysthe proposed changes in the majority report. Across the country, eye- to be conducted by someone who doeswitness identification procedures are evolving in order to fairly pros- not know who investigators suspectecute the guilty and not implicate the innocent. • A law requiring the electronic recording State Senator Stewart Greenleaf recently introduced two bills to of police interrogations and confessionsimplement the committee’s proposals. Senate Bill 1338, would create a • State, rather than county, funding ofCommittee on Conviction Integrity. This committee would look at any defense services for the indigent, withproven exoneration case to determine what factors led to the wrong- adequate compensation for attorneysful conviction, and if changes to Pennsylvania’s criminal justice systemcould prevent future injustices. • Electronic recording of statements made to law enforcement by informants The other bill, Senate Bill 1337, calls for needed improvements to • Requirement of a hearing in capital casesmethods used by law enforcement. Many of these improvements mir- before admitting testimony from an infor-ror those in the report from the Pennsylvania Advisory Committee on mant that is incriminated by the accusedWrongful Convictions • Extension of the length of time to petition When an innocent person is convicted of a crime he did not commit, for post-conviction relief (the “60 Daywe are all affected: the wrongfully convicted individual usually spends Rule”) to one yearyears in prison, the victim gets no closure, and the public must dealwith other criminal acts from a true perpetrator who escaped justice • A law requiring the accreditation of foren- sic laboratories used in evidence collection Convicting innocent people is not a new phenomenon in our society, • A statutorily created forensic advisorybut with efforts like these, it need not be a permanent reality. board • A law requiring the state to pay damages to those wrongfully imprisoned Marissa Boyers Bluestine is the Legal Director of the Pennsylvania Innocence • A statute enabling automatic expunge- Project. For more information about wrongful convictions, go to: ment of the criminal history record for www.innocenceprojectpa.org those found eligible Correctional Forum Subscription Information To subscribe, simply become a member of the Prison Society. Name_ _________________________________________ Prisoner ID__________________ $40 Regular Membership $5 Prisoner Institution___________________________________________________________________ $10 Family of Prisoner/Student Address_ ____________________________________________________________________ $100 Friend of the Society City___________________________________ State___________ Zip___________________ $200 Patron $250 Sponsor Email_ ______________________________________________________________________ _ $500 Founder Payment Amt_ ____________________Payment Method____________________________ $1,000 1787 Society Make your check or money order payable to Mail your donation to: The Pennsylvania Prison Society. Memberships The Pennsylvania Prison Society 245 North Broad Street, Suite 300 Thank you for your support! Philadelphia, PA 19107 10 www.facebook.com/PennsylvaniaPrisonSociety • www.prisonsociety.org
  11. 11. January 2012  Correctional Forum 2012 Annual Appeal 1 Your donation to the Prison Society will: 2 • help Ban the Box on employment applications! • give people a second chance at living rewarding lives with their families and in their communities! • support our historic work to make Pennsylvania a better place to live and work — for everyone! # YES, I want to make a difference in someone’s life! þ 3 Name________________________________________________________________ Address______________________________________________________________ City_ _________________________State______________ Zip__________________ _ Email_________________________________ Phone__________________________1. David Moultrie shows off his bigsmile along with his Certificate Fill out and return form with your check or money order to:of Completion at a Philly ReNew The Pennsylvania Prison SocietyTransition Ceremony. 245 North Broad Street, Suite 3002. Director of Volunteer Services JohnHargreaves (right) talks to two Philadelphia, PA 19107Official Visitors at a Prison Societymeeting.3. Tony Brown and Tyrone Werts Thank you for your contribution!stop to chat after a Philly ReNew Our clients appreciate your support.Transition Ceremony.Correct?, continued from page 8 the public as referring to the study Rather, it is you, the “clients” of the Commissioner were sending a of erectile dysfunction and other so-called Department of Corrections, memo to his Deputy of Operations, such maladies. Can you imagine that should control this momentous it would be addressed to DOO- the hue and cry when the news- event. Therefore, please send your bal- DOO. And, if the Deputy did some- papers headline “Department of lots by mail, voting for either: DOG, thing to upset the Commissioner, Penal Environment seeks budget DOO or DOPE to the Correctional he might be impelled to say, “Get increase of $100 million”? In addi- Forum’s mailing address. I guess we’ll that DOODOO out of my office.” tion, the prisoners would have to have to change that name as well. get used to walking around every-• Department of Penal Environ- day with DOPE stenciled on their Steve Whinston was a Pennsylvania Prison ment (DOPE). Some might pause garb, but, hey, prisons should not Society Board member for many years. He at this suggestion, with its refer- be like summer camp. was also the Prison Society’s lead counsel in ence to illegal substances. But it the fight against the 1997 Pardons Board ref- has the benefit of being accurate. While all these name changes would erendum requiring a unanimous vote before a recommendation may be sent to the governor The real problem is that the full be an improvement, it should not be for commutation of a life or death sentence. name might be misinterpreted by up to me to make the final decision.www.facebook.com/PennsylvaniaPrisonSociety • www.prisonsociety.org 11
  12. 12. non-profit org. U.S.Postage245 N. Broad Street • Suite 300 paidPhiladelphia, PA 19107 philadelphia, pa Permit No. 1391Visit us atwww.prisonsociety.orgwww.facebook.com/PennsylvaniaPrisonSocietyhttps://raisingthebars.wordpress.com “If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it, I know I can achieve it.” —Jesse Jackson Correctional Forum January 2012 A Publication of the Pennsylvania Prison SocietyPromoting a humane, just and constructive correctional system and a rational approach to criminal justice since 1787 In This Issue Page 1 Guarding Against Wrongful Convictions Imprisoning the Innocent Harms Society as a Whole Page 3 Do we have Notes in Passing your e-mail address? Donald T. Vaughn and David P. Demarest We are updating our records to Page 4 Virtual Visitation: Helping ensure that you receive Families Feel “Normal” for Ten Years updates about the Prison Society. 2000 “virtual visits” in 2010 To be added to our e-mail list (or Page 7 Book Review — All Alone in The World: to notify us of your new e-mail Children of the Incarcerated address), simply send a message A highly-acclaimed book by Nell Bernstein to mbogue@prisonsociety.org Page 8 asking us to include your Correct? My #*$^%!!! Should we change the name of the DOC? e-mail address.