misconduct under investigation - do you have a case to submit?
The Center for Public Integrity and veteran investigative journalist Steve Weinberg are researching cases of prosecutorial misconduct that lead to wrongful convictions. They would like to hear from prisoners, their families and friends, journalists, lawyers, expert and lay witnesses, jurors, medical examiners, police officers, and judges who can show evidence of prosecutorial misconduct.
Steve Weinberg of Columbia, Missouri is an author and former newspaper reporter and magazine staff writer. Working with Weinberg is Neil Gordon. Neil Gordon is a research associate at the Center for Public Integrity, and also a lawyer.
Funding for the project comes from several sources, most prominently the Open Society Institute in New York. The research will be disseminated by the Center for Public Integrity, possibly in the form of a book from a major publisher.Weinberg and Gordon plan to name names of prosecutors who cross the line, especially in jurisdictions where wrongful convictions have occurred repeatedly. Steve Weinberg can be contacted by:
Read Weinberg's account of the Ellen Reasonover story, "Railroaded," which was published in The American Lawyer.
Neil Gordon can be contacted at the Center for Public Integrity by:
In July of 1996, Becky Raymond's world was shattered. While her husband faced a felony conviction and a seven-year prison sentence, she and their two sons were left to contend with the aftermath. Edgar A. Baren's "A Sentence of Their Own" chronicles one family's annual pilgrimage to a New Hampshire State Prison and reveals the damaging impact that incarceration has on families.
The video makes visible what is rarely seen, the slow and gradual descent of a family "doing time" on the outside, and calls for a closer examination and deeper understanding of our growing rates of incarceration and its impact on families, communities, and our culture at large.
For further information on screening and/or purchasing, "A Sentence of Their Own," please visit: www.asentenceoftheirown.com. The website features details about how to use this film in your community, including review of their discussion guide and full transcripts. Contact:
Edgar A. Barens, Columbus Circle Station, P.O. Box 20843,
York, NY 10023, firstname.lastname@example.org
On February 19th, the Rev. Franklin Graham, calling HIV/AIDS a greater threat to the United States than terrorism, urged Christians to lay aside their prejudices about the disease and get more involved in preventing its spread around the world, according to a report by Caryle Murphy, Washington Post Staff Writer.
"Unfortunately and shamefully, the church has been somewhat asleep on this issue, and maybe it's because of the social stigma," Graham reportedly said. Noting that many Christians believe HIV/AIDS afflicts only homosexuals or drug users, Graham told Murphy, "It's heterosexual, and the danger is to all of us."
The Christian evangelical leader noted that while about 3,000 people died in September's terrorist attacks, North America had about 20,000 AIDS deaths last year. "Think of the impact. It's lawyers, it's professional people, it's the cream of the crop of our artistic world," he said in the Post article. "We're not spending near as much money on HIV as we are on terrorism. But which is the greater threat?"
Graham, 49, son of evangelical preacher Billy Graham, was speaking on the second day of an international conference in Washington of 830 people from 87 countries dealing with the repercussions of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, including growing populations of orphans whose parents died of AIDS-related complications. "We need a new army of men and women who are prepared to go around the world, to help in this battle," said Graham, who also heads the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
"For me, as an evangelical Christian I have to point the finger at myself and say, 'I'm late," added the preacher. "I believe that if Jesus Christ were here today we would find him on the front line of this issue."
What do November Coalition members think about Graham's call? Perhaps his office should be flooded with letters about AIDS in prison, how it spreads and of urgent medical care needs. Remind Franklin Graham that our drug policies are fueling this insidious epidemic. Call for action, expose the dangers of prison rape, and appeal for the immediate release of sick and dying prisoners.
Write to: Franklin Graham
Charles Sullivan, of Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants (or CURE) posted a simple but poignant request to the Internet in late-January. Sullivan, active as a death penalty abolitionist, and prison reformer, received a letter at Christmas from Fr. Lloyd Bechamp of Dominica.
In the letter, Father Bechamp wrote, "One of our needs at this island prison is men's shoes. When a man comes to the prison he has what he has on his feet. When the shoes wear out he is bare footed. If you have any way to publish our need, particularly in men's shoes sizes 8, 9, 10, 11, 12; footwear could be sent to me at this address:
Fr. Lloyd Bechamp · P.O. Box 1759, Roseau · Dominica, West Indies
What was that wisdom gained from crying because I had no shoes
until I met a man with no feet? Dear Razoristas, it's time to
"beat feet" to clean out your closet full of shoes
you don't use, and contact Fr. Bechamp for more information.
PrisonerLife.com Internet project will design customized websites for prisoners to write and post information about themselves, seek out pen pals, put up resumes and letters of support, and any articles they have written or that have been written about them.
Zach Axelrod wrote to say, "We can provide help to those who cannot receive help from family, or supplemental help to those with supportive families, in the form of letters of support, messages on a message board, e-mails, or letters, as well as trying to change public opinion through our website."
November Coalition is listed twice on their links page, under
'drugs' (alphabetically) and under 'activists and community organizations'
(also alphabetically). On the web, you can visit PrisonerLife.com
or email Zach: Zarod50@cs.com
for more information. If you do not have internet access, you
can write PrisonerLife.com · P.O. Box 1664 · Voorhees,
NJ 08043; they will mail details about services and fees to any
prisoner or family of a prisoner who requests more information.
The following projects offer free books to prisoners across the nation. You can ordinarily expect a two-to-three month wait before receiving a response. A project's reply will likely come in the form of a postcard requiring more specific information. Check with mailroom officials at individual prisons to learn the procedures for these free books coming in.
Prison Book Program
(Note: Sends ONLY to prisoners in Texas, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.)
Prison Library Project
Prisoners Literature Project
Books Through Bars
Books Through Bars
Prison Policy News
Set Free Prison Ministries
Teresa Aviles of Bronx, NY has been asked to participate in the formation of a special advisory board. The Archdioceses of New York and Justice Works Community are currently collaborating on a criminal justice reform project in New York State, funded by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.
Teresa founded the Isidro Aviles Memorial Chapter of November
Coalition to remember and honor her son who died mysteriously
in prison while serving a first-time, nonviolent drug prisoner.
This project will "educate citizens in New York State about
problems in the criminal justice system and encourage them to
take action to demand reform in criminal justice policy,"
wrote Teresa. One of the objectives of this initiative is the
formation of an Advisory Board composed of ex-prisoners and their
family members to oversee and administer the project jointly
with the Archdiocese and Justice Works.
At 19, author Yvonne Rainey was an inmate in federal prison on a drug-related charge. Rather than spending her time in prison being bitter and mournful, she began educating herself with books. She then began writing her own novel about the life she knew entitled, "Dear Lover."
Drawing on Rainey's personal experiences, "Dear Lover," which was released September 29th, 2001, mixes fact with fiction as Rainey explores the mean streets of Las Vegas through the eyes of her main character, Danna Myers.
After being released from prison at 23 years old, Rainey became gainfully employed as the first black women to be certified as a Backflow Tester in the state of Nevada. She tested water for the City of North Las Vegas and the Health District for possible contamination. Although she enjoyed her job's financial security, it wasn't Rainey's passion.
She took a huge pay cut and became a youth program coordinator for the High On Life Youth Program. While studying to become a personal trainer though ACE at UCLA, she eventually became the aerobic instructor for the Community College of Southern Nevada. She loves being an inspiration for youth and ex-offenders but still felt she had so much more to offer.
She then took the challenging role of becoming the CEO of her very own publishing company called Beginning II End Publishing Inc. She has also launched Beginning II End Bookstore and Beginning II End Book Club. Even with Rainey's demanding schedule she still finds the time to participate in prison reform groups.
Yvonne Rainey now lives and works in Las Vegas, Nevada where she operates her own publishing business and is involved actively in her community. Interested readers may order "Dear Lover" from Beginning II End Publishing, PO Box 335682, Las Vegas, NV 89033. Website: www.beginning2endpub.com Telephone: 702-647-8694