Jonnie Mae Brown is a 46 year old African American women has been drug and alcohol free since 1989 ending a 25 year street-based, primarily heroin, addiction. Ms. Brown has a job at the New York City Human Resources Administration Eligibility Center at 109 E. 16th Street, but is now a prisoner in New Jersey charged as a fugitive due to an old warrant dating back to 1972.
Ms. Brown, (Jonnie Crews -- Brown is her married name) had no reason to believe she was a fugitive. She was cleared by HRA investigators, applied for and received a passport and traveled abroad in 1995. Brown also appeared before the New Jersey family court when they reassigned custody of her minor children. The warrant, now some 25 years old, seeks time owed the State of New Jersey.
In 1972, the Browns, Jonnie and her husband Tang, were arrested. Tang Brown was a dealer, who had removed Jonnie from her grandmother's home at age 16. He went to the penitentiary. Jonnie Brown was offered treatment in lieu of incarceration and accepted it. Brown was remanded to Integrity House in Newark. She subsequently fled.
In December 1997, upon return from a vacation in Morocco, she was seized at Kennedy airport and charged as a fugitive. She is now incarcerated at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women, P.O. Box 404, Clinton NJ 08809-4404. She is #98-29. Phone of facility for inquiries: (908) 735- 7111. PLEASE CALL OR WRITE THE FACILITY and speak to Cheryl Rondelli, the parole board director in charge of this case.
ALSO, if you live in the New York/New Jersey area, please write to your local paper to alert them to this case and express your outrage. THIS IS JUST ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF THE LACK OF RESPECT OF A DRUG WAR BUREAUCRACY FOR THE LIVES OF THOSE WHO USE OR ONCE USED DRUGS. JONNIE BROWN IS A SUCCESS STORY, SHE VOLUNTEERS HER TIME TO HELP OTHERS OVERCOME ADDICTION AS SHE DID, AND NOW HER LIFE IS BEING DESTROYED ALL OVER AGAIN FOR FLEEING DRUG TREATMENT 26 YEARS AGO!
(This alert was issued at the request of Imani Woods of Progressive Solutions, also coordinator of the African American Community Education Project, and a winner of last year's Citizen Action Award from the Drug Policy Foundation. Please send us copies of your letters or let us know what other actions you have taken, and we will forward the information to Imani for use in helping Jonnie Brown.)