Breaking News:Dangerous Delays: What Washington State (Re)Teaches Us About Cash and Cannabis Store Robberies [REPORT]


RSS Feed for this category

Press Release: Hip Hop Superstar Fat Joe, Former Giants Linebacker Carl Banks, NY State Supreme Court Justice Jerome Marks among those Honored at In Arms Reach Award Gala on Thursday, November 29

[Courtesy of In Arms Reach] FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: (917) 939-5349; [email protected] Hip Hop Superstar Fat Joe, Former Giants Linebacker Carl Banks, NY State Supreme Court Justice Jerome Marks among those Honored at In Arms Reach Award Gala on Thursday, November 29 In Arms Reach, Founded by Rockefeller Drug Law Survivor Terrance Stevens, Provides Mentoring, After-school Activities, Builds Community and Esteem for Children with Incarcerated Parents Bronx Assemblyman Rueben Diaz Jr, Hip Hop Summit Action Network President Dr. Ben Chavis and R & B Vocalist Trey Songz to Join More than 100 Others at Inspiring Event NEW YORK – Hip hop superstar Fat Joe, former Giants linebacker Carl Banks, NY State Supreme Court Justice Jerome Marks, and Dean of City College of of New York’s Sophie School of Biomedical Education, Dr. Standform A. Roman Jr., are being honored at an award Gala supporting the New York non-profit organization, In Arms Reach. For five years, In Arms Reach (IAR) has successfully functioned as a non-profit, community-based organization for art, counseling, prison visitation and academic mentoring. IAR exclusively serves urban, New York children and youth of incarcerated or formerly incarcerated parents. The event will be held Thursday, November 29th, 2007, at The Great Hall of CUNY's City College, at West 138th Street and Convent Avenue. Capitol Music Group U.S. Chairman and CEO Jason Flom is an honorary chairman of the In Arms Reach Charity Gala. Terrence Stevens serves as the program's executive director, founding In Arms Reach in 2002, while confined to a wheelchair and virtually paralyzed from the neck down due to muscular dystrophy. Since its inception, IAR staff has provided over 3,450 hours of tutoring services, hundreds of after-school mentoring sessions, and dozens of free trips to prison facilities for children to reunite with their incarcerated parents. Terrence Stevens is a survivor of, and activist against, the draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws. In addition to his work with hundreds of young people with loved ones behind bars, Mr. Stevens is a leading voice in New York and Albany to change the inhumane and ineffective laws. "Children of incarcerated people face some of life's harshest challenges, including poverty, violence, limited opportunities for a good education, and a future that seems to hold little promise. The incarceration of a parent often places children at an increased risk of substance abuse, truancy, and other anti-social behaviors," explains Stevens. There are at least 2.5 million children in the United States that are denied access to their parent(s) because they parent is in prison. Terror Squad/Imperial/Capitol Music Group hip-hop veteran FAT JOE is one of those being honored for his support of children who lost their parents to incarceration. Born Joseph Cartegena, the Bronx's own Fat Joe has earned five RIAA gold certifications and two platinum certifications in the last decade, including a platinum master ringtone certification in 2007 for the smash single and video "Make It Rain." Leading the Terror Squad, Fat Joe earned an additional two gold RIAA awards for the master ringtone and digital singles of the blockbusting No. 1 pop (three weeks) and R&B/Hip Hip-Hop (seven weeks) landmark, "Lean Back." Joe's crossover smash "What's Luv," which introduced Ashanti to the pop chart, was a seven-week No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Fat Joe first charted in 1993 with his first solo single and video, "Flow Joe." "My community has been the foundation of everything I've ever accomplished in music and my business ventures," Fat Joe observes. "It's the role of hip-hop to give voice to the most overlooked, and it's the role of every responsible person to look into the community and be a positive force to as many as we possibly can. I'm proud to help bring awareness to this segment of youth, at a time when so many of our families in the minority community remain separated by the system." “Not only as an elected official in the Bronx, but as a personal friend of Joe’s, I believe that this recognition is long over due,” said New York State Assemblyman Ruben Diaz Jr. “Joe is someone who has come from a tough neighborhood in the Bronx and has become a world renowned entertainer and yet he finds the time to come back to his neighborhood and give back through mentoring and through resources so they can one day aspire to reach the heights that he has.” Attendees will also be treated to a live performance by R & B Atlantic Records artist Trey Songz.
New York, NY
United States

Over 100 beautiful socially-concious gifts from the Prison Art Gallery at affordable prices!

[Courtesy of Prison Art Gallery] Beautiful prison art clothing, cups, teddy bears, totes, hoodies, tank tops, hats, notecards, calendars, and much more for immediate shipment. Over 100 beautiful socially-concious gifts from the Prison Art Gallery at affordable prices! Imprisoned artists are among the most talented artists in the world. Now we've put their beautiful work on cups, clothing, and much more so you can give gifts this year that are unique, stunning, affordable and socially concious. We have partnered with Cafe Press to bring these gorgeous items to your door. They are available in a variety of colors and styles for immediate shipment! You can order online or by phone. Take a deep breath, prepare yourself for something very special and then visit our online store at
United States

Not one but TWO Prison Art Gallery calendars

[Courtesy of Prison Art Gallery] You asked for them, so here they are. Not one but TWO Prison Art Gallery calendars. Choose justice themes or general themes. Throughout the past year we've been planning our beautiful new 2008 calendar, selecting the finest art we've received from prison artists from across America. Trouble is, some of you wanted Justice Themes (jails, cells, prisoners, guardtowers, etc) while others requested non-justice themes (seascapes, landscapes, portraits, abstracts, etc). So we decided to publish two calendars with the help of Cafe Press, premium publishers of quality full-color calendars (and quite reasonably priced). View and order them now while they're still available. Perfect holiday gifts for you, your office, your loved ones, and your favorite judge. See and order them now at
Washington, DC
United States

Prison Art Holiday Cards Ready to Be Shipped

[Courtesy of Prison Art Gallery] The holidays as a time of caring and compassion take on new meaning when you send our unique prison art Holiday cards featuring the work of talented prison inmate artists. Four colorful cards, printed and distributed by the Prisons Foundation, spotlight the work of some of our best incarcerated artists. They are sold in packs of eight for only $12 per pack. These large cards (5 ½ by 8 inches) come with matching envelopes. The backs of the cards have short profiles of the inmate artists who created them. The inside of the cards is blank. To view and order these beautiful cards online with Paypal, check or credit card , please visit Or for telephone orders, please call 202-393-1511. Ending soon! FIRST ANNIVERSARY SALE OF PRISON ART PRINTS The Prison Art Gallery in downtown Washington, DC (three blocks from the White House) has now been in existence for a full year. We've sold hundreds of paintings, drawings and crafts made by prison inmates from across America, and sent thousands of dollars to their commissary accounts and their families. At the same time we've supported victim assistance and justice advocacy groups with our share of the proceeds from these sales. Thank you for helping to make this success possible. To celebrate our first anniversary, we are placing ALL our numbered limited edition Prison Art prints (more than 40 of them, each one 11" by 17" inches) on sale for the low low price of only $10 each. Or for just a little more, we will frame them for you. You can purchase by phone, email, or at the Prison Art Gallery or our outdoor exhibit. They can be shipped anywhere in the world. To see 40 of these beautiful works of art, please visit our November Art for Justice prison art catalog at . If you have any questions, please call 202-393-1511 anytime.
United States

Numbered Prison Art Prints Only $10 to Celebrate First Anniversary of Prison Art Gallery, Shipped Anywhere

The Prison Art Gallery in downtown Washington, DC (three blocks from the White House) has now been in existence for a full year. We've sold hundreds of paintings, drawings and crafts made by prison inmates from across America, and sent thousands of dollars to their commissary accounts and their families. At the same time we've supported victim assistance and justice advocacy groups with our share of the proceeds from these sales. Thank you for helping to make this success possible. To celebrate our first anniversary, we are placing ALL our numbered limited edition Prison Art prints (each one 11" by 17" inches) on sale for the low low price of only $10 each. Or for just a little more, we can frame them for you. You can purchase by phone, email, or at the Prison Art Gallery or our outdoor exhibit. They can be shipped anywhere in the world. To see 40 of these beautiful works of art, please visit our November Art for Justice prison art catalog at . If you have any questions, please call 202-393-1511 anytime.
Washington, DC
United States

Prison Art Gallery is exhibiting beautiful prison art this week in Baltimore and San Diego

[Courtesy of Prison Art Gallery] It seems that not a week goes by that the Prison Art Gallery (in Washington, DC) does not have a prison art show somewhere in America, and sometimes even oversees (more than 20 pieces from the Prison Art Gallery were recently displayed in the famous Bloomberg Space in London). But this week is special for us since we have TWO shows going on simultaneously, one in San Diego, California, hosted by the International Community Corrections Association (as part of its 15th Annual Conference) and the other in Baltimore, Maryland, at The Lutheran Center in the Inner Harbor area. For more information, or if your organization would like to host a prison art show at your headquarters or for your upcoming conference or special event, please call 202- 393-1511.
United States

FedCURE Report: Mass Incarceration in the United States: At What Cost?

Mass Incarceration in the United States: At What Cost?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 

Julia M. Fantacone, of Kimmitt, Senter, Coates, & Weinfurter, Inc, Washington, DC attended this meeting and filed report on behalf of FedCURE.


Glenn C. Loury (Brown University)

Bruce Western (Harvard University)

Alphonso Albert (Second Chances Program)

Michael Jacobson (Vera Institute of Justice)

Pat Nolan (Prison Fellowship)

This was a joint committee hearing focusing primarily on the economic effects of mass incarceration in the United States with consideration of racial disparities, drug sentencing, and prisoner reentry. Congressional members present included Sen. James Web (D-VA), Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS), Rep. Robert Scott (D-VA), Rep. Phil English (R-PA), Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA), and Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY).

Members of the committee voiced concerns about the rise of the incarceration rate in the United States over the past decade. Senator Casey called it, “a human tragedy, and a fiscal nightmare.” One main concern is that there have been enormous economic costs associated with prison construction and operation as well as productivity and wage loss for prisoners upon reentry. Senator Scott stated that, “the cradle to prison pipeline has many more economic costs than the cradle to college pipeline.” A second issue discussed was the disproportionate impact incarceration has had on minority communities. Much of the growth in the prison population is due to changes in legislation, mainly drug policy, not an increase in crime.  Prisoner reentry was a top concern and all members agreed that the Second Chance Act was on the right path to alleviate prisoner reentry problems. Senator Brownback stated, “It’s a bipartisan bill with a lot of support. It is ready to go to the floor. I think we can get a signature on it from President Bush.”

Glenn C. Loury, Professor of Social Sciences, Brown University


·        The United States imprisons at a far higher rate than any industrialized democracy in the entire world

·        A high level of imprisonment is not a rational response to high levels of crime

·        The extent of racial disparity among those imprisoned is greater than in any other major area of American social life

·        The war on drugs has not been successful and has had a disparaging affect on the African American community


·        Repeal mandatory minimum drug sentencing and release non-violent drug offenders

Bruce Western, Department of Sociology, Harvard University


·        The rise in incarceration rates today is five times higher than in 1972 with the highest increases in uneducated African American males

·        The economic opportunities for those released from prison have been greatly diminished due to erratic work histories and little education


·        Reexamine consequences that limit ex-felons to benefits and employment

·        Support prisoner reentry programs that provide transitional employment and other services

·        Support the establishment of local social impact panels to evaluate unwarranted disparities between juvenile and adult incarceration

Alphonso Albert, Second Chances Program, Norfolk, Virginia


·        Most incarcerated individuals have families who in turn end up becoming incarcerated

·        Prisoners need pre-release planning and post-release assistance services to assist them in making a positive transition from prison back into their community

·        Prisoners need assistance in attaining identification such as a driver license, housing placement, job training, and employment


·        Fund reentry programs that provide pre-release planning and post-release assistance

Michael Jacobson, Director, Vera Institute of Justice


·        The rate of growth of spending on corrections in state budgets far exceeds that for education, health care, social services, transportation, and environmental protection

·        Putting greater numbers of people in prison as a way to achieve public safety is one of the least effective ways of decreasing crime

·        Once prisoners leave they are confronted with overwhelming barriers to reentry


·        Begin to systematically transfer some resources used to imprison people into community based prevention and reentry programs

Pat Nolan, Vice President, Prison Fellowship


·        Inmates do not leave prison as law-abiding citizens; the skills they learn to survive while in prison make them anti-social.

·        Upon reentry, prisoners will need to find food, shelter, employment. These logistics and choices will create feelings of intense stress, often becoming overwhelming.


·        Upon reentry, prisoners need a mentor to assist them with decisions and make them accountable for their choices

·        Reentry planning should begin as soon as a prisoner is sentenced

·        Prison should assist inmates in strengthening family connections

·        Pre-existing conditions of drug abuse, physical abuse, and marital conflict should be resolved while in prison

·        Inmates should be encouraged to participate in faith based programs

Questions and Answers


Webb: Concerning disparities among minorities in drug cases, the point of arrest identifies the criminal, rather than the crime actually taking place. How does that skew the situation?  

Loury: In my testimony, there is a chart of New York City. It shows the concentration of incarceration rates among neighborhoods. The areas that are in red have the highest rate. You can see that the neighborhoods where blacks live have the highest concentration. In 1985, those were small areas in red but you can see that in 1996 the concentration in those same areas has grown. Strong families are important, but family participation and causation and not correlated. Common factors of distress among these families are underlying issues.

Western: Those incarcerated are not any less likely to have children. Children parallel their parents. There is an increase of divorce and separation among those incarcerated. There is usually a corrosive family structure. In addition, decisions about policing create even more disparities among the already disadvantaged.

Albert: Look at every point in the process of charging someone with a crime. What type of offense was it? How do you charge them? The decision making point in minority areas is often to the extreme.

Jacobson: We are spending money to hold criminals in communities in upstate prisons instead of using that same amount of money in the community where the criminal lives.

Nolan: Prisoners cannot keep in touch with their families. There are shorter and shorter visiting times. Phone bills are skyrocketing and phone call times are becoming shorter and shorter. The prisons need more programs to keep their families together.

Casey: Reiterate the statement you were making before about emergency room treatments for drug related maladies.

Loury: The chart in my testimony presents statistics regarding the number of people incarcerated, the number of drug related emergency room visits, and the number of people buying drugs. As you can see, the amount in prisons and emergency rooms is increasing but the amount of drugs purchased is also increasing. If people go to jail or are hospitalized it is not closing down the market, it just makes room for someone else to more in and start selling drugs. Drugs are much cheaper and easier to get.

Casey: I am going to play the devils advocate for the committee now. What if someone asked us why we were even arguing about this by saying that if it is against the law to have an illegal substance than that person should be penalized for having one and that is the end of the story? Is this a problem with the policy of arrest or is it a problem with what happens after the arrest?

Albert: When a police officer finds someone with an illegal substance, they have two options. They can take that person to jail. The person would have to post bail or stay in jail and possibly lose their job, family, etc. Alternatively, the officer could give the offender a court summons. The offender could go in front of a judge who could then send them to jail or give them community service. If the offender came to the hearing from the street, they would most likely get community service. If the offender was taking to jail right away and then summoned to court the judge would probably send that person back to prison.

Casey: Is there any uniformity on the street level or is it up to the police officer?

Albert: Police reflect the sentiment in their community. It depends where funding and resources are directed. If the community has outreach or service, programs in place than the officer may be inclined to rehabilitate a person instead of sending them to jail. Communities need justice but officers can adjust the way they police based on their community.

Jacobson: We tend to sue jail for every type of crime instead of just the types of crime it is truly useful for. We cannot afford to spend money to keep every person in prison. Most laws that put people in prison are for things that people do not like, not things that are truly harmful to us.

Nolan: Prosecutors are just looking for numbers to fill quotas and make them look tough but they are often just setting people up.

Webb: Does length of a sentence deter crime? Is there a different process we can take for people with drug possession?

Loury: We should repeal mandatory minimums and release non-violent drug offenders.

Jacobson: People would be more afraid of swift apprehension than a long sentence. Offenders do not think they can be caught. They are not thinking about how many years the sentence will be, neither are the members of congress who make the sentencing laws. There is no evidence that marginal increases in length of a sentence are deterrents. In addition, we keep many people beyond “crime committing years,” into their geriatric years. Too many elderly are in prisons that are not likely to commit another crime.

Nolan: Treatment of drugs is so much more important than incarceration.


Report filed for FedCURE by: KIMMITT, SENTER, COATES & WEINFURTER, Washington, DC.


P.O. Box 15667
Plantation, Florida 33318-5667

Web Site:    
E-mail:       [email protected]

E-fax:         (408) 549-8935

Washington, DC
United States

Drug War to Figure Prominently in Sen. Webb's Incarceration Hearing Tomorrow -- Available by Webcast

The state of Virginia has not traditionally been in the vanguard of criminal justice reform -- maybe the other way around -- but it does have some political figures who are enlightened on such issues. Rep. Bobby Scott of Richmond is one who has played a leading role in fighting this good fight for many years. Now, Virginia has Sen. Jim Webb. Last March we reported on remarks he had made on ABC about how mass incarceration is tearing the country apart and those are the kinds of issues he wants to work on. He's coming through. Tomorrow is Webb's first public hearing on the issue, "Mass Incarceration in the United States: At What Cost?" At the time of this writing, it is the top news link and prominently displayed on Webb's Senate home page. Follow the links from there and you'll find a lot of the things we've been saying for years, about incarceration in general and the drug war in particular. We've heard that at least one of the speakers is going to call for an end to the drug war. The venue where this is taking place is the Joint Economic Committee, comprised of members of both the Senate and House. New York's Chuck Schumer is the top Democrat on the committee, an influential figure in criminal justice policy. It's hard to tell in advance, but this feels like it could be a significant turning point, even if like most hearings it is likely to be a quiet one. Click here from 10:00am onward tomorrow morning to watch it live, or afterward for a video archive.
Washington, DC
United States

Important Criminal Justice Hearings Coming Up in Senate

I've been hearing about this from one of our members who has a son in prison, and now it's been discussed in the Boston Globe: Sen. Jim Webb is holding hearings on October 4th dealing with the economic impact of incarceration. Webb crossed our radar screen last March when he remarked on George Stephanopoulos' program that mass incarceration is "tearing this country apart." Check out Life Sentence, a column published in the Globe Sunday by Christopher Shea, which uses the hearings as a hook to examine the issue and highlight works by some important scholars. There's a discussion taking place on the comment board too that you can join.
United States

Obama is So Bad on Drug Policy, He Got Endorsed By Prison Guards

I guess the title says it all. Barack Obama is far and away the worst democratic contender when it comes to drug policy and criminal justice reform. It is unsurprising, therefore, that people who make a living off our grotesquely bloated criminal justice system are supporting his candidacy. Via Talkleft:
…one of the largest municipal jail unions in the country said Monday it would endorse Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois for president. The endorsement would be Obama's first from a union.

Obama said, "It's an honor to have the endorsement of these men and women who put themselves at risk every day to serve on the front lines of our nation's criminal justice system." [CBS News]
Ah, the ever-expanding front lines of our criminal justice system. Obama just keeps saying things like this. It remains perplexing to watch the so-called "change" candidate gaze with reverence upon our massive drug war and criminal justice system. Obama's support from incarceration specialists is richly deserved to be sure.

Update: At the risk of further emboldening the hysterical Obama fans in the comment section, it's only fair to add that Barack Obama has spoken in favor of needle exchange. Hillary Clinton, who's otherwise sounded good on drug policy (for a front-runner, anyway) wants to see more proof that it works, which, at this point, is like demanding proof that the sun will rise tomorrow. So Obama understands that issue, at least.

(This blog post was published by's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also shares the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)
United States

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, 2016 Drug War Killings, 2017 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, Vaping, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Pill Testing, Safer Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Kratom, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psilocybin / Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School