Join SFCIPP Coordinator Dr. Crystallee Crain in a Digital Dialogue: Families Impacted by Incarceration
Date: Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Coordinator, San Francisco Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership
Technical Assistance and Strategic Dissemination Center (CANTASD)
Elevating All Families in the Time of Trump - An Evening of Conversation on Dec. 13th
When: December 13, 2016
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Where: Ed Roberts Campus
3075 Adeline Street
Berkeley, CA 2000594703
On December 13, New America and Family Story will host a conversation among advocates and thought leaders like you to answer a new question: How can engaging a diversity of families in public policy design result in policies that truly serve America’s families and create a more equitable future for all?
America’s diversity is one of our national hallmarks, and that diversity extends beyond race, country of origin, who we love, and gender. It also includes how we create family. Today, there is no single family arrangement that encompasses the majority of children. Single-parent homes are increasingly common, as are arrangements in which children live with grandparents or with unmarried, cohabiting parents. And, there are many families composed of people who are not biologically related or legally bound. Family diversity is the new normal.
Unfortunately, our government thinks some families are better than others. Since the 1950s, America has promoted a belief that the best kind of family consists of a married heterosexual couple raising biological children under one roof. Families that fall outside of this category are seen as less worthy of support and equal protection under the law. And America’s current political climate makes clear that our most marginalized families are under attack.
It’s time for bold solutions and action to ensure equity for for all families regardless of how they are structured. Please join us for a conversation that will illuminate the ways we can create a democracy that is truly of, by and for all people, and families.
Proposition 57 is Approved by Voters
Originally posted in The Los Angeles Times
California voters handed a decisive victory to Gov. Jerry Brown this election in his effort to reshape the state's criminal justice system, approving a ballot measure to offer a new chance at prison release for thousands of prisoners.
Proposition 57, the governor's plan to further shrink the state's prison population, was supported by almost two-thirds of voters in Tuesday night returns. Its strongest support came from urban areas with a sizable number of Democratic voters.
The ballot measure changes the state's prison and legal systems in three significant ways. The least controversial element will reverse a law approved by voters in 2000 that sent more juvenile defendants to adult courtrooms. Those young defendants will now only be charged as adults with a judge's approval.
Click here to read the full story on LATimes.com.
Action Alert! A Simple Step Californians Can Take to Keep Families Connected by Removing Barriers to Visits in Prison
Dear Colleagues, we'd like to share an update from LSPC about their #FightForAllFamilies initiative~
RIGHT NOW, in California, we can take a simple step to keep families connected by removing barriers to visits in prison:
We just won a victory to stop prisons in California from using ION scanners, and we have 90 days to convince CDCR to ban ION scanners for good. Will you join us?
Take action with our 30/30/30 challenge to ban Ion scanners:
Take the first 30-day challenge: Sign and share our petition telling CDCR to ban ION Scanners!
After you sign-up, we’ll keep you updated on the next 30 day challenge! (HINT: get your 30 second videos ready)
Tweet using our hashtags, #FightForAllFamilies and #BanIONScanners
Some background & some victories:
In 2014, the California Department of Corrections introduced emergency regulations requiring all visitors to submit to contraband and metal detection devices, including ION scanners, canine searches, and fully unclothed strip searches. Since the implementation of these measures, we have received numerous stories from family members citing false positives from ION Scanners, difficulty visiting after false positives, and increased humiliation at being treated like drug smugglers.
Last month, the Office of Administrative Law published a decision disapproving of CDCR’s most recent proposed regulations regarding canine searches and ION sans, and requiring CDCR to submit a new proposed regulation within 120 days of OAL’s notice (published on September 21, 2016). In response to this notice, we are calling on our allies like you to tell CDCR to ban ION scanners for good.
Incarceration rips families apart in all kinds of ways.
We are devoted to protecting each and every family’s right to be together, no matter what. Visitation is an incredibly important resource for families who have loved ones inside, and ION scanners are a threat to every family that visits. ION scanners shame and blame family members, and suggest that some families don’t deserve togetherness. We disagree, and we hope you do, too.
Here’s what you can do! If you want to join us on our 30/30/30 campaign to ban ION scanners, take action above and sign our petition!
(And, of course, you're always welcome to donate to LSPC!)
I think that every family member of someone who’s imprisoned can attest to the loneliness and frustration that typifies this type of family dynamic. Children of incarcerated parents have an especially difficult road to walk. As a wife of a man who’s incarcerated, I have chosen to voluntarily incarcerate myself in many ways. The children of men who are incarcerated, on the other hand, have no say in the matter. They are just adversely affected by the consequences of their dad — the person who is suppose to protect them from pain, not cause it. These burdens that children bear can interfere with even the best teacher’s efforts, and only a clearer understanding of their situation can help them learn.
Meaningful, sustained connectivity between those incarcerated and their families is one of the most indicative factors of a former prisoner’s likelihood of recidivism. But little, from my perspective, is actually done to educate, to bring about true rehabilitation, or to strengthen that vital family and community connection.
This is especially true for the children of those incarcerated. Many of the men I see when I go to visit my husband are fathers. What about their children, i.e. our students? Who supports them? Who even knows about their situation? Given the shame and judgement that I’ve encountered first-hand for being married to a man behind bars, I can only imagine what the children of fathers who are incarcerated must endure. The thought makes me shudder.Read the entire post here.
Project What! is Hiring!!
It is that time of year again, Project WHAT! is now accepting applications. They're specifically looking for applicants that live in Oakland and San Francisco. The requirements are that they are between the ages of 14-18, they have a parent who has been or currently is incarcerated, they are willing to write and share their story about the impacts of parental incarceration, and they live or go to school in Alameda or San Francisco County. Please pass this information along to anyone you think may be interested and email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Find out more about Project What! here.
View and download an application here.
Reminder! New Podcast - Working With the Correctional System and Incarcerated Parents
"We believe that reentry starts on the first day." — Alix McLearen, U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons
When professionals work, interact, and exchange information with parents who are incarcerated and who have children involved in the child welfare system, they must also work with the correctional system and detention facilities (prisons). Navigating the protocols and procedures within a State's correctional system can be challenging and confusing, especially to professionals unaware of the restrictions on visitations and correspondence with inmates.
Our new podcast, "Working With the Correctional System and Incarcerated Parents," features a conversation among those with experience on both sides of the working relationship between the child welfare and correctional systems. Each side of this relationship shares the same vision for incarcerated parents: Reentry into society and reunification with family, where appropriate.
The following are just a few things listeners will learn from the podcast:
- What professionals should know about sending correspondence to a prison (including how to label mail for an incarcerated parent)
- Insight on coordinating child-parent visits
- Actions incarcerated parents can take to support their case plans
- Ways incarcerated parents can participate in court processes and hearings
To access our current podcast list, visit the Children’s Bureau website at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/capacity/child-welfare-podcast-series.
Reentry Council News and Meetings
NEW APD/REENTRY STAFF – Research Director, Tara Agnese - After a robust recruitment process, the Adult Probation Department is happy to announce the hiring of Tara Agnese as Research Director. Before landing at Adult Probation, Ms. Agnese worked for the last seven years with the Judicial Council of California where she was immersed in a wide variety of criminal justice research, design and evaluation projects. She will continue to help Adult Probation strengthen our data, research and evaluation infrastructure and will also be a tremendous asset to the work of the Reentry Council of the City and County of San Francisco and San Francisco’s Community Corrections Partnership. She can be reached at email@example.com or at 415-553-9702. Please send her a warm welcome!
MEETINGS - Mark your calendars!
Community Corrections Partnership Executive Committee Meeting
- December 15th, 10am-noon, 400 McAllister Street, 6th Floor Conference Room
2017 Reentry Council Meetings
Full Reentry Council: (locations TBD)
Assessment & Connections Subcommittee:
- 3/8—City Hall Room 305
- 5/10—Public Defender’s office
- 7/12—Public Defender’s office
- 9/13—Public Defender’s office
- 11/8— City Hall Room 305
Policy & Operational Practices Subcommittee:
- 3/15— City Hall Room 305
- 5/17— City Hall Room 305
- 7/19— City Hall Room 305
- 9/20— City Hall Room 305
- 11/15— City Hall Room 305
Support & Opportunities Subcommittee:
- 5/18— City Hall Room 305
- 7/20— City Hall Room 305
- 11/16— City Hall Room 305
As always, please take some time to visit the Reentry Council website for more interesting information: http://sfgov.org/sfreentry/
Prison Deaths Continue at the California Institution for Women (CIW) - Families and Advocates Call for Full Transparency and Immediate Accountability
On November 10, 2016, Bong Chavez, an incarcerated woman at the California Institution for Women (CIW), tragically died in the mental health unit where she was housed. She was 56. CIW is now responsible for six suicides in two years. Despite new leadership after the warden’s forced retirement in August 2016, CIW has repeatedly failed to follow their own mental health crisis policies and procedures. To date, no correctional officers have lost their jobs because of systematic, neglectful failures that led to six deaths. Advocates demand that CIW fire the correctional officers who failed to save Ms. Chavez’ life.
According to witnesses, Ms. Chavez requested increased mental health services for at least two weeks and reported to a correctional officer that she was suicidal the night that she died. Rather than follow policy, guards made her sit in an office for 45 minutes to “calm down.” They then forced her to return to her cell, where she hung herself using the ceiling vent. Ms. Chavez’s cellmate screamed for help once she found her hanging. Elaine Leeon, who witnessed her friend’s death from a cell directly across the hall said, "We were all yelling, ‘Hurry up! Hurry up!’ It took 10 whole minutes for the guards to respond. She was just hanging there. Then they took another 8 minutes to return with scissors. The cop shop is no more than a minute away.” When the guard returned, he did not hold Ms. Chavez’s body when he cut her down. Witnesses saw her fall from the vent and her head slam to the ground and crack open. “They let her drop like she was nothing. There was a pool of blood on the floor," said Leeon. Eventually, Ms. Chavez was taken to Correctional Treatment Crisis where she was pronounced dead.
“Make no mistake, CIW is directly responsible for Ms. Chavez’s death,” said Colby Lenz, an advocate at the California Coalition for Women Prisoners. “People are committing suicide because of the inhumane conditions at CIW, including forcing people into solitary confinement when they are the most vulnerable. Guards are indifferent to these deaths and blatantly refuse to follow CIW’s suicide prevention policy with no repercussions.”
Witnesses report that this is the second person in just over 6 months to commit suicide using the vents in these mental health unit cells. The first was 35-year-old Erika Rocha who hung herself in April 2016, after time in suicide watch solitary confinement. “We as families can never get timely and accurate information about what happened to our loved ones who died in custody,” said Sheri Graves, whose daughter Shaylene died at CIW in June 2016. “We demand full transparency and full accountability,” said Graves.
Sheri Graves, mother of Shaylene Graves
Lastly, don't forget to send us any news and updates you'd like us to include in our newsletter, thanks!