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Monday, March 14, 2011

resolution to avoid jail expansion passes unanimously out of Co. Leg.-- hold their feet to fire!...

Hi all...

Great news-- it really happened!...

The Tyner/Goldberg/White resolution below (for alternatives to jail expansion) actually passed unanimously out of the full board mtg. for our County Legislature just now!...

-- #2011060...

[good stuff-- unless you truly relish notion of wasting tens of millions of tax
dollars on a jail expansion we don't need]

Thx much to Sandy G. for her edits and input on this; Fred Bunnell as well; 'twas a group process, folks...(thx as well to Fred for his testimony last Thursday-- and to speeches from Mae Parker-Harris and Earl Brown too)...(thx also to Rich Carlson, Wesley Lee, and Earl for comin' out to speak on this tonite as well)...

And again-- hope you can all also come out to our next Jobs Not Jails meeting-- Sat. Apr. 2nd (just confirmed!) at 10:30 am at Holy Light Pentecostal Church (33 Clover St. in Poughkeepsie where we've been meeting)...

[check out our website-- (thx to
Manna Jo Greene)!]

Pass it on...


[key now will be to make sure that both NIC and CJC look at all the innovations below!]

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Resolution No. 2011060


Legislators TYNER, GOLDBERG, and WHITE offer the following
and move its adoption:

WHEREAS, on any given day between 120 to 178 inmates from
Dutchess County are housed in other counties' facilities because
there is not enough room in our jail facility, and

WHEREAS, the annual costs to Dutchess County is approximately
three million dollars a year to do this, and

WHEREAS, although Dutchess County has many very effective and
innovative ATI's that help reduce our population, there are other
programs being implemented in other areas in our State and around the
Country, and

WHEREAS, the National Institute of Corrections in its Framework
for Evidence-Based Decision Making in Local Criminal Justice System
outlines seven principals to reduce recidivism, some of which our
county already is utilizing, and,

WHEREAS, those principals include: Use risk assessment tools
to identify risk to reoffend and criminogenic needs; Direct
programming and interventions to medium and higher risk offenders;
Focus interventions for medium and higher risk offenders on their
individual criminogenic needs; Respond to misconduct with swiftness,
certainty, and proportionality; Use more carrots than sticks; Deliver
services in natural environments where possible; Pair sanctions with
interventions that address criminogenic needs, and

WHEREAS, the Dutchess County Criminal Justice Council has in
the past evaluated and recommended the implementation of many
programs that help reduce jail population and decreases the
recidivism rate for the county, therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Dutchess County Legislature requests
that our county's Criminal Justice Council evaluate and report back
within 120 days on the feasibility for Dutchess County to implement
the following programs keeping in mind the above seven principles:
Fraternity for fathers behind bars*
ComAlert program for re-entry for people leaving jail **
Job Court program***
Housing first strategy for the chronically mentally ill homeless
alcoholics and drug addicts****
Review preventive recommendations put forth by Fight Crime: Invest in
Kids Coalition *****, and be it further

RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be sent to the Criminal
Justice Council of Dutchess County.

*Program started in Newark, NJ; has decreased recidivism rate from
65% to 3%; cited in Time Magazine and CNN
**Program currently being utilized by Brooklyn DA Charles Haynes;
cited in NY Times
***Program currently being done in Lancaster County PA; profiled on
Nat'l Public Radio
****Program has been implemented in Westchester County, parts of NYC,
Chattanooga, and San Francisco; in Westchester the homeless
populaiotn has been cut in half
*****Program calls for pro-active, preventive investments for
low-risk to medium risk youth prone to juvenile delinquency

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Recall this from Poughkeepsie Journal Jan. 20th: "Study of Dutchess
Jail Expansion Has Friends, Foes"

"Democrat Joel Tyner of Clinton voted against the resolution
authorizing the jail expansion feasibility study. Tyner said he
believes the county should look much closer at ways to prevent
recidivism. "There are programs in Newark, in Brooklyn and in
Lancaster, Pa., that are addressing this," he said. "We are not
looking at the best practices that have succeeded elsewhere . Until
we do, it's insane to spend millions and millions of dollars.""

"On a typical day, more than 140 inmates from Dutchess are housed
elsewhere because the county jail on North Hamilton Street in the
City of Poughkeepsie doesn't have room for them. The cost of
transporting and housing these inmates: about $3 million a year.
Virtually every weekday, Dutchess County correction officers are
transporting inmates to jails in Warren, Washington, Rensselaer and
Schoharie counties or bringing them back from those facilities. [this
doesn't necessitate jail expansion!]

[more than one way to skin cat, folks-- other ways to avoid jail
overcrowding besides building more cells; GOP bent on jail
expansion-- to cost us $30 to $133 million when bonds paid off;
recall 2005!]

So-- 10 things Dutchess Co. needs to do before even thinking about
ANY kind of jail expansion locally:


1. First, Dutchess should have a fraternity for dads behind bars
similar to what Newark's Mayor Cory Booker recently started there--
an organization for incarcerated fathers that has literally slashed
the local recidivism rate from 65% to 3% (recall Time magazine
article on this Nov. 29; CNN report too).
[see:,9171,2032144,00.html ]

2. Second, Dutchess should implement a truly comprehensive system of
re-entry for folks leaving jail and prison modeled after Brooklyn DA
Charlie Hynes' ComAlert program there that has tremendously slashed
the recidivism rate (and been repeated recognized by the Times in
editorial and op-ed pages for this; still working; see ; .

3. Third, Dutchess should implement a cost-saving Job Court program
modeled after the model one from Lancaster County/PA'profiled a few
years ago by National Public Radio (to cut recidivism).
[see: ]

4. Fourth, Dutchess should welcome with open arms Father Peter Young
and his organization-- that has slashed recidivism in parts of NYS
where they have operations from 67% to less than 10%, as proven by a
recent study by the John Jay School of Criminal Justice(!)....(you
may recall forum I hosted with Father Peter Young on this at the
Family Partnership Center in Poughkeepsie several years ago; rep's
from sheriff's office came out to this event-- and were quite
positive re: need for much more re: re-entry).
[see: ]

5. Fifth, Dutchess should finally and fully implement a cost-saving
housing-first strategy for the chronically mentally ill homeless
alcoholics and drug addicts who have been cycling in and out of our
jail here in Dutchess...recall-- I've been pushing for this for
literally five years now-- since first learning about it in a Jan.
'05 article in Mother Jones magazine by Douglas McGray-- "Life on the
Inside"...thx to 29 of you out there all across the county who signed
on to my to make exactly this
happen; recall as well NYTimes piece on this several years ago,
pointing out how a housing-first approach to homeless there has cut
homeless population literally in half(!)...housing-first is also
working quite well in various parts of NYC, Chattanooga, San
Francisco, and all over the U.S.
[see: -- recall forum I organized
with PTHousing folks @ FP Center]

6. Sixth, Dutchess should fully embrace all the cost-saving,
pro-active, preventive recommendations put forth by the national and
statewide Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Coalition (recall-- even
Sheriff Butch Anderson and DA Bill Grady have long been charter
members of this organization that calls for serious, pro-active,
preventive, cost-saving investments in pre-K, afterschool activities,
and community-based programs for low-risk to medium-risk youth prone
to juvenile delinquency; see ).
[see ; former Tompkins Co. Leg. Chair Tim
Joseph shared news with me five years ago about this coalition;
Joseph led successful opposition there to jail expansion for years]

7. Seventh, Dutchess should fully restore county $ for these 3
crucial programs just eliminated by GOP:

-- Restore county funding for BOCES GED program in Jail (endorsed by
jail's leadership) just eliminated.
[tho only $87,000/year this program cuts recidivism rate in half for
Transition Unit-- from 56% to 28%]

-- Restore Project Return (juvenile delinquency prevention) for 45
kids at Youth Bureau just cut by GOP.
[effectively costing only $24/day to keep youth with
families--instead of $657/day to be incarcerated!]

-- Restore Mediation Center of Du. Co. (juvenile delinquency
prevention for troubled teens) cut by GOP.
[youth in 245 different families served last year in community-- not
$240,000/year each for incarceration]

8. Eighth, Dutchess should fully restore county $ for these five
programs just massively cut by GOP for '11: Cornell/4-H, Youth
Mentoring/Job Training/Placement at Dutchess County Regional Chamber
of Commerce, Dutchess County Arts Council, Mill Street Loft, and
Literacy Connections-- all four of these local institutions perform
an incredibly valuable service to the community keeping youth on
right track.

9. Ninth, Dutchess should make sure that our county is on the cutting
edge re: cost-saving criminal justice innovations-- i.e., "diverting
low-end probation and parole violators to nonincarcerative
settings"-- like the HOPE Project in Hawaii, the High Point project
in North Carolina and an experiment in Multnomah County (home to
Portland, Oregon)...All these model programs view jail and prison
sentences as a last option rather than a default, and swift responses
to violations are considered more important than harsh ones. For
reformers, it is a rare breath of fresh air." (as reported on in the
July 5th cover article in The Nation by Sasha Abramsky-- "Is This The
End of the War on Crime?"...note, too, programs like this are
strongly recommended by the Vera Institute's Michael Jacobson, and
[see: ; ]

10. Tenth, Dutchess should implement all of the recommendations from .

[again re: below-- I've contacted Mike Thompson, director of the New
York-based Council of State Government's Justice Center (see -- quoted in July 5th The Nation
piece cited above; copied below)-- he seems quite interested in
pulling together with us to organize a forum in Feb./Mar. re:
common-sense, cost-saving alternatives to jail expansion locally;
details to come!]

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Again-- important-- recall-- as I stated Jan. 29 (thx to Fred Bunnell
for update on this and to Sam Busselle for originally sharing info--
as Dutchess Co.'s Criminal Justice Council just voted unanimously to
accept a FREE, top-to-bottom review from National Institute of
Corrections-- let's hope this happens asap-- and that our county
government actually accepts their recommendations!...

Sam Busselle, long-time member of our county's Criminal Justice
Council, strongly warned us recently
against the GOP's headlong rush for a $75 million, 300-bed jail
expansion-- here's exactly what Sam just told us-- "I have been
trying to persuade our county's Criminal Justice Council to accept
the services of the National Institute of Corrections ( ) at no charge-- to do a survey using their
process of "Evidence-Based Decision Making" to look at our entire
system from arrest to sentencing to jail/prison/ATI. They will hire
staff consultants from the Center for Effective Public Policy ( ), look at our stats, ask for info, and then
conduct a two-day workshop that will result in recommendations as to
where our system could be improved-- I think this should
precede or even take the place of a jail study"(!).
[esp. this-- --
innovative ways to cut recidivism]

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Recall below info from Dutchess CSEA Pres. Liz Piraino

To: Robert Rolison, Chairman
Dutchess County Legislature

Date: November 23, 2010
The justification given on November 17th for decimating the Youth
Services Unit, including the elimination of a Youth Worker as well as
the complete elimination of Project Return was because, "In the last
ten years, other evidence-based practices have been incorporated in
other departments that also serve these high risk youth." (Director
of HHSC speaking before the Dutchess County Legislature's Budget and
Finance Committee) Less than ten minutes later, the same Cabinet
Director attributed the decrease in DSS placement numbers to "?the
good work of Youth Bureau staff and the good work of Probation and a
lot of contractors."

"Evidence based practices" and "Evidence based programs" are two
recent buzz words used in government for those programs that have
received millions of dollars in order to study their effectiveness.
In the past twenty-five years, YSU has not been permitted to apply
for any grants other than those available from OCFS or DSS, so
millions have not been spent to see if our programming works. We do,
however, have thousands of case records in our files that provide
evidence of what kind of "success" our young clients have attained
while in our programs.

The cost for CSE Placements (room & board) in the Tentative 2011 DSS
budget is $7,200,000, up $384,000. The cost for Institutional Care
Placements in the same budget is $17,400,000, up $1,457,000 from
2010. the amount proposed to spend is up $2,300,000 over the total
amount expended in 2009, and up $2,6000,000 over the total amount
expended in 2008. Together, between school-placed youth and DSS
placed youth, the tentative budget is recommending a whopping
$21,600,000 to send kids out the community in 2011!

Over the past five years, Project Return has worked with 194 high
risk teenagers. Only eight (8) young people were closed due to out of
home placements and five (5) of those placements were terms in
non-secure detention or rehab ordered by the Youth Treatment Court as
sanctions for failing to comply with judicial orders.

Over the same time period, YSU provided counseling, advocacy and
skills building for 1376 young people. Only three (3) were closed due
to out of home placements. [Please note that these figures do not
include nearly three thousand young county residents who received
workshop trainings on anti-bullying, bias awareness, anger management
and conflict resolution skills.]

During the same November 17th budget hearing, the figure of $240,000
was quoted as the amount it cost to house a youth in jail for one
year. This amounts to $657.53 per youth per day. Project Return costs
under $24 per youth per day to keep them in their homes and in the
community! The counseling services provided to Youth Services Unit
clients not involved in Project Return cost less than $8 per youth
per day.

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