Criminal Justice :

5-26-12 march

WESPAC Foundation is concerned about the criminal justice system. We work in solidarity with other groups and organizations in Westchester County to repeal the Rockefeller Drug Laws, to eliminate racial profiling, and to address the structural and institutional biases inherent in our criminal justice system. We stand to permanently remove the death penalty as a legal option for the state, and we seek to significantly reduce the prison populations by working towards a more benevolent economic system that guarantees meaningful jobs and training at a living wage to all people.

September 10 – October 1, 2020

At this pivotal moment in our nation’s history, advocates, policymakers, law enforcement, and community leaders around the country have raised concerns about policing and public safety.
 
People want change. They want America to be better. That call for change is unmistakable, but the path forward remains unclear. It’s time to reimagine 21st century public safety and redefine the role of police in creating safe communities, together.
 
This September, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice are partnering to convene a series of six livestream conversations to reimagine the future of public safety and redefine the role of policing in America today.
 
These sessions will culminate in the release of a public report that will include substantive and innovative conclusions for communities to consider as they reimagine the future of public safety. The report will serve as a roadmap for local communities to follow as they work toward committing to policing practices that ensure equal justice for everyone. We must collaborate and create a blueprint for the future of public safety—and what that means for policing—together. (See press release.)
 

RSVP today to receive reminders ahead of each conversation! 
Each event will be streamed live on our Facebook and YouTube pages. 

The Antiracist Alliance, WCPR, the local chapter of NYCLU as well as WESPAC have worked together to put together this letter. We are asking for additional organizations, groups and congregations to please add your names if you support our list of specific reforms outlined in the letter. Now is the moment. If you agree, please sign on here June 5, 2020

A Call to Police Leaders

Communities across the country, including our own, are angered and appalled as we witness an unending stream of callous, disrespectful, and often deadly encounters between police and civilians. While many of these events occur elsewhere, both individual experience and published research reports tell us that there is not a community in Westchester County that is not afflicted by disturbing police-civilian encounters, racially biased policing practices, and a problematic lack of transparency by its law enforcement agencies. 

This is a call for you to make a firm and public commitment to transparency, accountability, and a zero-tolerance approach to police misconduct. 

While we are wary after decades of refusals to reform, we remain willing to partner with our law enforcement leaders who embrace the tenets of accountability, transparency, equal justice, and respect for all human life. 

Below you will find a list of specific reforms that we wish to see implemented immediately here in Westchester. Achieving these recommendations will send a strong message to all members of our community that our leaders are committed to fundamentally redefining the relationship between our police department and our community. This is tough work, but if we commit to it, we can build a stronger community: one that is rooted in the fundamental ideals of liberty and justice for all.

In peace and commitment to partnership for the safety of all,

Residents and organizations of Westchester County (list is still in formation):

AntiRacist Alliance 

Black Westchester

Blacks in Law Enforcement

CD17 Indivisible

Indivisible New Rochelle

Indivisible Scarsdale 

Indivisible Westchester Districts 6 & 7

Indivisible White Plains

Indivisible Yorktown Heights

Larchmont/Mamaroneck Indivisible

NYCD16-Indivisible

PISAB/The People’s Institute; for Survival and Beyond NY/Northeast

SURJ Westchester Coordinating Committee

WESPAC

Westchester Black Political Conference

Westchester Coalition Against Islamophobia

Westchester Coalition for Police Reform

Westchester for Change 

Westchester Martin Luther King Jr. Institute for Nonviolence

OUR EXPECTATIONS

We expect you, as leaders with authority and responsibility for law enforcement in Westchester County, to assume full responsibility for meeting the highest possible standard of accountability, transparency and equal protection to all residents and visitors to our county. Our specific expectations are detailed below. 

  • Make publicly available the current policies and patrol guides of all law enforcement agencies under County jurisdiction, including but not limited to policies on: de-escalation tactics, implicit bias, use of force, department diversity, enforcement of low-level offenses, field interviews, search and seizure, use of surveillance technology, and the penalties for violating these policies.

  • Make public the training materials used for police officers: including hours spent training on de-escalation, implicit bias, and use of force. 

  • Commit to collecting comprehensive data on all police stops – including the rationale for the stop and the race, ethnicity, age, and sex of people stopped – and making that data publicly available. 

  • Pass legislation/Require officers making police stops to provide an identification card, state the reason for the interaction, and to state that you may not be searched without your consent without probable cause. 

  • Pass legislation/Require a full, independent investigation into any police-civilian interaction that results in civilian injury or death. 

  • Advocate for legislation that would make the measures outlined above mandatory throughout New York State, including Repeal 50-a, (the law which currently cloaks police officers’ disciplinary records in secrecy), the Right-to-Know Act, which requires officer identification during police stops, and the Police-STAT Act, which requires that police departments collect and report data on police stops so that they can be monitored for patterns of racial profiling.

 We remain committed to working to advance racial justice and hold our police officers accountable, and we invite you to join us in this fight.

On Monday, May 13 2019, advocates from around the state will be gathering in Albany for the NYCLU’s statewide Day of Action. Register NOW to be at the forefront of transforming New York’s policies. We are showing up to demand a New York that protects the civil liberties of all New Yorkers.   

Our Day of Action is a great way to get involved in the legislative and advocacy work of the NYCLU. There will be workshops, lobby visits, and activities to help encourage our elected officials to take action on the issues that matter most to us.

Join us as we stand up for immigrants, fight hate, protect democracy and defend justice. We will provide transportation, meals and there will be NYCLU giveaways.

Register now to secure your spot, and we will be in touch with further details, including transportation information. Please register even if you are “just thinking about it”!
Y para gente que habla español, haga clic aqui
For more info contact us at: 
[email protected]
914-997-7479

We look forward to seeing on May 13th! 

Dear WESPAC comrades and friends,
I’m writing to ask as many of you as possible to join us at an all-day parole justice advocacy day on Tues, Jan. 29th in Albany. The day is hosted by Release Aging People in Prison/RAPP, Parole Preparation Project and other advocates and communities across New York. We’ll march, rally and meet with legislators in support of our advocacy demands (see http://rappcampaign.com/wp-content/uploads/NEW-RAPP-Fact-Sheet.pdf). It is critical right now to show the policy-makers in Albany that our communities are watching them and will continue our fight for justice. 
RSVP HERE: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeN6blXUUhOT5jkQTBILkfF8oG-mDSdL7set3Ma-TcZYfCqAw/viewform to join us on January 29th in Albany (IF ANY LINKS don’t work, please go to RAPPCampaign.com/events – everything is available there.)
Free transportation will be provided from NYC and other regions of the state as needed. Food will also be provided.
Can we expect to work together again, as we all have in the past? If so, how many of you can attend?
We have a real chance this legislative session to ensure that all incarcerated New Yorkers have a fair and meaningful opportunity for parole release. Join us on January 29th and help us get there.  
Thanks,Laura Whitehorn
________
Laura Whitehorn
Release Aging People in Prison/RAPP
RAPPCampaign.com

For all details please visit: https://www.westchestersocialforum.org/

New York Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement

Tuesday, April 10th, 6:30pm to 8pm
at WESPAC, 77 Tarrytown Road, Suite 2W, White Plains, NY 10607

We will be joined by Cynthia Williams, a 2015 Beyond the Bars of Justice Fellow at Columbia University, who spent time in a federal facility and who will speak about how arbitrary and dehumanizing the system is, how she coped and how people end up in solitary confinement. She will also speak about the New York Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement and will inspire us to get involved and to effect positive change. 

This event is free and open to the public.  WESPAC has 10 copies of the book Hell is a Very Small Place: Voices from Solitary Confinement in our office that are available now ahead of the event for people to read and become more familiar with this issue.  Please call to arrange pick up.  The United Nations has defined solitary confinement as a form of torture.  Free will offerings to support Cynthia and this work will be requested.  For more information, call 914.449.6514 or email [email protected].  

Please do not remain silent about Solitary Confinement while 80-100,000 human beings are trapped and remain invisible  each year for infractions as minor as possession of too many postage stamps.   Create an opportunity for others to learn the truth about solitary confinement.  SWASC Social Workers Against Solitary Confinement has created two 8 minute videos that encapsulates what people need to know.  
 
Take Action.  We need everyday people, like you and me, to show these videos to our informal and formal  networks. Use your smart phone.  Keep it Simple. Discussion will automatically follow from these provocative and thoughtful presentations.
 
Johnny Perez: Three years in Solitary 
 
Mary Buser – The Helping Professions & Solitary Confinement
 
We also created a petition for people to sign asking the governing commission to reconsider current practices we believe to be unethical and human torture.  
 
Website Resource: Social Workers Against Solitary Confinement
 
We have a monthly newsletter.
Sign up now.
 
National Networking Conference Call on the third Monday of the month at 7pm EST.
 
Conference call number (515) 739-1015 PIN. 455-445-570#
 
One hour zoom presentation:
Zoom presentation
 
Social Workers Against Solitary Confinement: Undoing Racism in the Criminal Justice System. (2/18)
 
This video (1hour) offers a brief U. S. history of structural racism and discussion of solitary confinement and specifically the issue of dual loyalty for mental health professionals. 
 
Sandra Bernabei, LCSW is a co-convener and steering committee member of SWASC as well as a community organizer and a social worker in private practice in Westchester and NYC. She is the past-president of NASW-NYC.
 Sandy is the founding member of the Antiracist Alliance. 
 
Marguerita Johnson Tolson BSW, CASAC-T is a graduate student at Fordham University Graduate School of Social Services. She is completing an internship with Social Workers Against Solitary Confinement.
 
 
“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.” Martin Luther King Jr

Nada will be presenting a report on Thursday, September 28th at 7pm at WESPAC regarding her participation at the Annual NACOLE Conference on behalf of WCPR.  

On September 10th, hundreds of members of law enforcement, community leaders, elected officials, journalists, academics, students and oversight professionals will gather in Spokane, Washington, for the annual four day NACOLE conference (National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement): http://www.nacole.org/2017_annual_conference .

Conference attendees will be able to choose from 31 different concurrent and plenary sessions on a wide range of topics including Building Community Trust, Trauma Informed Policing, Auditing for Accountability, Evaluating Police Use of Force and much more.  Attendees will be part of a learning and networking event that will provide inspiration, ideas and practical knowledge as we work for a vision of implementing best practices and enhanced police legitimacy in our local communities and around the nation.  

US prisons may be largely hidden from sight, but their environmental toxicity spreads far beyond their walls.

Source: America’s Toxic Prisons: The Environmental Injustices of Mass Incarceration

A 20-second bond hearing changed the lives of Lavette Mayes and her children because she couldn’t afford bail.

Source: I Spent 14 Months in Jail Because I Couldn’t Pay My Way Out