100 signatures reached
To: COUNTY EXECUTIVE MARK POLONCARZ & ERIE COUNTY LEGISLATURE
FAITH LEADERS FOR PRISON REFORM: REINSTATE CONDITIONAL RELEASE, MR. POLONCARZ & COUNTY LEGISLATURE
As people of faith, we call on County Executive Mark Poloncarz and the Erie County Legislature to support reinstating the conditional release program and attend VOICE-Buffalo’s June 10th public meeting at 7 PM.
Why is this important?
UPDATE - Since clergy and faith leaders met with County Executive Mark Poloncarz on April 22nd he has expressed his support of reinstating the conditional release program and has committed to send representation to the June 10th VOICE-Buffalo public meeting.
However, we still to convince the Erie County Legislature and Sheriff Tim Howard that this program must be reinstated. We must collectively show that as people of faith all across Western New York that we are called to address the horrendous conditions of our criminal justice system. We can no longer tolerate our neighbors – youth, young adults, veterans, elderly – suffering after being imprisoned for nonviolent offenses or because of treatable mental health or addiction issues.
We call on our representatives to help heal our communities by:
(1) Reinstating the Local Conditional Release Program for Erie County
(1) Joining us in person at our public meeting on Tuesday, June 10th at 7PM at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary RC Church in Williamsville
The conditional release program would give our neighbors a second chance at life – the opportunity to return to our communities and their families with the treatment and support they need. It's our vision of liberation and restorative justice in Erie County!
How does it work? Under the Local Conditional Release Program, 25 non-violent offenders are selected for early release if they agree to a year of probation and participation in programs that provide mental health care, addiction treatment, job training or a variety of other needed services.
Does it work? Yes, it restores lives while saving county tax dollars. The rate of recidivism (return to prison) for people who participated in the local conditional release program from 1992 to 2005 was 15% – compare that to 65% for those who were released without services and support.
Take the inspiring story of Jacqueline Gerald. At a time in her life when she was struggling with addiction and financial pressures to support her family, Jacqueline was sentenced to serve time as a result of laundering charges. While in prison, Jackie applied for the early release program and was accepted. In Jackie’s own words about the program: “If you keep your eyes open and strive to do well, the Lord will make a way out of no way. For me the way the Lord provided me was through this program.”
After being released Jackie was accepted to Nursing School with help from Rev. Eugene Pierce, who was the chair of the local conditional release commission, and Mr. Dolansky, who was her probation officer for that one year.
Today, Jackie is a registered nurse. “I’ve learned that sometimes in life we think we are not good enough and we can’t pursue our dreams, but the Lord puts people in our lives who will support us.”
Let's show County Executive Poloncarz and the Erie County Legislature we believe in liberation and redemption. Add your name to tell our public servants to reinstate the Conditional Release program.
For more info, visit VOICE-Buffalo at
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