Apr 21, 2010

Reentry Advocacy Day-May 4th!

In preparation for Reentry Advocacy Day on May 4, 2010 led by The Community Service Society(CSS), The Fortune Society's David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy, and The Bronx Defenders, CSS dedicated its monthly New York Reentry Roundtable to an overview of the legislative proposals that will be lobbied for in Albany. As of now, CSS has scheduled over 25 meetings with legislators to address issues faced by the formerly incarcerated as they reenter the community. Judy Whiting, Director of Litigation for CSS, reviewed the bills being proposed.

Among the bills that will be supported by Advocacy Day participants are:

* A time limit on listing individuals in the DOCS Inmate Lookup, so that this website is no longer used as an unofficial source of criminal records information. A.9382(Kavagnah)/S.4406-B(Hassell-Thompson).

Ms. Whiting noted that the names of any individual who has been incarcerated in New York State is listed on the DOCS Inmate Look-up website. Once released the individuals name is not taken off the list. The website, which was intended to be used for families or attorneys looking to locate an inmate, is now also being used by employers to do informal background checks.

*Giving people faced with employment discrimination by government agencies the opportunity to bring their grievances before the New York State Division of Human Rights or the New York City Human Rights Commission.

As of now, the only way to achieve judicial relief is through an Article 78 proceeding. The remedies in Article 78 proceedings do not permit damages to be awarded to an injured plaintiff.

Among the bills that will be lobbied for on Advocacy Day which were proposed, but not passed last year, are:

*Removing the blanket prohibition on individuals with criminal records working in establishment with liquor licenses. 3770-A(Aubry)/S.4686(Hassell-Thompson

*Extending the right to vote to individuals on parole, and ensuring that every person who is eligible has the opportunity to register and vote. A.1414(Wright)

*Creating a path to sealing criminal convictions after a certain number of years in the community without subsequent convictions.A.6065-A(Lentol)/S.1708(Sampson)

For a complete list of proposed bills or to participate in Advocacy Day, please contact Gabriel Torres Rivera, Director of Reentry Initiatives at CSS grivera@cssny.org.
Free transportation, breakfast, and lunch will be provided.