Wednesday, August 01, 2007

SA Current publishes special supplement for inmates and their families

The San Antonio Current has created a special supplement for Texas inmate families edited by staff writer Dave Maass called "Pen to Paper." and have posted a pdf file on their website for folks to print out and send to their loved ones who're doing time.

Perhaps the most important item in the supplement for prisoners will be this excellent short primer on how to create a "parole packet" to submit to the Board of Pardons and Parole in support of an inmate's petition for release. Rosie Campos Lopez of the Texas Inmate Family Association shared her experience helping dozens of families create such packets, which can cost thousands of dollars for those who hire an attorney to perform the task. (What's more, there's little evidence hiring an attorney to create the parole packet works any better than doing it yourself.)

I contributed a piece to the supplement on a freelance basis about what legislation passed this year that will affect Texas inmates, and Maas has an item from the restorative justice conference I recently attended and covered.

This is a great mitzvah from the Current for inmates and their families. Good job, folks!


Anonymous said...

Great to see it being talked about openly (or at least, publicly), and also good to see that people are being told that they dont have to spend hundreds of dollars paying a parole attorney to do something they can easily do themselves.

Sad things is, by the time a lot og inmates get to a parole chance, their families have fallen away.

Anonymous said...

There is a bill I am going to push for: release the person going home from the unit they are currently housed in and not make them go back to Huntsville. This is hard for a lot of loved ones and humilating for the person who has served his time and why should everyone have to relive the nightmare of all the travel to get back to "The Walls" the oldest prison in Texas? We don't need a tradition here,we need freedom for those who have earned it and their families. Why make the family coming from a distance spend more money to stay in a motel and wait until the next morning to take their loved one home the next day and have to wait sometimes all day as there is no set order for release. Also, it should not take moths to get discharge papers ready, make those whose job it is do their job and get the discharge certificates ready the day of discharge.

This spends money usely, and if you have looked at the price of fuel lately, is very expensive also. Families can not afford to give money to the loved one who has been incarcerated and then have to spend more money to honor a sick tradition set up by some one who either did not care or thought this would be easy to do.

The invention of comupters would allow all the paper work needed to be transmitted from unit to unit and since the family who is able to visit the unit anyway for visitation, why not let them be able to take the loved one home from there. This would save a lot of heartache and a not to mention a lot of money for the State, which it seems to be Mr. Perry's agenda, or is it?

Anonymous said...

I absloutely see your point anon@ 9.42, but as far as I know inmates are given a bus ticket to anywhere in Texas when they leave the Walls, families dont have to go there to pick them up (although, to be honest, I would be there with clean clothes for hubby if it were humanly possible for me to do it).

But the point you make about computers is extremely valid. I was amazed to see at hubby's unit the use of old-style computer paper with holes down the sides, just like my grandmother used to bring home for me to scribble on almost 30 years ago! The phones in TDCJ are all obviously very old, and from what I've seen, even the most basic modern communication systems are lacking. It's no real wonder that a lot of the staff at TDCJ are against inmates getting access to phones, when the staff have to practically operate using smoke signals and semaphore! I wonder how many man-hours could be saved (as well as $$$s) if a modern computer network were installed that linked each unit with Hunstville and every other unit, plus the infirmaries etc?