Here is the link to the minutes and the record of the Meeting of the Board of Prison Commissioners with the public, held on October 13, 2009.
Prisoner advocates yet again asked for oversight of the prison system, and they wondered why the public has not yet heard about the cooperation with the Vera Institute for oversight.
There was also discussion about the budget and the department being understaffed, the furloughs, and inmates possibly having to pay for a gym and a shop. There was nothing said about how inmates are going to pay, yet someone asked how her husband can parole, if there are no jobs for the inmates, and if there is no money to get a post-high-school education. The parole board would like to see inmates who have jobs and who can prove they have educated themselves….
These and other questions are usually not answered by the Prison Commissioners. But as it is the only public way to raise voices (and we all pay for it!), it is important for as many people who want crime prevented, human rights respected, and safety for those working in the prison system to speak up. If the budget is too little for so many prisoners, maybe the Prison Commission should consider preventing crime, paroling people faster, installing less long sentences and starting to educate and rehabilitate prisoners. Maybe they should listen more attentively to the people at these meetings speaking up, out of experience. Just a thought….
The next Meeting will be on January 12, 2010. You can prepare a short statement for the record, and read it out during the meeting (no longer than a few minutes per speaker).