NCPR News Staff: Natasha Haverty
Natasha Haverty has an English degree from Brown University and got her radio training at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Maine.
From Maine she went to work at The Moth, a nonprofit in New York City devoted to the art of live storytelling, where she was the coordinator of the community outreach program that teaches workshops to schools and community centers and brings storytellers to the Moth stage (and the radio). She also helped produce the first two seasons of Peabody Award-winning Moth Radio Hour (now playing on NPR stations across the country).
Tasha returned to her home state after receiving the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities’ “Liberty and Justice for All” grant to create an oral history of the Norfolk Prison Debating Society, which had an outstanding record against top college teams in the Forties and Fifties. She recently premiered her original 'improvised audio drama' The Yankee City Series at a live listening event at Harvard University. Tasha arrived in the North Country on April Fool's Day, 2012. E-mail
Stories filed by Natasha Haverty
In 2000 there were more than 2,800 kids being held in detention centers across New York. That number has dropped by nearly two-thirds -- and 13 youth detention centers have closed statewide.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has made closing those facilities one of his priorities: "You have juvenile justice facilities today where we have young people who are receiving help, assistance, program treatment that has already been proven to be ineffective." Go to full article
One of those "unicorns" is in North Russell, planted twenty-seven years ago by Todd and Nancy Alessi. In bloom, it looks right out of a Doctor Seuss book: with flowers, called catkins, like white pipe cleaners. Todd and Nancy invited reporter Natasha Haverty to their chestnut tree flowering party. Go to full article
And this past weekend, one organization in the North Country held its annual birthday party for John Brown, on the Adirondack farm he lived in for two years, and the place where his body is buried. Go to full article
But instead of serving a four year sentence, Jeff went to Moriah Shock, a bootcamp-style, six-month program in the Adirondacks. We left off yesterday when Jeff was three months away from his release, and feeling confident his time in Shock would help him stay drug and crime-free when he returned home.
"I mean obviously I'm not going to walk around, I'm not going to march around and call cadence, but it helps establish certain discipline that's essential through the program, and this is from the heart, I'm not just speaking to build up the program because I know whatever I say is going to be fine."
In Part three, producer Natasha Haverty finds Jeff back in the world, rebuilding his life and looking ahead. Go to full article
Yesterday, we began the story of Jeff, a young man from western New York who fell into serious drug addiction and broke into a pharmacy to feed his habit. After spending years cycling through drug courts, unable to stay off drugs, he was sent to prison here in the North Country.
"It's very true to say that I as given a great opportunity at drug court and I failed. I failed at drug court. I failed. I'm going to prison, for years. That's the lowest of the low, that's the lowest I can think of before death."
But unlike many other inmates, Jeff was sent to a shock prison in Moriah, in Essex County, which focuses on life skills training and rehabilitation. Part two of our series takes us to Moriah Shock and finds Jeff at the middle of his prison sentence. Go to full article
"I was on this kick of trying to get the addict off the street, into treatment. Now this was a beautiful concept, except it just didn't happen to relate to the realities because the pushers keep finding new people. And I have to say that as far as I am aware, there is no known, absolute cure for addiction."
But in recent years, those Rockefeller Drug Laws have gone through a series of reforms. These days, cash-strapped states like New York are struggling to reduce inmate populations so that they can close expensive prisons. Governor Andrew Cuomo plans to mothball two more correctional facilities downstate this year.
And reducing the number of people behind bars means experimenting with diversion programs for non-violent drug offenders: States are offering counseling programs, rehabilitation and therapy, and opening alternative, "drug courts." The goal is to battle drug addiction without incarceration.
This week, as part of our Prison Time Media Project, Natasha Haverty follows the journey of one man through a system that's trying to turn away from mass incarceration. Here's part one of her three-part series. Go to full article
This week, we're launching our Prison Time Media Project, exploring the legacy of the Rockefeller drug laws.
The controversial sentencing rules created by Governor Nelson Rockefeller 40 years ago sent tens of thousands of men and women to prison, with many serving 15 to 25 years behind bars.
George Prendes was one of those people. Go to full article
Jemila Saleh is sure she would have been sent to prison for her beliefs, if it hadn't been for a series of what she calls miracles. Just after her pastor was imprisoned, Jemila connected with a church here in the North Country, and they offered to support her escape. So in the middle of the night Jemila packed up all she could, and got on airplane with her three daughters. Members of the church picked them up at the Syracuse airport with a backseat full of blankets and winter coats, and brought them to their new apartment in Potsdam, which the church members had rented and furnished.
Four and a half years later, Jemila has a degree in finance from SUNY Canton, her daughters are in school, and Jemila is practicing her faith freely here. But the way she's kept a grip on her life, and her story, is through cooking. Go to full article