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NCPR News Staff: Natasha Haverty

Reporter and Producer

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

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Dying inmates in NY struggle to get home

This year, North Country Public Radio has been looking in-depth at the growth of the prison industry here in our region, across New York and around the country.

Over the last four decades, we've seen the number of men and women behind bars soar--many serving long mandatory sentences for low-level crimes.

And one side-effect of those tough-on-crime policies today is that the number of elderly inmates is surging--growing by almost eighty percent from 2000 through 2009.

Prison officials across the US are struggling to sort out what that means, how we think about and care for inmates who grow old and die in our prisons.

In part one of our investigative report, Natasha Haverty found that despite recent reforms to the system, many terminally ill inmates are forced to remain behind bars even when they no longer appear to be a threat to society. Even some prison officials think the process for allowing inmates to die at home needs fixing.  Go to full article
Samuel Jones, the first man to hold the office of New York State Comptroller, when it was created in 1797. Photo: Project Gutenberg
Samuel Jones, the first man to hold the office of New York State Comptroller, when it was created in 1797. Photo: Project Gutenberg

How do you say Comptroller?

A few days ago, reporter Natasha Haverty spoke with Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli about New York State's Office of Unclaimed Funds. But she also asked DiNapoli to help resolve an internal struggle here at the station.  Go to full article
Phillip Milano accepts a check for $533.78 from Comptroller DiNapoli (far right), who was joined by David Valesky, at the New York State Fair. Photo: New York State Comptroller's Office
Phillip Milano accepts a check for $533.78 from Comptroller DiNapoli (far right), who was joined by David Valesky, at the New York State Fair. Photo: New York State Comptroller's Office

Could some of this $12.5 billion belong to you?

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says the state may have money for you and it's waiting at a place called "The Office of Unclaimed Funds." New York State currently holds 12 and a half billion dollars in unclaimed funds; 31 million dollars belong the North Country.  Go to full article
Photo by Jennifer Herrick
Photo by Jennifer Herrick

What do you want to be when you grow up?

What did you want to be when you grew up? Imagine sitting down with your four-year-old self today and telling him or her about your future. Would that child be surprised? Excited? Disappointed?

Last year, when the pre-kindergarten class at Lawrence Avenue Elementary School in Potsdam graduated, their teacher Jen Herrick had them record what they wanted to be when they grow up. These recordings played as each child walked across the stage to receive his or her diploma. Tasha Haverty turned some of them into today's Heard Up North.  Go to full article
Nighttime in Algonquin Park. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/64894594@N08/7046599793">abuakel</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Nighttime in Algonquin Park. Photo: abuakel, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Listen: Wolf howl sound check

You just heard a public wolf howl at Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario. But that event can only take place if park naturalists actually hear wolves the night before, during what they call a "sound check."

So on Wednesday night last week, teams of naturalists spread through the park, scouting the area and keeping in touch by handheld radio. It was past ten in the evening. The night was clear and still, and the sky dripped with meteors. That's today's Heard Up North.  Go to full article
Algonquin Park Wolves. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jdbsound/3968088234/">JDB Photos</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Algonquin Park Wolves. Photo: JDB Photos, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Howling for wolves

The Eastern Timber Wolf lived across the eastern United States before humans virtually erased it from the landscape. But in some parts of Canada, the Eastern Wolf is alive and well. And every August for the past fifty years, people from all around the world have made the journey to Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario to hear its howl. Reporter Natasha Haverty sends this postcard.  Go to full article
George Prendes, outside the apartment he lived in before he went to prison, on 107th Street and Central Park West. Photo: Natasha Haverty
George Prendes, outside the apartment he lived in before he went to prison, on 107th Street and Central Park West. Photo: Natasha Haverty

Fifteen years behind bars under Rockefeller drug laws

Yesterday, the Prison Time Media Project took us 40 years back to the start of the war on drugs, and the controversial sentencing rules created by Governor Nelson Rockefeller. Those new laws sent tens of thousands of men and women to prison on long sentences for low-level drug crimes. George Prendes was one of those people.  Go to full article
Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. Photo by Amy Lindemuth
Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. Photo by Amy Lindemuth

In NYS prison, women hold on to motherhood

In New York state's prison nursery program, a woman can qualify to live with her newborn baby for up to one year.

But during the many hours when their mothers have to attend programs like GED classes or addiction counseling, or work in the garment shop, these babies have another group of inmates who look after them. Each of these inmate caregivers has to go through a long training to have this job. And the majority of them are mothers themselves.

This morning, our Prison Time Media Project continues, with a profile of one caregiver at Bedford Hills, New York's maximum-security prison for women.  Go to full article
Cassidy and Hermione. Cassidy says she has to work hard not to obsess about the day her daughter will leave. "You can't get sad about it yet, because everything that you feel they feel." Photo: Natasha Haverty
Cassidy and Hermione. Cassidy says she has to work hard not to obsess about the day her daughter will leave. "You can't get sad about it yet, because everything that you feel they feel." Photo: Natasha Haverty

When should babies stay with their moms in NY prisons?

The number of women in American prisons has gone up 800 percent over the last thirty years, according to the Federal Bureau of Justice. Most of these women are mothers. And about one in twenty of them are pregnant.

Here in New York State, a woman who gives birth while serving time has the chance to stay with her baby in a prison nursery, for up to one year, or eighteen months if the mother is eligible for parole by then.

A Department of Corrections study found that participating in prison nurseries lowers recidivism rates dramatically--cutting the chances of a woman coming back to prison in half.

Researchers say these programs also help the babies, giving them a chance to form secure attachments to their moms.

But in recent years, the numbers of mothers in the prison nurseries have gone down. In our latest installment of the Prison Time Media Project, reporter Natasha Haverty set out to learn why.  Go to full article
In New York state, the number of youth confined in public facilities decreased from 2,517 in 2001 to 1,005 in 2010, a 60 percent decline. Photo: Richard Ross, Juvenile-in-Justice Project
In New York state, the number of youth confined in public facilities decreased from 2,517 in 2001 to 1,005 in 2010, a 60 percent decline. Photo: Richard Ross, Juvenile-in-Justice Project

Study finds fewer NY, US children behind bars

A new study released this week finds that the US is putting fewer children behind bars. New York state has seen one of the sharpest drops.

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

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