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News stories tagged with "crime"

District Attorney Derek Champagne from Franklin County says treatment, not more arrests, is the best strategy for the heroin crisis.  Photo: Brian Mann
District Attorney Derek Champagne from Franklin County says treatment, not more arrests, is the best strategy for the heroin crisis. Photo: Brian Mann

Heroin fight shifts from "war" to public health

This week, we're looking in-depth at the heroin epidemic that's hitting small towns in rural New York and Vermont (find more stories).

In many ways, the spread of cheap heroin in rural America mirrors the urban drug crisis of the 1970s that sparked America's national war on drugs.

But these days, even many police and prosecutors say they want a new approach, one that will send more addicts for treatment and recovery, with fewer men and women going to prison for lengthy sentences.  Go to full article
Shawn McKeen from Plattsburgh saw his life derailed, first by prescription drugs, then by street heroin.  Photo:  Brian Mann
Shawn McKeen from Plattsburgh saw his life derailed, first by prescription drugs, then by street heroin. Photo: Brian Mann

North Country heroin stuns small towns, wrecks lives

Over the last few years, Vermont has grappled with a growing heroin epidemic. The drug's painful reach into small towns has drawn national headlines. Now there's growing awareness that heroin has also arrived in the North Country. The drug is cheaper and easier to find.

At a public hearing held by a new state Senate task force, formed in March, addicts, treatment experts, police and prosecutors talked about a wave of heroin.  Go to full article
State Sen. Patty Ritchie. NCPR file photo
State Sen. Patty Ritchie. NCPR file photo

Heroin fears: Plattsburgh, Watertown hold public forums

A new state Senate task force on heroin addiction and other drugs derived from opium will hold public forums today in Plattsburgh and Watertown. The task force was formed following a surge in heroin use and deadly overdoses statewide.  Go to full article
State Trooper John Jackson pulls a driver over for talking on a handheld phone while driving. Photo: Natasha Haverty
State Trooper John Jackson pulls a driver over for talking on a handheld phone while driving. Photo: Natasha Haverty

Ten distracted driving questions, answered!

Today we've already ridden shutgun in one of the unmarked vehicles the state police use to crack down on distracted driving. Now that we've gotten a look into that world, let's tackle some questions about distracted driving.  Go to full article
Donnie (in the foreground) and Didd on the bus leaving the North Country. Photo: Amy Finkel, for Gothamist, used with permission.
Donnie (in the foreground) and Didd on the bus leaving the North Country. Photo: Amy Finkel, for Gothamist, used with permission.

North Country inmates on the bus: free and nowhere to go

Every year, hundreds of men are shipped to prisons here in the North Country, to correctional facilities in Watertown or Malone, Moriah or Ray Brook. We've been telling the story of the region's prison industry with our Prison Time Media Project.
But every year, hundreds of men are also released back into society after serving their time in state or Federal lock-ups.

Often, former inmates are sent back downstate with little preparation and few resources for reentering society. Many begin their new lives with a bus ticket, a new set of clothes, and a small amount of cash.

Amy Finkel is a journalist and documentary filmmaker. She's working on a new project looking at reform and education programs in prisons and she recently published a photo essay in the online magazine Gothamist.

Her photos capture the bus journey that one group of men made from Saranac Lake after being released from prison back to New York City. She spoke about her work with Martha Foley.  Go to full article

Gillibrand says she'll revive military sexual assault bill

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says she plans to keep fighting for a bill that would change the way rape and sexual assault crimes are prosecuted in the US military.

She says thousands of service members now being assaulted each year deserve more protection.  Go to full article
Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/danielleellis55/13295727434/in/photolist-mfU5xU-mfS6bc-cenaT-Jyndv-4PsCEL-4KNJ9Q-65SpkG-5DbZz4-aDrE9x-aqV1pK-5SviVC-5xG6CF-gpwP73-j2iq6X-65G8XH-jFr6Gt-jFrmQz-jFrE2D-jFsgDv-jFsrcr-jFstic-jFsKi8-jFsKUM-jFsNXk-jFt4zt-jFtoD8-jFtp3W-jFtsqN-jFtvXg-jFtEgG-jFtHrE-jFtW9o-jFtYZJ-jFuhsb-jFunvA-jFuxkq-jFuRzw-jFvoAj-jFvV33-jFso6B-jFsPje-jFsRtp-jFsZkX-jFu469-jFu6w1-jFujoU-jFuAbW-jFv1au-jFvbsy-jFvoMJ">Danielle Sprags</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Photo: Danielle Sprags, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Cheap, easy, deadly: heroin use rising in rural NYS

Early this month, the Food and Drug Administration approved a prescription device that can inject a fast acting antidote to heroin and other opioid drugs. It's the latest response to a surge in opioid abuse.

Heroin use has doubled between 2007 and 2012. It's no longer just an urban street drug--it's now common in small town America.  Go to full article
At a rally in March, workers from Chateaugay Correctional Facility protested the Cuomo administration's decision to close the prison in July. Photo provided by NYSCOPBA.
At a rally in March, workers from Chateaugay Correctional Facility protested the Cuomo administration's decision to close the prison in July. Photo provided by NYSCOPBA.

How America's drug war sparked the North Country prison boom

This week, North Country Public Radio is looking in-depth at how New York's 40-year prison boom changed two very different neighborhoods, Brownsville in New York City and Chateaugay in Franklin County. Check out these stories and many more in our Prison Time Media Project.

This week, the tiny North Country town of Chateaugay learned that their local prison -- operated by the state Corrections Department -- will close in July.

The decision was made final in New York's state budget.

Town supervisor Donald Bilow told the Plattsburgh Press-Republican that he is "devastated" by the closure.  Go to full article
Aaron Hinton, outside his building in Brownsville, Brooklyn. He calls the war on drugs "the war on the poor." Photo: Natasha Haverty
Aaron Hinton, outside his building in Brownsville, Brooklyn. He calls the war on drugs "the war on the poor." Photo: Natasha Haverty

What if 10 percent of your neighbors went to prison downstate?

The North Country has more than a dozen state and federal prisons, housing thousands of inmates. It turns out a lot of those inmates come from just a few neighborhoods, and those have been at the center of the 40-year drug war. Today, Brownsville, Brooklyn has one of the highest concentrations of incarcerated or formerly incarcerated people in the country.  Go to full article
This inmate drawing on a prison envelope is part of the "Cellblock Visions" exhibit on display at SLU's Brush Art Gallery through mid-April. Photo courtesy Phyllis Kornfeld
This inmate drawing on a prison envelope is part of the "Cellblock Visions" exhibit on display at SLU's Brush Art Gallery through mid-April. Photo courtesy Phyllis Kornfeld

In Canton, "Cellblock Visions" shows off prison inmates' art

There's an alternative art world flourishing in American prisons. "Cellblock Visions," an exhibit at the Brush Art Gallery at St. Lawrence University this spring, features artwork by inmates from county jails to death row. Curator Phyllis Kornfeld, who has taught art courses in the prison system for more than 30 years, will give a lecture on the exhibit in Griffiths Arts Center, room 123, Tuesday at 7pm.

Todd Moe spoke with Kornfeld, who began her career teaching art in prisons in Oklahoma in 1983 (hear that interview by clicking "listen" above, or read the transcription below.) Today, she works at prisons in Massachusetts. She says even after 30 years, she finds the art created behind bars to be "fresh and amazing". Kornfeld says men and women inmates, having no previous training, turn to art for a sense of self-respect, respect for others and a way to find peace.

View pictures from the exhibit below.  Go to full article

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