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News stories tagged with "punishment"

Five Omar Mualimm-ak, speaking at St. Lawrence University earlier this month. Photo: Tzintzun Aguilar
Five Omar Mualimm-ak, speaking at St. Lawrence University earlier this month. Photo: Tzintzun Aguilar

Five Mualimm-ak: A voice out of solitary confinement

Last month, the state of New York made sweeping changes to its use of solitary confinement. The new policy, signed by a federal judge, prohibits anyone under the age of 18, women who are pregnant, and people with severe mental illness, from being locked away in solitary.

Five Mualimm-ak helped write the new protocol. He's a prison reform activist. Mualimm-ak spent five years of his life in solitary confinement, out of 12 years he served inside New York prisons on charges that were later overturned. He was in Canton last week for talks and events at St. Lawrence University, and sat down with Martha Foley.  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
Community leaders meeting in Chateaugay to orchestrate fight to save the state correctional facility. Photo: Brian Mann
Community leaders meeting in Chateaugay to orchestrate fight to save the state correctional facility. Photo: Brian Mann

How prisons became the North Country's normal

This year, North Country Public Radio has been looking in-depth at New York's Rockefeller drug laws and how those laws reshaped our state over the last forty years.

This week, the series will focus on the North Country, which is home to more than a dozen state and federal prisons.

Corrections work has grown into one of the region's biggest and most controversial industries, providing thousands of high paying jobs, and anchoring the economies in towns from Malone to Moriah.

As part of our Prison Time Media Project, Brian Mann has a special report on how the North Country became a magnet for new prisons and how the industry is facing new scrutiny.  Go to full article
Franklin County legislator Billy Jones calls for action to stop the closure of Chateaugay Correctional Facility in his home town. Photo: Brian Mann
Franklin County legislator Billy Jones calls for action to stop the closure of Chateaugay Correctional Facility in his home town. Photo: Brian Mann

Another North Country town rallies to save its prison

This year, we're looking in-depth at the North Country's prison industry, how it grew into one of the region's top employers and how it's changing.

Over the weekend, hundreds of corrections officers, families, and elected officials gathered in Chateaugay in northern Franklin County.

They came to protest the latest round of state prison closures, now slated for 2014.

Four correctional facilities are on the chopping block, including two here in the North Country -- Mt. McGregor in Saratoga County and Chateaugay Correctional Facility.  Go to full article
Israel Keyes (top right) being interrogated by FBI investigators a few days before he committed suicide in 2012.  (Photo:  Screen capture of FBI video)
Israel Keyes (top right) being interrogated by FBI investigators a few days before he committed suicide in 2012. (Photo: Screen capture of FBI video)

Israel Keyes video shows cunning, remorseless killer

This month, the FBI made public more information about the serial killer Israel Keyes, whose murder spree included time in the North Country and Vermont. Authorities believe that Keyes' murder spree continued for more than a decade and left as many as 11 people dead before he was captured in March of 2012.

Keyes committed suicide in a jail cell in Alaska last December, leaving unanswered questions about most of his victims.

For the first time, the FBI has released hours of video tape from their interviews with Keyes. The video offers a terrifying portrait of a killer who felt no remorse, who at times seemed to be taunting investigators.  Go to full article
The  Rev. Oberia Dempsey campaigned early against drugs in Harlem. Photo: Wikipedia
The Rev. Oberia Dempsey campaigned early against drugs in Harlem. Photo: Wikipedia

Why did black leaders support America's drug war for so long?

This year, North Country Public Radio is looking in-depth at America's forty year long drug war. Tough-on-crime policies, sparked in part by New York's Rockefeller drug laws, changed the way we think about crime and justice and addiction. They also changed the North Country, as more and more prisons were built to house the swelling number of inmates.

This morning, our series continues with a look at how the drug war has been viewed within the African American community. Some black leaders see tough crime laws as racially biased and unfair. But many supporters of the drug war hoped that long prison sentences and harsh penalties would help clean up neighborhoods plagued by drugs.  Go to full article
Charles Rangel (L) at the signing of a drug-war era law with Nancy Reagan and President Ronald Reagan. Photo:  Wikipedia
Charles Rangel (L) at the signing of a drug-war era law with Nancy Reagan and President Ronald Reagan. Photo: Wikipedia

Charles Rangel: America's "front-line general" in the drug war

America's black leadership supported the drug war for decades in large part because of the efforts of one man.

Charles Rangel, a former federal prosecutor and Korean War veteran, emerged as one of the dominant figures in the nation's politics.

He was also a fierce supporter of tough crime policies and was once described as the "front-line general in the war on drugs" by Ebony magazine.

Our profile of Charles Rangel is the latest installment in our Prison Time Media Project series.  Go to full article
Serial killer Israel Keyes spent significant time in the North Country and Vermont and owned land in Franklin County.  The FBI is hoping the public can provide more information about his activities. Photo: Anchorage Police Department
Serial killer Israel Keyes spent significant time in the North Country and Vermont and owned land in Franklin County. The FBI is hoping the public can provide more information about his activities. Photo: Anchorage Police Department

Who did Israel Keyes murder and where are the bodies?

FBI officials this week released their latest timeline of the activities of Israel Keyes, the serial killer who spent part of his time in the North Country and Vermont.

Keyes committed suicide in his jail cell in Alaska last December 1. His death has left investigators scrambling to identify Keyes' victims and the locations of their bodies.  Go to full article
Gun rights activist Richard Mack (L) and Clinton County Sheriff David Favro (R) hold a press conference in Plattsburgh, opposing the New York SAFE Act. Photo: Brian Mann
Gun rights activist Richard Mack (L) and Clinton County Sheriff David Favro (R) hold a press conference in Plattsburgh, opposing the New York SAFE Act. Photo: Brian Mann

Will upstate NY cops, sheriffs enforce gun control laws?

New York's tough gun law, known as the SAFE Act, was pushed through last January by Governor Andrew Cuomo, winning support from the Democratic Assembly and the Republican-controlled Senate.

Over the last six months, however, political opposition to the law has grown, especially in upstate counties where gun ownership is popular. A growing number of law enforcement officials, especially county sheriffs, now say they're deeply troubled by the law, which bans assault rifles and large ammunition clips. Some officers say they won't actively enforce the SAFE Act.  Go to full article
On the inside looking out. An image from the documentary film "The House I Live In." Photo: "The House I Live In," used by permission
On the inside looking out. An image from the documentary film "The House I Live In." Photo: "The House I Live In," used by permission

Why don't we talk more about North Country prisons?

Locking people up and keeping them behind bars is one of the North Country's biggest industries. There are more than twenty jails and prison facilities scattered across our rural region. Corrections and law enforcement agencies provide high-paying jobs from Ogdensburg to Glens Falls.

But the prison industry isn't something we talk about very often. The North Country's Regional Economic Development plan talks about renewable energy and trains and farms and government. But it doesn't even mention prisons -- not once.

Earlier this month, a student group at SUNY Plattsburgh invited community members, faculty and activists to meet and talk about mass incarceration and how it affects communities.  Go to full article

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