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THE FORTUNE NEWS A FORTUNE SOCIETY PUBLICATION • VOLUME XLVI • MAY 2015

AGING

AND THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM “THE DEGREE OF CIVILIZATION IN A SOCIETY CAN BE JUDGED BY ENTERING ITS PRISONS” —DOSTOYEVSKY www.fortunesociety.org The Fortune News 1


Table of Contents JoAnne Page, President/CEO - Introduction Eye On Fortune Letter To The Editor / Letter To Readers Three Faces Of Fortune David Rothenberg, Founder - Our Overwhelming Need To Punish Addressing The Aging-In-Prison Crisis The Race To De-Carcerate Learning Best Practices In Working With Older Formerly Incarcerated Residents Supportive Housing Services For Older Adults At Fortune Withstanding The “Aging Tsunami” How To Prepare For The Unprecedented Growth Of Aging Individuals In Prison DRCPP - Ronald Day: A Stain In The Archives Of American History Center Stage / Crossword

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Our Mission The Fortune Society's mission is to support successful reentry from prison and promote alternatives to incarceration, thus strengthening the fabric of our communities. We do this by: BELIEVING in the power of individuals to change; BUILDING LIVES through service programs shaped by the needs and experience of our clients; and CHANGING MINDS through education and advocacy to promote the creation of a fair, humane, and truly rehabilitative correctional system. Contact Us 212.691.7554 info@fortunesociety.org

The Fortune Society 29-76 Northern Blvd Long Island City, NY 11101

Walk-in Hours: Monday through Friday 8:00am - 4:00pm

On The Cover Photographer Ron Levine took the photo of William Howard “Tex” Johnson when Johnson was 67 and serving time for snatching $24 in 1959 in Birmingham, AL. The photo is part of the “Prisoners of Age” series – at www.prisonersofage.com --that includes interviews with elderly inmates and corrections personnel conducted in prisons throughout the U.S. and Canada. For more on Ron Levine, go to www.ronlevinephotography.com.

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Introduction Early release for those over age 55 who have already served long prison terms would save money and give people a better quality of life during the aging process. minimal risk to public safety by releasing them to supportive housing, along with other reentry services and community supervision. The project would generate a savings of $3 to $6 for every dollar spent because of the reduction in spending on incarceration! JOANNE PAGE President & CEO The Fortune Society In 2005, we created an edition of The Fortune News that focused on our aging prison population. Today, 10 years later, this issue has become even more crucial for us here at The Fortune Society. Back then, I emphasized the crisis of long-term incarceration of older adults -- largely a result of increased long sentences and “three strikes” laws. I had proposed the idea that many of the men and women aging behind bars could be released to the community without undue risk and with enormous savings in human suffering and dollars spent on incarceration. Now, we are working to make that possibility a reality. Recognizing the steady increase in older adults over age 55 in prison – more than tripling from 1995 to 2010 from 2.3% to 7.2% of the total NYS prison population -- we are working on a proposal called Seniors Released to Services (SRS). This project would provide an alternative to incarceration for seniors who pose

We are pitching this idea to government officials, funders, and other key stakeholders to capture their interest in supporting this project. Our vision is that a pilot group of 20 people could live at our nationally recognized supportive reentry

save money but give people a better quality of life during the aging process. A model that supports people returning to the community as they enter into their older years would recognize that these aging individuals need and deserve a supportive, caring environment to address their complex health care and supportive service needs. It would allow for them to mend the fractured bonds with any family and friends still living in the community and to develop new bonds with peers and social services staff and volunteers.

The project would generate a savings of $3 to $6 for every dollar spent because of the reduction in spending on incarceration! housing facility -- the Fortune Academy (“the Castle”) -- in West Harlem and receive holistic services in combination with housing. If proven successful, the model could be scaled up and replicated in other localities in New York and across the country.

Most importantly, it would be a step in the right direction in reforming our criminal justice system that too often gives out overly harsh, long sentences at great expense to taxpayers, while also inflicting enormous amounts of unnecessary human suffering.

Given the steady rise in the percentage of incarcerated individuals who are in their older years -- which stands at roughly 17% of the state’s prison population today -- we need to do a better job of meeting their needs in a more humane way … and we can do so without jeopardizing public safety. We know that early release for those over age 55 who have already served long prison terms would not only

JoAnne Page, President and CEO of The Fortune Society, has over 35 years’ experience in criminal justice, with the last 26 at the helm of The Fortune Society, a nonprofit organization that has been recognized by researchers and policy makers as a pioneer in assisting former prisoners to reintegrate into society.

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Eye on Fortune “RUNNING IS SO EXHILARATING”

In 2012, The Fortune Society began its community partner relationship with the New York City Marathon by creating a team to run the marathon and to raise funds for our programs. Board member Gerald Eber, along with many others, brought together 10 runners and raised thousands of dollars. However, after months of planning and training, our plans were abruptly halted -- as were those of all New Yorkers -- by Super Storm Sandy. But like all New Yorkers, we rebounded, pulled together another team (The Fortune Flyers), and moved forward with plans for 2013. Once more, Board member Gerald Eber helped put together a 10-member team, including one client, from the Fortune Academy (“The Castle”), Jerry Rahming. “Running is so exhilarating,” said Rahming. “Running makes me feel better physically and psychologically. I want to thank my friends at Back on My Feet NYC who have helped me so much with my training. But running to raise money for The Fortune Society is most important. I spent over 29 years in prison and it has been a bigger challenge than running to reenter mainstream society.” 2013 was a great success -- Rahming finished the race and Fortune raised over $20,000 for its programs. And from there, we went onto 2014. After thinking he might be done with running marathons, he decided to do it again and even

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brought along another Fortune client, Souleo Kirby. Rahming and Kirby both finished the race, cheered along from the sidelines by Fortune staff, and even more money was raised – over $36,000 for Fortune’s programs. The Fortune Society looks forward to maintaining its partnership with the New York City Marathon in 2015 and in years to come. Training for a marathon is hard. But getting out there and pushing yourself past where you thought you could go is what The Fortune Society has been about for almost 50 years. Whether it’s getting an education or a job, you have to believe in yourself, and with that and the support of a team, you can achieve your goals. The 2015 Marathon will take place on Nov 1. To support the Fortune Flyers, donate here: www.crowdrise.com/fortunesocietyflyers

GREEN JOBS GRADUATION

Green Jobs graduating class of December 2014.

Last December, Fortune held one of its most gratifying events -- a graduation. This time, it consisted of 20 men who had completed the Green Jobs Training program and who earned their certificates in environmental remediation and construction. The program has been offered at Fortune since 2012 when it was first funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Laura Senkevitch, the Manager of Training and Transitional Programs at The Fortune Society, developed the curriculum with community stakeholders and

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employers, including the Newtown Creek Alliance and Smiling Hogshead Ranch -both based in Long Island City, Queens where The Fortune Society operates. “It’s a pretty intense program,” said Senkevitch. “My field is in environmental planning. I used to teach at a college level and I haven’t changed much of my curriculum for this. It’s not really something someone could do part-time and not something for someone who is just exploring a career in this. They need to be really committed.” The program has been successful in its first two years of operation. There is a 90% completion rate in the Green Jobs Training Program and a 70% job placement rate. “The starting wages are pretty great compared to someone who was formerly incarcerated and just goes through our general job training without specific vocational training,” said Senkevitch. “Someone like that typically makes $10 an hour while a graduate from this program makes about $16 an hour.” Many of the men will go on to work on construction sites, conducting asbestos removal and other environmental treatments. A past graduate was recently hired as a floor associate at Build It Green!, a construction materials reclamation shop in Brooklyn. In the last 18 months, 56 graduates found full-time work. Companies that have hired Fortune’s green graduates include Langan Engineering, Professional Construction Group of New York, CityView Masonry, McKissak & McKissak, and others. “We could not be more proud of our graduates as they prepare to enter the workforce,” said JoAnne Page, President and CEO of The Fortune Society. “Through hard work, dedication, and opportunity, these men have been able to build a specialized skillset that they can now apply to real-world situations.”

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THE TRANSITION NETWORK (TTN)/EMPLOYMENT SERVICES PARTNERSHIP

Fortune Board Chair Betty Rauch receives her certificate, along with the rest of the TTN team, celebrating the one-year anniversary of the Fortune-TTN partnership.

In the November 2014 issue of The Fortune News, our Board Chair, Betty Rauch, wrote an article called “A Perfect Match” about the partnership between Fortune and TTN. We are thrilled to announce that on March 19, 2015, The Fortune Society celebrated the one-year anniversary of one of its most successful volunteer partnerships. The Transition

Network (TTN) is a group of professional women – and a few men -- over the age of 50 whose changing life situations led them to seek new connections, resources, and opportunities. As she wrote in the last issue, Fortune’s Board Chair and TTN member, Betty Rauch, saw a great opportunity for partnership between TTN and the Employment Services (ES) Department at Fortune. Working with Eileen Kobrin and ES Director, Ann Travers, they have compiled a team of over 20 people who each dedicate several hours a week conducting mock interviews and reviewing resumes with Fortune clients in our ES workshop. The professional experience they bring to our clients is invaluable in preparing them for real-life interviews. But even more important is the time they spend giving personal feedback, listening to the apprehensions and fears that Fortune’s participants have in entering a sometimes

completely unfamiliar job market. In the past year, the group has put in over 600 hours of one-on-one time with men and women who just want to earn a decent living. Those hours translate into a lifetime of experience and knowledge, and also turn into friendships and the breaking down of barriers among people. Everyone has gone on a first interview, or felt like their backgrounds maybe didn’t prepare them for a career they really wanted. But with confidence and preparation, you can walk into an interview and know that, no matter what happens, you have a chance. The TTN team gives that confidence to Fortune’s participants and, for that, we -- and they -- couldn’t be more grateful. To learn more, visit: www.thetransitionnetwork.org

Do you want to live with your family after you are released? Does your family live in public housing? The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) has launched

The NYCHA Family Reentry Pilot HOW IT WORKS This program is designed to reunite individuals leaving prison and jail within the last 36 months (3 years) back with their families who live in public housing, and to provide reentry services. Eligible participants are identified before release or by a participating provider after release. Participants will be allowed to move in with their families for a period of two years. The participant must successfully complete case management services and obtain employment or relevant treatment programs. At the end of the two years, the pilot participant can be added to the lease with no additional requirements.

IF INTERESTED, OR FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT: Gregory Cianca at (347) 510-3691.

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Letter to the Editor ILLINOIS’ SELF-IMPOSED DILEMMA I am a 71-year-old inmate who has been incarcerated for 36-plus consecutive years, the first nine on Death Row. At last count, the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) housed close to 6,000 “graying” inmates (those 50 years of age and older) -- a group of which I happen to be a member. At one time, those inmates represented 5% of the IDOC prison population. In the last decade, that figure has grown to nearly 13%. If the trend continues, that number will double by 2020. The graying prison population in Illinois is placing new demands on an already-burdened prison healthcare system that forces medical workers to provide subpar medical care and has already resulted in numerous lawsuits. Inmates here are regularly told by healthcare staff that they cannot receive certain medical care because it’s too expensive -- or because the inmates are too old and will probably die before the medicine does them any good. In my case, our former medical director told me his job was to save his medical care provider’s money, not inmate’s lives. Illinois spends $428 million annually -- or about one–third of its total budget -- on older inmates. Since Illinois eliminated the parole system several years ago, the only option currently available for the release of inmates is a clemency petition. However, in recent years, there have been controversial yet very realistic house bills presented to the Illinois Legislature to address the matter of the graying population in this state. The initial bill, HB4154, was presented in 2008. It would have enabled inmates who have served 25 consecutive years and reached the age of 50 to apply for an Earned Sentence Adjustment. 4

With most long-term older inmates who see no possibility of release, there is no incentive to adjust their behavior to comply with the social norms of prison life let alone attempt to squeeze into whatever programs may be available. Yet, many of us have done just that. Through introspection and increased motivation, we have grown in mind, spirit, understanding, and compassion. Most older inmates, having already served 25-40 years or more, bear little resemblance to the person they were when they entered prison. We have paid our debt to society many times over. For anyone who doesn’t believe that, I have a question for you: “Just how much time or punishment actually cures a crime?” It should also be noted that our recidivism rate is below 2%. Truth and solidarity now – Peace after the struggle, Cornelius Lewis Stateville Correctional Center Joliet, IL

There are letters about brutal and damaging situations in various institutions, others are about serious medical situations, and more than a few are about seeking legal representation. I’ve attempted to locate support and legal services in various states. Too many people, being released in states far from New York, reveal they don’t know of programs in their state. We try to keep informed of various support organizations around the country. In some cities and states, there are very few. Most non-profit organizations, like The Fortune Society, rely on volunteers who enable us to maintain information about programs around the country. We cannot offer legal counsel, but we can provide information about law groups that are available for incarcerated persons. We attempt to respond to all mail, but some guidelines need to be offered for you to receive the most helpful response. Since we receive hundreds of letters each week, it would be most effective if: •

You try to express your need in one or two pages. State at the beginning of the letter what you are seeking.

YOU CAN BE YOUR BEST ADVOCATE

If it is a legal matter, state that briefly. Don’t send 40 or 50 pages of legal arguments to us because we can only refer you to law groups. Save money and time.

Each week, The Fortune Society receives hundreds of letters from incarcerated men and women from all over the country. A staff person, with help from volunteers, reads each letter and attempts to give an appropriate response.

Don’t send the same letter to three or four people. All mail will be referred to our staff person who handles inmate correspondence.

Letters about institutional abuses will be seriously considered.

Letter to Our Readers

Many of those letters request copies of our newsletter. New York inmates facing parole seek letters of support so that, upon their release, they can utilize the services of The Fortune Society, which include individual and family counseling, education programs, career and job guidance, a center that provides therapy, and help in finding safe housing.

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You can be your best advocate. It makes it easier for others to advocate on your behalf. Yours truly, David Rothenberg Founder and Former Executive Director The Fortune Society

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Three Faces of Fortune

PAUL STALLINGS Participant

Paul Stallings has been a client at Fortune for six years. He was raised in Astoria, Queens where he attended PS 4 and went on to high school in Manhattan but never graduated.

After being incarcerated, Paul moved to Brooklyn and came to Fortune in 2008 and enrolled in the Education Department. After a few years, a new opportunity opened up at Fortune – acting classes. The Public Theater had brought to Fortune a new program called Public Works. Paul had thought about being onstage before but had never pursued it. He signed up for the first scene class which resulted in a performance for fellow Fortune participants. From there, he auditioned for the inaugural production of Public Works, The Tempest, at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park in 2013, and he was on his way to the big stage. Paul had been offered a new opportunity and said “why not?” He could make people laugh and have fun, and Public Works helped him develop those skills. He also got to work with people who have become as much a family as he has ever had. When the opportunity for the second show came along, he had to take it. And in September 2014, he auditioned for The Winter’s Tale and once again found himself at the Delacorte Theatre acting in front of 2,000 people. Paul had a significant role in the performances of the Fortune Tellers as part of the Spring Arts Series and the 2nd Annual Fortune Arts Festival in April 2015. He is very excited about continuing his participation in Arts/Theater programs and plans to audition for the 2015 Public Works production at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. He’s still working on his education, but with newfound passion and confidence. Being at Fortune and taking advantage of the programs offered has taught him that he really can do anything.

On March 13, 2015, Nancy Lopez celebrated 26 years at The Fortune Society. When JoAnne Page took over Fortune as CEO, NANCY LOPEZ Nancy was Staff her first hire after having been transferred from Bedford Hills Correctional Facility to a work-release program. Nancy was then referred to Fortune by Diana Davila-Ross, a counselor at Fortune, who Nancy had met during her incarceration. Nancy became the Administrative Assistant for The Counseling Unit. She had no idea she would be here for 26 years. Throughout her journey at Fortune, she knew she had found her calling. If she had continued on her path before prison, she would have ended up dead or just doing more time. She recognized that Fortune provided an alternative to a life of crime not only for herself but for others. As her roles at Fortune continued to grow, she became a Counselor, Senior Counselor, Manager, and Director. She also became the name of Fortune throughout the prison system. Nancy has a gift of empathizing with clients, listening to their story, as well as welcoming and assessing their needs as they come in through our doors. Nancy feels she is Fortune and loves what the agency stands for. Many Fortune participants and her staff have grown in their careers both at Fortune and outside of Fortune thanks to Nancy.

PAUL “PABLO” COSTELLO Intern

Paul “Pablo” Costello has been interning at The Fortune Society since August 18, 2014. He came to Fortune after having been incarcerated for 35 years.

It was through mutual friends and acquaintances that he found his way here and started providing administrative support in the Communications Department and the David Rothenburg Center for Public Policy (DRCPP). He has found it an enlightening and inspiring experience. He enjoys working with a dedicated group of staff and volunteers who are supportive and passionate about what they do, which is essentially assisting others in getting their lives back on track, curtailing recidivism, and making our neighborhoods safer. While interning at Fortune, he has learned new marketable skills and has enhanced the ones he already had in the use of computers, working in an office setting as a team player, and in public speaking. He goes into the field to observe and report on events involving criminal justice, social, and civil rights issues. Pablo engages with community leaders, directors of community-based organizations, legal groups, and local and state public officials who are key to the continued success of the programs offered at Fortune, and he reports back on what’s happening. Pablo finds that the work at Fortune is both rewarding and that it instills a sense of pride knowing that he’s a part of something that changes lives for the better.

Nancy is currently the Director of Admissions. When she leaves, she is certain she will have a feeling of fulfillment knowing that she touched many lives throughout her journey.

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On the Record: Notes from Our Founder Our Overwhelming Need To Punish Taxpayers should insist that their money be better utilized than maintaining a 70-year-old man at $65,000 a year. frequently become mentors to young people, but they are denied by parole boards, usually for “the nature of the crime.” As a result, men and women eligible for release are facing parole boards which assume the roles of judge and jury. Parole boards are traditionally an elephant’s graveyard for retired prosecutors and sheriffs.

DAVID ROTHENBERG Founder Nearly all prisoners over the age of 65 could be released without posing a threat to public safety, particularly those who have been encaged 20 years or more. Why does this not happen, considering the high cost of imprisoning an individual? Follow the money. In an era of declining crime, prisons remain at capacity. Some corporations, which make generous contributions to numerous state legislators around the nation, have huge contracts with a multitude of correctional institutions. Since the draconian drug laws of the ’70s and the closing of several military posts, America has been invaded by the prison/industrial complex. There are big profits in the prison game. Add to that the prison unions that are fearful of job losses when there is a reduction in crime. The powerful correction unions fight efforts to close institutions and they provide effective political pressure. Television crime shows dominate the airwaves, conveying a distorted view of crime in our time. Of course there is crime, but we have to confront the reality of it, not the fictionalized versions on continuous re-runs. Most inmates over 65 who have been incarcerated for more than 20 years have participated in all the programs offered, 6

The greatest single influence on behavior is time. Inmates in penitentiaries are doing penance. They grow wiser, more sensible, and self-aware, ready to make their remaining years productive. Well, maybe not everyone. Defenders of the status quo can always point a finger at a few recalcitrant elders, ignoring the truth of the overwhelming majority. People are retained as prisoners to keep the cells filled; their individual potential is disregarded. At The Fortune Academy (“the Castle”), there are always a half dozen residents over 60 years of age with 20 to 40 years of prison behind them. Invariably, they are the voices of conscience, guiding younger men and women to make sensible and responsible life choices. To a person, these strivers reveal that there are dozens of others just like them, ready to assume a new life. Parole is sometimes blamed for releasing someone too early. In fact, holding someone too long is more damaging. I would suggest that, throughout America, there are several thousand men and women over 65 who could be released. There must be postrelease support, enabling a senior with 30 years of prison life to make a safe adjustment. Guidance upon release is much less costly than maintaining a person in a cage. There are political and pragmatic specifics to be confronted. We must ask the question: “What kind of country do we want to

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be?” And wonder whether “forgiveness” is merely a word to be used in Sunday sermons but forgotten on Monday morning. We often ask incarcerated persons, particularly at parole hearings, if they have remorse for the crime that brought them to prison. This is ironic because there is little in prison that affords self-reflection. In spite of all that, as men and women grow older, they reflect and understand. Has anyone ever challenged a parole board if they have remorse for denying freedom to someone they know is ready but political pressure dictates otherwise? Taxpayers should insist that their money be better utilized than maintaining a 70-yearold man at $65,000 a year. They should also consider salvaging human lives. There are a multitude of fiscal reasons to reduce the prison population. That argument can be made effectively, but I will leave it to others to put it forth. I’m talking about human life and the sad reality that, in America, our need to punish is greater than our need to solve our problems. Seniors in prison is an issue to consider. AARP, take note! David Rothenberg is the founder and first Executive Director of The Fortune Society, a position he served for 18 years.

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Addressing The Aging-In-Prison Crisis To address the growing concern of aging prison populations and to mitigate subsequent reentry challenges, various initiatives are cropping up nationwide. By Julie Smyth and Cynthia Golembeski The United States contains 5% of the global population, yet has 25% of the world’s prisoners. The War on Drugs commenced in the late ‘70s whereas mandatory minimum and punitive sentencing measures such as “three strikes” led to skyrocketing incarceration rates. Along with disproportionately incarcerating people of color by the millions comes the enmeshed consequences of those prisoners growing old behind bars, some of whom may reenter a society that has drastically changed during the years while they were away. The aging prison population rate is growing more rapidly than the overall prison population rate. Fordham University Professor Tina Maschi has identified a critical Omega point in which correctional institutions are no longer capable of providing appropriate and compassionate standards of care in light of the critical mass and unique needs of aging prisoners. At what age someone is considered “elderly” is up for debate. However, the typical age range is 50 to 65. The National Commission on Correctional Health Care Prisoners identifies age 55 as “elderly” because inmates tend to be physiologically 10 years older than their chronological age. Maschi and Prof. Ronald Aday underscore the importance of understanding chronological age in comparison to biological age in considering health status and health care experiences and needs of aging justiceinvolved men and women. Exposure to traumatic experiences, the exacerbation of existing health conditions, and inadequate services contribute to accelerated aging and further compromise the health and wellbeing of those who are aging in prison. While prisons are exorbitantly expensive overall, a great deal of the cost burden is due to health care for aging prisoners who pose very minimal risk to public safety, if any at all. In New York, only 7% of released prisoners between the ages of 50 and 64

Artist Larry Mocks’ created this mixed-media work, “Time’s Up,” while incarcerated. It is courtesy of Phyllis Kornfeld who was Mocks’ teacher/facilitator. Learn more about Kornfeld’s work with incarcerated men and women and their art at http://cellblockvisions.com.

returned to prison for new convictions within three years. That percentage drops to 4% for prisoners age 65 and older. To address the growing concern of aging prison populations and to mitigate subsequent reentry challenges, various programs and initiatives are emerging nationwide. This article highlights two such initiatives -- the Senior Ex-Offender Program (SEOP) in San Francisco and the Aging Reentry Task Force’s Community Reintegration Pilot Case Management Model in New York City. SEOP and NYC’s pilot case management model both aim to support aging justice-involved men and women in reengaging with their respective communities and to encourage peerbased support. Such programs are filling critical service and advocacy gaps, thus replication of such social service programs and advocacy campaigns are encouraged nationwide.

Senior Ex-Offender Program (SEOP) -- San Francisco The Senior Ex-Offender Program (SEOP) is the first-ever program specifically for seniors returning from incarceration. In existence since 2002, SEOP has grown over time and now serves approximately 200 formerly incarcerated seniors each year. Based in San Francisco, SEOP is a subset of the Bayview Hunters Point Multipurpose Senior Services, Inc. (BHPMSS). At the heart of BHPMSS’s mission is the belief that “all people deserve to age with dignity, honor, and respect.” As a program under the umbrella of BHPMSS, SEOP maintains this mission but is specifically “committed to restoring self-respect of their participants through social modeling, providing care, guidance and services, and finding solutions to the challenges” faced by individuals coming home from prison. One criterion that sets SEOP apart from other programs is the low age of eligibility -- 50 years old.

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The program’s director, Frank Williams, recognizes the extensive challenges of coming home from prison, particularly the double-stigma associated with being elderly and having a criminal record. SEOP utilizes a continuum-of-care model, reaching individuals prior to their release and supporting them through their reintegration. By connecting with program participants prior to release, SEOP is able to triage the most important aspect of reentry, such as access to medical care and safe housing. Addiction, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and depression are some of the more common health conditions among program participants. Co-occurring conditions are overrepresented among aging justiceinvolved populations and many conditions often go undetected and untreated. Unemployment is also a crucial concern. To meet this wide range of needs, SEOP provides counseling, social supports, case management, and referrals to meet the specific needs of participants. SEOP also offers more tangible resources, such as clothing, hygiene products, and meals. SEOP’s targeted housing program seeks to address the particular vulnerability of homelessness among formerly incarcerated aging men and women. The “housing first” model is utilized by many social service agencies across the country, and SEOP follows suit. SEOP’s transitional housing program targets seniors who may be homeless upon release, allows them time to secure permanent housing, and also provides the social supports necessary during this transition. SEOP’s wrap-around services address the unique challenges of seniors coming home from prison. As more aging prisoners are being released back into the community, greater attention must be paid to their reintegration needs. SEOP serves as a replicable model that senior centers can adopt in order to help older men and women age with dignity, honor, and respect.

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NYC’s Aging Reentry Task Force’s Community Reintegration Pilot Case Management Model Release Aging People in Prison (RAPP), Fordham University’s Be the Evidence Project, the Florence V. Burden Foundation, Columbia University’s The Justice Initiative, the NYC Department of Aging, and The Osborne Association form the steering committee of the NYC Community Reintegration Pilot Case Management Model. Crucial to the task force is RAPP’s involvement as its own collaborative, multidisciplinary task force whose initiatives include public education campaigns and working with community boards to welcome aging justice-involved men and women home. RAPP “aims to mobilize currently and formerly incarcerated individuals, their families, and other concerned community members in efforts designed to increase parole-release rates for aging people in prison who pose no threat to public safety -- if the risk is low, let them go.” Founded by Mujahid Farid and Laura Whitehorn, RAPP implores the governor and other policymakers to maximize the utility of existing mechanisms such as parole, compassionate release, and clemency as well as to pass the Safe and Fair Evaluations (SAFE) Parole Act to increase parole release rates for all. The Osborne Association, which has vocalized concerns over the moral, ethical, public health, and public safety implications of the current aging prison population crisis, encourages a multi-sector dialogue and cross-pollination of ideas among interdisciplinary stakeholders. The flexible pilot case management model was designed for organizations to use to help prisoners more seamlessly reintegrate into society after a lengthy prison term. Such flexibility enables greater adaptability by a range of organizations with varying degrees of access to men and women who are in prison, are awaiting release, or are on parole. The task force determined that, in 2012, approximately 366 people

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aged 60 or older were released from NYS prisons of which 46% will return to NYC neighborhoods. Although many men and women will have served a lengthy prison term, the amount of support that they need or desire may vary considerably. The age eligibility criterion for NYC’s pilot program is age 60 or older at time of release, which may increase ease of access to other aging services programs, which share the same age eligibility criteria. The task force has also limited eligibility to those who have spent 10 years or more in prison given the widespread evidence of decreased risk of recidivism among those with longer sentences. Knowledge of the nature of the crime is helpful to case managers in securing appropriate services, such as housing, in compliance with certain laws or rules. In light of the eligibility criteria and the intensity of the program, the task force anticipates the NYC pilot program may initially serve 20 or more individuals annually. The case managers are perceived as “the lifeblood of the program” and the primary mode of service delivery. Ideally, case managers should possess both aging and criminal justice knowledge sets, values, and skills, which include being culturally competent, free of isms, advocacy-oriented, and a team player. In addition to the pilot program, related services, and peer-based supports, the task force is developing resource directories, community education curricula, and provider training programs.

Moving Forward Leading advocacy and human rights organizations -- including the ACLU, Human Rights Watch, and Vera Institute for Justice -- have shined a spotlight on the detrimental effects of the punishment paradigm and disproportionately lengthy prison terms. Their research and advocacy efforts suggest keeping aging people in prison abets “elder abuse,” which the World Health Organization defines as “a single or repeated act or lack of appropriate action occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes

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harm or distress to an older person.” The ACLU and others urge repeal of mandatory minimum, habitual offender, and truth in sentencing laws, and propose other shortterm reform efforts -- grant conditional release for aging prisoners who pose little security risk, utilize and expand medical parole (compassionate release), increase accountability and transparency of parole boards, and reauthorize and expand federal aging prisoner release. Maschi underscores the importance of competency among interdisciplinary programs and professionals in working within the intersection of aging and criminal justice: “When considering the important task of bridging older adults from prisons to their families and communities, issues of elder and intergenerational justice are invoked. The pathways to prison vary for older adults in prison and one or more cumulative disadvantages or inequalities, related to race, education, socioeconomic status, gender, disability, legal or immigration status, can influence their access to health and social services, economic resources, and justice.” More often than not, aging men and women who are currently incarcerated or who are returning home have experienced a lifetime of unequal access to health and social services. Moral as well as economic reasons support improved public health and justice reform efforts and more integrated resources that address the needs of those who are aging and currently incarcerated, under community supervision, and reentering the community. Julie Smyth holds a Masters of Science in Social Work from Columbia University. She has spent her career in criminal justice, and currently is a criminal practice social worker at The Bronx Defenders, an innovative, holistic, and nationally recognized public defense office. She is

published on topics of incarcerated women and the collateral consequences of mass incarceration. Cynthia Golembeski is a health policy researcher and educator at The Fortune Society who primarily works on a structural intervention which supports healthcare providers in delivering culturally competent HIV prevention and care services to justiceinvolved men and women, and contributes to related policy/advocacy efforts. She has supported public health and justice reform efforts in urban areas within California, New York, and Sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa. She completed undergraduate studies at UC Berkeley and received an MPH from Columbia University.

Fekeiki, O. (2006). Profile: Bayview Hunter’s Point: Program gives senior ex-offenders a second change. Retrieved from, http://journalism.berkeley. edu/ngno/reports/bayview/bvhp_10_1206.html Human Rights Watch. (2012). Old behind bars: The aging prison population in the U.S.. Retrieved from, http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/ usprisons0112webwcover_0.pdf Law, V. (2014, January 19). If the risk is low, let them go: Efforts to resolve the growing numbers of aging behind bars. Retrieved from, http://truth-out.org/news/item/21120-if-the-risk-islow-let-them-go-efforts-to-resolve-the-growingnumbers-of-aging-behind-bars Maschi, T. et al. (In Press). Bridging Community and Prison for Older Adults: Invoking Human Rights and Elder and Intergenerational Family Justice. International Journal of Prisoner Health. Maschi, T. and Aday, R. (2014). The Social Determinants of Health and Justice and the Aging in Prison Crisis: A Call for Human Rights Action. International Journal of Social Work.

References Aday, R. & Farney, L. (2014). Malign neglect: Assessing older women’s health care experiences in prison. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry. DOI 10.1007/ s11673-014-9561-0 American Civil Liberties Union (2012), “The mass incarceration of the elderly.” Retrieved from: http:// www.American Civil Liberties Union.org/files/ assets/elderlyprisonreport_20120613_1.pdf

The Editorial Board. (2014, September 29). Nursing homes behind bars. The New York Times, A26. The Osborne Association. (2014). The high costs of low risk: The crisis of America’s aging prison population [White paper].. Retrieved from, http:// www.osborneny.org/images/uploads/printMedia/ Osborne_Aging_WhitePaper.pdf

Bureau of Justice Statistics. (2014). State corrections expenditures, FY 1982-2010. U.S. Department of Justice. New York: Tracey Kyckelhahn. Retrieved from, http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/ scefy8210.pdf Day, Leila (Narrator). (2013, April 8). Where do older prisoners go when they get out? [Radio broadcast episode]. In Crosscurrents, KALW Local Public Radio. San Francisco, CA: National Public Radio. Ellis, L. (2010, October 31). Ex-offender program for seniors provides new lease on life for many. The Western Edition San Francisco. Retrieved from, http://www.thewesternedition. com/?c=117&a=1617

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The Fortune News 9


The Race To De-Carcerate Some astute anti-mass incarceration activists have outlined dangers that lie ahead. The author echoes those sentiments here. By Mujahid Farid dismantling mass incarceration be centered in the systemic elements that are fraught with race and class prejudices.

Clearly, a vibrant movement to dismantle mass incarceration in the United States has been launched. Initiatives throughout the States are being organized and are doing the daily work turning the heat up. International embarrassment regarding the United States’ status as the world’s greatest incarcerator -with its former slaves taking the brunt of this brutal policy choice -- appears to worry politicians and policymakers. A critical issue which will determine the success of this movement is how the people engaged frame narratives and platforms of their initiatives. This, of course, depends on how one conceptualizes and promotes the root of the problem. Some astute antimass incarceration activists have outlined dangers that lie ahead. I echo those sentiments here. We at RAPP (Release Aging People in Prison) -- an independent organizing and policy project -- engage in ongoing dialectical sessions to critically analyze our strategies and progress, and to examine stumbling blocks to success. Our approach is to study lessons from the past and for applicability, if any, to our current struggle. We also recognize the importance of listening -- listening to our own members, listening to the views of others working on the same or different aspects of the mass incarceration myriad-headed beast, and listening to the ancestors and voices of ghosts past. It is by listening that we agree and conclude it is axiomatic that discussions regarding, and approaches to,

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We have already witnessed the propensity of some politicians, policymakers, and even some activists to skirt the real issues by their reluctance to commit to evidencebased approaches in policymaking, and instead cater to a loud emotional cacophony. It is sometimes interesting watching them deftly sidestep the fact that long-term and aging people in prison, who have served considerable time for violent offenses, are the least likely to commit another offense upon release; and then go on to support legislation or policy choices that specifically exclude these people truly entangled in an unforgiving carceral system. While concluding that “it is a moral imperative” to pay attention to the treatment being meted out to people aging and dying in prison, Jean Trounstine -- author, teacher, and prison activist -- goes on to note that “but for now, few even in the anti-mass incarceration community are ready to take on that fight.” New York State presents an illustrative case of this problem: RAPP has noted that over a 12-year period in New York State, the overall prison population was downsized by 21% -- from 71,466 in 2000 to 56,315 in 2011. At the same time, the population of people confined who are 50 years of age and older increased by 81%! This astronomical growth of the elderly can be attributed to the failure of policymakers to give up the inclination to perpetually punish and target a race and class of people. Even with the overall downsizing, New York State found it necessary to maintain its reliance on a system of permanent punishment and a culture of retribution and revenge rather than rehabilitation and healing.

fiscal concerns to be at the centerpiece overshadowing moral implications. We understand that this “dollars-and-sense” approach is actually at the root of what caused mass incarceration in the first instance. Writer and activist James Kilgore aptly cautioned that “inevitably a number of activists will (maybe already are) measure success solely by the volume of Congressional hearing invitations and the number of foundation grants scored rather than the extent of genuine movement building.” Little will change unless those who are sincerely struggling to dismantle mass incarceration understand the importance of connecting it with the race question that has always plagued the United States. This cannot be avoided. When Marc Mauer’s book Race to Incarcerate was first published, I always fancied that the title was a double-entendre. That is certainly my intention here. In the coming days, all of us should pay close attention and listen to those who will be engaging in the struggle against mass incarceration. Our salvation depends on that vigilance. Mujahid Farid, a 2013 Soros Justice Fellow, was incarcerated for 33 years in New York before his release in 2011. He is the director of RAPP (Release Aging People in Prison) which focuses on aging people in prison. To learn more visit: http://rappcampaign.com/

RAPP recognizes the necessity of collaborating with those whose primary motivation for prison “downsizing” is based upon fiscal concerns. At the same time, we recognize the danger of allowing

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Learning Best Practices In Working With Older Formerly Incarcerated Residents In 2012, The Fortune Society was awarded a grant of $25,000 from Enterprise Community Partners as part of the HUD Sec 4 Capacity Building program. The grant funded an innovative training initiative, conducted in the Fall of 2012, designed and facilitated by Dr. Ann Burack-Weiss, a licensed clinical social worker and faculty of the Master’s program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University.

Dr. Ann Burack-Weiss

Relying upon over three decades’ experience researching and writing about gerontological issues, Dr. Burack-Weiss trained Fortune’s Housing Staff in best practices around engaging older residents, with particular focus on those residents inclined to isolate themselves. In speaking with Fortune case managers and housing specialists, Dr. Burack-Weiss learned that many of Fortune’s older male residents were hesitant to engage in social interactions for fear of resorting to detrimental behaviors in which they had engaged prior to incarceration. She explained that, to better engage and promote meaningful contact with our older residents, Fortune staff needed to first do a thorough assessment of not just residents’ basic needs, but a holistic life profile. This profile should provide an at-a-glance overview of background, familial, and behavioral and physical health information to all staff working with the resident. Upon conducting this assessment, Fortune staff could then move to the next step of improving older resident engagement by

working with individuals in small groups attuned to their interests and goals. Dr. Burack-Weiss also recommended that Fortune staff address the “silos” that often emerge among service providers for older adults, and to create linkages and a referral system that helps connect the dots for residents in order to ensure a comprehensive continuum of care. Angela Scott, LMSW, Fortune’s Program Supervisor of Scatter Site Housing, attended all of Dr. Burack-Weiss’s trainings which she found to be extremely informative as both a clinical refresher to what she had learned in graduate school, as well as a way to see older residents through a more refined lens. Ms. Scott recently reported that significant results have emerged in the past two and a half years since the trainings -- Housing staff have begun using eco-maps (a graphical representation that shows all of the systems at play in an individual’s life) to assist in counseling older residents. Staff are also continually revising and further streamlining the content of Fortune’s program forms in order to ensure not only contract compliance, but immediate visibility of resident needs. On the social engagement front, Ms. Scott has seen increased turnout at Fortune’s communal dinners, especially around the holidays, as a result of staff’s concerted efforts to engage residents deeply on a personal level. Housing staff have also improved linkages with city agencies and service providers, and are using Fortune’s popular weekly community meetings as a vehicle for feedback and education as to the community resources available to our residents.

Angela Scott

Ann Burack-Weiss, PhD, LCSW, is a social work practitioner, educator, and consultant. She taught for three decades at the Columbia School of Social Work and is now Associate Faculty in the graduate program in Narrative Medicine. Angela Scott, LMSW, is Fortune’s Program Supervisor of Scatter Site Housing. She is a graduate of Hunter College where she earned her MSW in 2005. She has 10-plus years in the human services field.

It’s SPRING in NYC! The “Sky Garden” on the rooftop of Castle Gardens is in full bloom

Perhaps most notably, according to Ms. Scott, as a result of this training, Fortune staff have become more effective advocates and partners in the lives of our older residents. In doing so, staff have celebrated and supported older residents’ independence, while providing a lifelong safety net in the form of housing and culturally competent support services.

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The Fortune News 11


Supportive Housing Services For Older Adults At The Fortune Society For older adults coming home after so many years, our model of reentry services is the key to success, allowing people to both give and receive the support they need just when they need it. Our approach to working with the formerly incarcerated aging population is best demonstrated at our reentry housing facilities in West Harlem. We first opened our emergency and transitional housing, The Fortune Academy (which we nicknamed “the Castle” for its gothic appearance), in 2002. Then, in 2010, we opened our newest housing facility, Castle Gardens, a permanent supportive and affordable “green” building that serves both formerly incarcerated clients and other low-income families. At both buildings, we frequently say “Welcome home!” to older individuals returning home from long prison sentences. So many of them have lost connections to friends and family and would otherwise be homeless upon their release. In addition, they often have complicated medical needs, along with ongoing issues related to past substance abuse and mental health histories, presenting a complex array of challenges that they must face in the reentry process.

“After so many years of incarceration, I had no one to return to and I felt that society had rejected me. Fortune filled that void.” - Ummo R.

At Fortune, we recognize the unique vulnerability of the older adult population. For example, we’ve learned that some older adults who are former substance users will voluntarily isolate themselves within their apartments to preserve their sobriety -- and we know that we need to proactively help them to engage in positive social activities with the rest of the community. We invite them to attend our daily communal dinners 12

and to participate in regular meetings and activities, including our weekly cooking demonstrations, gardening in our rooftop “Sky Garden,” and special holiday events and gatherings. A few client stories demonstrate best the way that we are addressing the unique needs of the aging population through our supportive housing programs: •

Otis J. (aka “Saladin”), who is 69 and was just recently released from prison, was featured in a January 3rd article in The Daily Beast entitled “His First Day Out of Jail After 40 Years: Adjusting To Life Outside.” A few months ago, he arrived at the Castle, our nationally recognized transitional reentry housing facility in West Harlem, after spending some time at the Bellevue Men’s Shelter in Manhattan after being released from prison. Of that shelter, he says, “It was like a medium-security prison.”

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But, thanks to Fortune’s peer-led outreach and recruitment, Otis J. learned about the Castle and we offered him more than just a bed; we offered him a community of caring and supportive staff, volunteers, and peer role models as well. He is now doing very well, actively participating in programs, and we are helping him reconnect with his family in New Jersey. He is already thinking about helping other people by being a role model and a support system for them, especially for our younger clients •

Warren Y. is a 74-year-old resident at the Castle who arrived in April 2014 after 3-1/2 years in prison. While he was incarcerated later in life, he still faced a unique set of challenges. In his words, “When you are 68 years old and everything is taken away from you, it is a very difficult experience from that of a younger man who has not built up his life.” His experience of loss upon his arrest and conviction

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was extremely difficult, so coping with that has been very hard for him. The aftermath of the experience also had a painfully intense effect on his family. Warren Y. heard about Fortune through a friend who connected him to us. The prison didn’t provide any discharge planning services for him, so he was really on his own to figure out his reentry plan (his wife had filed for divorce while he was incarcerated). He says, “When I got here I was really amazed by the compassion of the staff (especially Ruben, my first case counselor), by the cleanliness, and by the welcoming attitude of the other residents. It was a pleasure to sleep on a cot without being awakened to go on count.”

“There is nowhere else that can do this. It doesn’t smell or feel like a shelter; this is a first-class program.” - Warren Y.

Warren Y. has been working to establish new goals, participating in group sessions, and adapting to his new environment. He explains, “Fortune really gets you to focus on a redefined mission statement for your life and to define goals and steps to achieve those goals.” We are also helping him cope with the requirements of parole, using our strong relationships with NYS parole officers.

Warren Y. points to the need for more supportive, transitional housing facilities. “There is nowhere else that can do this,” he says. “It doesn’t smell or feel like a shelter; this is a first-class program.” •

Ummo R. is a 70-year-old resident of our newest “green” supportive, affordable permanent housing facility, Castle Gardens. After 30 years in prison, he says, “I had to find an epiphany -- an enlightenment in myself to change my ways.” This happened for Ummo R. on June 6, 2011 when we accepted him into the program.

He originally learned about us through The Fortune News, Fortune’s informative print magazine. Ummo R. was able to first come home to the Castle. Then, after 18 months there, we helped him move into an apartment at Castle Gardens which is now his permanent home. Ummo R. is taking full advantage of all the services available at Fortune, including substanceabuse treatment, life-skills training, and mental-health treatment through the Better Living Center (BLC) where he has been a client for three years. He explains, “After so many years of incarceration, I had no one to return to and I felt society had rejected me. Fortune filled that void.” Ummo R. has taken courses at Hostos Community College and he plans to enroll again in courses this summer as he works towards becoming a substance-abuse counselor.

Fortune And The Arts

Herbert T., who is 71 and who served 33 years in prison, currently lives at Castle Gardens. He’s lived there since 2010 after first living at the Castle. He says, “The quality and sincerity of the people working at Fortune is unmatched.” Herbert T. has also taken advantage of all the programs offered at Fortune, including our food and nutrition workshops, computer classes, job training, and education, explaining, “This place knows your background but they’re willing to help you. Fortune wants you to use its services to the fullest!”

He recalls the words of another elder living at Castle Gardens named Carl who says, “The answer is in the room.” Our peer-based model of support is a crucial part of Fortune’s approach to supportive reentry housing; not only Herbert T. but all the residents in our housing programs benefit from the positive and caring mentoring of a community of the peer role models surrounding them. For older adults coming home after so many years, combined with the trauma of incarceration itself, this model of reentry services is the key to success … allowing people to both give and receive the support they need just when they need it.

With very limited resources -- drawing on key partners, volunteers, and existing staff -- Fortune has launched a variety of arts programs over the past few years. We URGENTLY need an investment of resources to maximize arts programming at Fortune! If you are interested in learning more or providing funding, please contact: Jill Poklemba, Associate Vice President of Development & Communications, at jpoklemba@fortunesociety.org or (347) 510-3613. If you have any further questions or if you have artistic talents you would like to share as a volunteer, please contact: Benjamin Solotaire, Manager of Volunteer Services and Community Engagement at bsolotaire@fortunesociety.org or (212) 691-7554.

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The Fortune News 13


Withstanding The “Aging Tsunami” Our country faces a widely under-addressed policy challenge -- ensuring robust services for older individuals who have experienced criminal justice involvement. By Gabriel S. Oberfield (The opinions in this piece are solely those of Mr. Oberfield, rather than those of his employer)

Our country faces a key but widely underaddressed policy challenge -- ensuring robust services for older individuals who have experienced criminal-justice involvement, whether currently incarcerated or needing reentry support. America is encountering a so-called “Aging Tsunami” that arises from a number of converging causes. Among them are the graying of the Baby Boomer generation and shifts in immigration patterns. Within a short time, New York City alone will be home to more older adults than school-aged children. This shift in demographics already has been affecting the criminal-justice system in profound ways. At the same time that the country has aged, so too have we seen consequences of policies that have led to the nation’s exponential growth of incarceration during the last decades, often in connection with “get tough” policies that have removed judicial discretion and expansion of conduct deemed criminal under the law. Individuals sentenced under these changed standards often have been imprisoned for decades at a time -- and have been aging along the way. I approach the issues of aging services and criminal-justice policy from an unusual vantage point -- I have spent portions of my

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career involved in criminal-justice policy reform (whether as a staff member of a national advocacy organization or while serving on Fortune’s Board of Directors), and at other times working closely on issues affecting older adults (both in government and in connection with non-profits that deliver health and aging services). I have encountered entities at times working independently of each other, such as those focused chiefly on criminal justice versus those attuned to health and aging services, with limited understanding of their colleagues’ programs and approaches. Of course, this dynamic can harm aging adults, whether in our prisons or as they come home. The Oscar-nominated documentary, Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall, crisply captures the dynamic. It chronicles a hospice team that is funded by donations and is staffed by individuals who are incarcerated. Compassionate fellow prisoners step in where services had been lacking to keep older adults living life to their fullest -- in this case, despite terminal health challenges endured behind bars. But the concerning part is this: in a more progressive system -- one thinking ahead and rising to challenges -- more integrated programming would be the expectation rather than the reaction to a service gap. There is reason, however, to be hopeful. Driven by changes, such as the federal Affordable Care Act, and significant funding going to states for health care redesign, partners in New York and elsewhere are intentionally coordinating resources, reorganizing to deliver higherquality and integrated care. This reshaping is affecting services, such as behavioral health and long-term care, to name just a few, all of which have implications for aging individuals with criminal-justice involvement. At the same time, in the traditional criminal-justice space, funders

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typically on distinct sides of the political aisle are coming together to fund reform efforts. And governments are developing and implementing analytics systems that bring together data in integrated fashion to guide more global policy development. As it always does, The Fortune Society will be a trend-setter and will make sure that older adults with criminal- justice experiences receive the robust services they need. But Fortune cannot do it alone, and it is heartening to see others recognizing the need for change. Gabriel S. Oberfield joined the Board of Directors of The Fortune Society in 2011 and serves as Chairman of its Advocacy and Communications committee. As VP at the Greater New York Hospital Association’s affiliate, the Continuing Care Leadership Coalition, Oberfield delivers policy and operations guidance to non-profits that furnish long- term care services.

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How To Prepare For The Unprecedented Growth Of Aging Individuals In Prison It is surprising how little we know about the aging prison population and about effective strategies to better manage and serve their needs. By Bryce Peterson & KiDeuk Kim, The Urban Institute - www.urban.org Columbia currently have “early release” protocols and procedures in place for geriatric prisoners, they also use different ages for determining the eligibility for such release. This variation makes it difficult to define the population leading to uncertainty in how such policies and programs might affect the health and care of older prisoners -- or have consequences for public safety. The numbers and proportions of aging individuals in state and federal prisons are growing fast. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, the number of individuals in state prison age 55 or older nearly quadrupled between 1995 and 2010. In comparison, the total prison population growth was less than half that rate during the same time period. Despite these trends, it is surprising how little we know about the aging prison population and about effective strategies to better manage and serve their needs. The lack of consistent, systematic information about the challenges and issues associated with these individuals makes it difficult to formulate meaningful policy recommendations about how to effectively manage them. As social science researchers keenly interested in improving social justice and government performance, we see two immediate areas that deserve attention:

#1. Develop A Data-Driven Definition Of Individuals Aging In Prison There is no consensus among researchers or practitioners as to what age incarcerated individuals should be considered “older,” “aging,” or “geriatric.” The definition of these individuals varies widely in the research on this topic though it typically ranges from 50 to 65. In addition, despite the fact that 15 states and the District of

We believe it is critical to use data and research to identify the age of individuals at which their risk of recidivism can be reasonably managed through more affordable options than incarceration (e.g., community supervision), and the cost of their incarceration sharply increases due to the physical and/or cognitive functional limitations associated with their aging. This approach for defining these individuals would be more meaningful to policy and practice than the traditional way of thinking about the issue.

#2. Develop A Cost-Effective Management And Treatment Plans For A Broad Population Of Individuals Aging In Prison Current discussion about individuals aging in prison tends to focus on those who are severely ill, leading to policies such as hospice care, palliative care, and geriatric release programs. However, the cost of incarceration can be substantial for any older individual, not just those with a terminal illness. Given the need for additional medical care, management, and other resources, it is important to acknowledge that providing proper care and surveillance to all older individuals in prison costs a lot more. Thus, we believe that prison and jail administrators should consider creating policy options to better manage and treat a broader population of these older individuals. Some examples include:

Using more alternatives to incarceration for older individuals being sentenced for a crime. In many cases, the supervision and treatment needs of these individuals may be more effectively met in the community.

Expanding early release programs to include older incarcerated individuals who are not necessarily severely ill, but who still pose minimal risk to public safety and whose healthcare needs can be better met in the community. Once these individuals become severely ill, the cost of providing proper care and supervision is extremely high whether they are in prison or in the community.

Minimizing the deterioration of health associated with being in prison. This can be achieved by expanding the use of preventive healthcare which helps incarcerated individuals avoid more serious health problems later in their lives.

Developing an easy-to-use assessment/ screening tool for correctional officers that would detect common geriatric symptoms (e.g., sensory impairment, functional impairment, incontinence, and cognitive impairment) as well as prison-based functional impairment. This can help corrections officials identify and classify older individuals that need to be monitored for health and safety concerns in prison.

KiDeuk Kim is a senior research associate in the Justice Police Center of the Urban Institute and a visiting fellow at the Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. His current research focuses on policy evaluation in criminal justice. Bryce Peterson is a research associate in the Justice Police Center of the Urban Institute. His current research interests include various issues related to correctional populations and their families.

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The Fortune News 15


FROM THE DAVID ROTHENBERG CENTER FOR PUBLIC POLICY (DRCPP)

“A Stain In The Archives Of American History” Although many people probably assume that such harsh sentences are only meted out for the “worst of the worst,” the reality is a bit more complicated. By Ronald F. Day minimum sentences. In too many cases, mandatory minimum sentences are unwise and unjust.” Although many people probably assume that such harsh sentences are only meted out for the “worst of the worst,” the reality is a bit more complicated. A sizable portion of the people serving hefty sentences committed their crimes as juveniles or young adults.

When it comes to incarceration in this country, many of our elected officials have been driving policy while under the influence. The influence has been negative perceptions, stereotypes, “moral panics,” and a belief that people are incorrigible. Hence, we can simply lock them up and throw away the key. The truth is that 95% of people are eventually released from prison. One of the consequences of a retributive system is that thousands upon thousands of people languish in prison for decades, well beyond the point of them posing much risk to public safety. A report by the Osborne Association found that “there are an estimated 246,600 prisoners age 50 or older in the United States and nearly 9,300 aging incarcerated individuals in New York, comprising roughly 17% of the state’s total prison population.” According to eminent criminologist Michael Tonry, it took only a dozen years -- from 1984 to 1996 -- for us to legislate our way into this conundrum. During that brief period, we enacted some of the harshest sentencing laws imaginable. These include Truth in Sentencing, Three Strikes, mandatory minimums, and Life Without Parole. Coupled with a precipitous drop in the number of people released to parole supervision, the results have been disastrous. Justice Anthony Kennedy once noted, “I can accept neither the necessity nor the wisdom of federal mandatory 16

Take the case of Eraina Pretty, who was recently featured on 20/20. Ms. Pretty revealed to Diane Sawyer that she was convicted at the age of 18 for a double homicide that occurred during a botched robbery. Her boyfriend killed the victims but she has been held as culpable. With tears in her eyes, she spoke about being so consumed with guilt that she once asked the governor to execute her. She has been in prison for 36 years and denied parole numerous times. Rolling Stone did a piece on California’s Three Strikes Laws in 2013. The cases that were described would likely shock the conscience of any sensible person. “Have you heard the one about the guy who got life for stealing a slice of pizza?” read the article. “Or the guy who went away forever for lifting a pair of baby shoes? Regardless of the crime, Mr. Tonry notes that, comparatively, the United States is out of touch when it comes to sentencing. He insists that, “sentences longer than one year are uncommon” in most other Western countries. There are considerable costs to society for this experiment in punitive sentencing. The Osborne Association observed that we “currently spend over $16 billion annually on incarceration for individuals aged 50 and older.” The longer one serves in prison, the more disconnected they are from society. They often find it exceedingly difficult to reestablish themselves once

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released, to secure suitable employment and housing that meets their needs. Lengthy sentences all but guarantee that many of these individuals will be dependent on government assistance. Attorney General Eric Holder correctly asserted that “Too many people go to too many prisons for far too long for no good law enforcement reason.” Mass incarceration and its intended consequence -- aging in prison -- will be a

Justice Anthony Kennedy once noted, “I can accept neither the necessity nor the wisdom of federal mandatory minimum sentences. In too many cases, mandatory minimum sentences are unwise and unjust.” stain in the archives of American history. It was a political imperative that got us into this mess, but a moral imperative is what will get us out of it. Many people are concerned about the exorbitant costs of incarceration, and justifiably so. But our perceptions of “criminals” as disposable is the real sin. We built prisons with impunity and stocked them with bodies, without due consideration to the long-term effects to individuals and communities. It’s time to change course, to adopt policies that are both fair and just. Ronald F. Day is Associate Vice President of the David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy (DRCPP) at the Fortune Society where he oversees advocacy efforts to reduce reliance on incarceration, promote model programing for the incarcerated population, change laws and policies that create barriers for successful reintegration, and foster a just and equitable criminal justice system. www.fortunesociety.org


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Partnering With MoMA

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Students from Fortune’s Education Program work on papier-mache pieces as part of our long-standing partnership with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). For the past seven years, Fortune has been a community partner with MoMA, whose arts educators engage our students through museum tours, onsite lectures and discussions, and handson art-making sessions. This class, led by Shellyne Rodriguez from MoMA, focused on surrealism and fantasy.

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3. The majority of elderly prisoners were sentenced for these sorts of crimes. 4. Most common form of dementia. 8. Many prisons not designed to accommodate these. 11. Type of law contributing to aging prison population. 14. Age at which prisoners are considered “elderly,” according to the National Institute of Corrections. 15. NYS advocates’ slogan for geriatric inmates: “If the risk is low, let them ___.” 16. It costs states this much more to incarcerate an aging prisoner on average than a younger one. 17. Machines to treat kidney disease. 18. “Shawshank Redemption” star. 19. % of elderly prisoners who are women. 20. Age-related eye disease: ___________ degeneration. 22. Clouding of the lenses. 24. Abnormal cell growth. 25. Country with highest incarceration rate. 26. 4-footed frame.

27. Federal aid not available to inmates. 28. 3 infectious diseases prevalent in prisons: HIV, TB, and __________________. 29. Escape movie. DOWN 1. Serious mental condition affecting inmates. 2. Progressive bone disease. 5. Caring place. 6. Specialized aging facilities: _______ units. 7. State with the highest percentage of elderly prisoners (20% as of June 2012). 9. State with the highest number of prisoners age 50 and over (27,680 as of June 2012). 10. Type of release available to terminally ill. 12. The second-highest expenditure for prisons. 13. Country with second-highest incarceration rate. 21. Insulin-related disease. 23. Joint disorder.

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The Fortune News: May 2015 - Aging  

What is it like to age in prison? In this issue of The Fortune News, see what older incarcerated individuals face, learn about the services...

The Fortune News: May 2015 - Aging  

What is it like to age in prison? In this issue of The Fortune News, see what older incarcerated individuals face, learn about the services...