Prisonist.org: Edited by Jeff Grant, JD, M Div, Executive Director of Family ReEntry, serving the CT Criminal Justice Community & Co-Founder of Progressive Prison Ministries, the First Ministry in the U.S. Created to Support Individuals, Families & Organizations with White-Collar and Other Nonviolent Incarceration Issues.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Family ReEntry is in the Times Square Portal, Weds., Nov. 15th at 10 am. Join in on Facebook Live!

https://www.facebook.com/sharedstudios/videos/757507397785600/

Life Beyond Bars. Live from the 
Times Square Portal in NYC! 

Join us on Weds. Nov. 15th at 10 am live on Shared Studio’s Facebook page as Fred Hodges and Daee McKnight from Family ReEntry, Inc. and participants from the Milwaukee Fatherhood Initiative share their personal experiences and professional perspectives on resuming or recreating life after prison. Moderator Jeff Grant, Executive Director of Family ReEntry, will engage panelists on the challenges and joys of reentering society. Post your questions for panelists to answer live from Portals in Times Square, New York City and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

Link:



Thank you for your support!  
Donations: familyreentry.org


https://www.facebook.com/sharedstudios/videos/757507397785600/

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Thank You for Your Generous Donations to Family ReEntry's Year-End Appeal




Your generous donations to Family ReEntry’s 
Year-End Appeal help us to better serve 
families affected by the criminal justice system

Thank you for your support!  


http://familyreentry.org





http://familyreentry.org
http://familyreentry.org

Family ReEntry to Honor Philip C. Potter in Greenwich This Thursday, Nov. 9!

Family ReEntry to Honor 

Philip C. Potter in Greenwich

This Thursday, Nov. 9! Family ReEntry Invites You 
to a Reception at Christ Church Greenwich 
to Honor Our Former Board Chair 
Philip Potter as He Receives 
the Elizabeth Bush Award




Reprinted from Greenwich Sentinel, Nov. 6, 2017, By Richard Kaufman, Sentinel Reporter


On Thursday, Nov. 9, at Christ Church’s Tomes-Higgins House, the board of directors of Family ReEntry, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization supporting individuals and families impacted by the criminal justice system, will honor Philip C. Potter with the Elizabeth Bush Volunteerism Award.

The award is given to someone who has gone above and beyond a volunteer role to make life altering positive changes for individuals and families affected by the criminal justice system.

The late Elizabeth Bush, a longtime Greenwich resident, was one of the original volunteers of Family ReEntry, and helped make it the entity it is today.

Potter, 92, also a longtime Greenwich resident, is a former
Philip Potter will be Honored
chairman of Family ReEntry’s board of directors.


Potter was also a litigation partner with the Davis Polk & Wardwell firm in New York City and a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He went to Harvard College and Harvard Law School, where he was also named All American Honorable Mention and All-New England for soccer. Potter is also a World War II veteran serving in The American Field Service under the British Army as an ambulance driver.

Over his time with the Family ReEntry, Potter focused primarily on youth and children’s programs to help disrupt the intergenerational cycle of incarceration.

According to a press release from Family ReEntry, Potter’s work has been instrumental in that approximately 65 percent of youths matched with mentors avoided or engaged in a reduced amount of risk-taking behaviors.

For Family ReEntry’s Executive Director, Jeff Grant, Potter is a very deserving recipient of the award and was an invaluable member of the organization, which began in 1984.

“[Philip] gave up his time, [he provided] leadership, he donated money,” Grant said. “Philip was a wonderful ambassador for Family ReEntry and a person with a huge heart. He gave up himself thanklessly.”

Grant became executive director last October after serving eight years on the board of directors.

However, many years prior, Grant’s life was falling apart.
After years of prescription drug abuse, and after operating a law firm that had started to fail, Grant attempted to take his own life in the summer of 2001.

Months later, after becoming sober, a warrant was issued
Jeff Grant Speaking at The Nantucket Project
for his arrest. Grant had applied for a loan using false paperwork, and had also co-mingled client funds at his law firm in Westchester County.


In 2006 Grant went to federal prison for a little over a year and rehabilitated himself. He walked nearly 3,500 miles on the track during his time behind bars, and talked with other prisoners convicted of white-collar crimes about what they worried about most as they prepared to go back to their normal lives.

Upon his release, Grant was volunteering for many local service groups and found Family ReEntry.

“I was interested in Family ReEntry and it was a perfect match for my mission and my skill set,” Grant said. “I wanted to give back to the community, I wanted to give back to the criminal justice community and Family ReEntry is the perfect place to do that.”

Over the years, Family ReEntry has grown, and although they primarily serve Bridgeport, there are offices in Norwalk and New Haven. Programs are located in Stamford, Waterbury, Derby, New London and Norwich.

Grant believes organizations like Family ReEntry are critical, especially in the present economic times.

“We live in a state right now where there are thousands of people being released from prison every year. Because of the state budget crisis, there are fewer and fewer programs to support them and to ensure that they’re successful outside of prison so that they don’t return to the type of criminal behavior that got them into trouble in the first place,” Grant said.

“So organizations like Family ReEntry not only provide them essential services, but they disrupt the intergenerational cycle of incarceration to prevent it from happening in a family over and over again.”

Friends of Potter and Family ReEntry are invited to attend the event on Nov. 9, which goes from 5 to 7 p.m. Advance RSVP is required, and can be made to dianawhitney@familyreentry.org.

In recognition of Potter’s incredible contribution to the community, donations can be made in his name to the youth and children’s programs of Family ReEntry by logging onto www.familyreentry.org

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Greenwich Sentinel: Family ReEntry to Honor Former Board Chair Philip Potter at Christ Church Greenwich


Greenwich Sentinel:
Family ReEntry to Honor 
Former Board Chair Philip Potter 
at Christ Church Greenwich


Reprinted from Greenwich Sentinel, Nov. 2, 2017

 


The Board of Directors of Family ReEntry, a nonprofit organization supporting individuals and families impacted by the criminal justice system, announced a special reception to honor Philip C. Potter, 92, as he is presented with the Elizabeth Bush Volunteerism Award.

Held on Thursday, Nov. 9 from 5 to 7 p.m., at Christ Church Greenwich’s Tomes Higgins House, 216 E. Putnam Ave., Family ReEntry celebrates the tremendous efforts of Potter’s work, including the extraordinary leadership, personal involvement and financial support that he arranged and contributed to Family ReEntry’s programs.

The Elizabeth Bush Volunteerism Award recognizes a person who has gone above and beyond a volunteer role to making life altering positive changes for individuals and families affected by the criminal justice system. The late Beth Bush was a longtime Greenwich resident who was instrumental in the growth of Family ReEntry.

Family ReEntry Board Member and Greenwich resident Susan Ness explained, “I can’t think of anyone more deserving to receive the Elizabeth Bush Award than Philip Potter. Philip has personally changed for the better our entire Connecticut criminal justice community, and especially the lives of many children with a parent in prison.”

Potter is the former Chairman of Family ReEntry’s Board of Directors and has donated countless hours and financial resources to the Family ReEntry mission to help individuals, families and entire communities. A major focus for him has been Family ReEntry’s youth and children’s programs, which he considered an important place to disrupt the intergenerational cycle of incarceration. Evidence of his work is seen in Family ReEntry’s latest impact statistics that show that approximately 65% of youths matched with mentors avoided or engaged in a reduced amount of risk-taking behaviors.  According to Tina Banas, Family ReEntry’s Clinical Director and Director of Youth & Family Services, “Philip’s leadership and contribution to the lives of children of incarceration has been immeasurable. We can’t thank him enough for all he has done for this community.”

A longtime Greenwich resident, Potter was a litigation partner with the Davis Polk & Wardwell firm in New York City and a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He completed his education at Harvard College and Harvard Law School, where he was also named All American Honorable Mention and All-New England for soccer. He is also a World War II veteran serving in The American Field Service under the British Army as an ambulance driver. He is a past National Chairman of the Harvard Law School Fund and a past President of the Harvard Law School Association of New York City. He was active in committee work at the Association of the Bar of New York City and is a past Vice President of the Association.

To attend the event, RSVP to dianawhitney@familyreentry.org. In recognition of Potter’s contribution to the community, donations can be made in his name to the youth and children’s programs of Family Reentry by logging onto familyreentry.org


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Press Release: New Radio Show Explores Criminal Justice from the Inside — and Out: Babz Rawls Ivy & Jeff Grant Launch "Criminal Justice Insider"on WNHH New Haven



Press Release: New Radio Show Explores Criminal Justice from the Inside — and Out 

 Babz Rawls Ivy & Jeff Grant Launch "Criminal Justice Insider"on WNHH New Haven

New Radio Show: Criminal Justice Insider 

Bridgeport, Connecticut   October 19, 2017   Business News
(PRLEAP.COM) The airwaves are open to discuss Criminal Justice - from the Inside. A new show, Criminal Justice Insider, co-hosted by WNHH-FM's Babz Rawls-Ivy and Family ReEntry's Executive Director, Jeff Grant, takes a unique perspective on all issues of the justice system, including the effects of incarceration and the challenges faced by ex-offenders.

A major intrigue of the program can be found in the

personal background stories of the show's co-hosts. Rawls-Ivy and Grant have both served prison sentences. As ex-offenders, they are well aware of the challenges, inside and outside, of the legal system and the prison system. They are also both examples of success and hope for others.

The show, which debuted last Friday, welcomed a much larger than expected audience, and WNHH immediately doubled its originally scheduled programming. Criminal Justice Insider is now slated for a full hour at 9:00AM on the first and third Fridays of each month.

Rawls-Ivy, who is also the host of WNHH's daily "LoveBabz LoveTalk," and editor of the Inner City News, proclaimed, "Jeff and I have talked about doing something like this for a while. When we pitched the topic to the station, we presented so many aspects that affect so many people, not just in Connecticut but all over the country, the content designed itself."

As the executive director of Family ReEntry, a social service organization in Bridgeport that works with individuals and their families who have been directly impacted by incarceration, Grant is a perfect complement to the show. "This show is important because we go deep into the personal challenges and successes that individuals, families and whole communities experience. There are not many places that welcome and encourage the authentic, vulnerable side of the criminal justice experience."

The next broadcast of Criminal Justice Insider will be on Friday, November 3rd with special guest, Connecticut State Representative from New Haven, Robyn Porter. Upcoming live shows will feature lively discussions from a series of different guests, such as Connecticut Department of Correction Commissioner Scott Semple, Katal Center Co-Executive Director Lorenzo Jones, Carlah Esdaile-Bragg of Cornell Hill Scott Health and Marcus Bullock of Flikshop, along with many others.

Working in affiliation with local news source, The New Haven Independent, a recap of each Criminal Justice Insider show and a preview of upcoming shows will be published. For anyone who hasn't already heard the program, the debut broadcast is now available in its entirety on SoundCloud and to keep up with the topics of discussion, a Facebook page has also been set up at Criminal Justice Insider.

More about Family ReEntry: Family ReEntry is a 501c3 nonprofit, which was founded in 1984 as a reentry support group for men at the Isaiah House in Bridgeport. It has since grown to include policy advocacy, and intervention, prevention, in-prison, reentry, fatherhood and youth & family programs. Over the past 33 years, effective advocacy efforts and community-based programs developed by Family ReEntry have significantly reduced the likelihood that clients will re-offend, be re-arrested, or be re-incarcerated. Its programs provide a spectrum of services designed to disrupt the intergenerational cycle of incarceration. Family ReEntry addresses the specific needs of each client and their families through individualized case management and support services. It works to create a positive social network for each client, helping make their transition from prison back into the community a successful, self-sufficient one, while strengthening their families and the community. Family ReEntry operates its programs in strategic locations that encompass eight municipal regions and judicial geographic areas, two parole districts and five prisons. Approximately, sixty-percent of those served by Family ReEntry are from greater Bridgeport – Connecticut's largest city. The organization has offices in Bridgeport, Norwalk and New Haven, CT. Programs are also held in Stamford, Waterbury, Derby, New London and Norwich, CT. More information is available at www.familyreentry.org and on its social media including, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube.


Contact Information
Greg Walsh
Family ReEntry
203-292-6280
Contact Us

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Connecticut Budget Stalemate Makes State’s Bad Inequities Worse By Jim Schaffer, for Nonprofit Quarterly


Connecticut Budget Stalemate Makes

 State’s Bad Inequities Worse




Family ReEntry Featured in Nonprofit 

Quarterly, Oct. 15, 2017

_____________

Although not in the national news as much as some states, Connecticut faces many challenges. These include the fact that the state has the nation’s largest income gap and the nation’s largest achievement gap. Yet another complication is a 2016 state Supreme Court ruling that found the state’s education funding system to be unconstitutional.

Most states run on a July–June fiscal year. Passing budgets late is not unusual. For example, as of this past July 2nd, 11 states had not passed budgets. But today, Connecticut is the only state that has not enacted a budget. As such, it operates under the authority of a gubernatorial executive order, updated on August 18th to restore $40 million to services and programs provided by nonprofit organizations.

The state missed a key deadline on October 1st, when the executive order zeroed out education funding for 85 school districts and significantly reduced aid to 54 districts. With no county governments, Connecticut’s structure forces its 169 self-governing cities and towns to compete for state aid to supplement property taxes. The continuing standoff has widespread implications as the state’s financial crisis worsens. For example, an approved state budget includes the funding Hartford needs to avoid bankruptcy in the coming weeks. As just reported by the Connecticut Mirror, the “budget fight threatens credit for a third of [Connecticut] municipalities.”

Susan Haigh’s reporting for the Associated Press provided an update on the state budget process as of Sunday, October 15th.
For the past week, Democratic and Republican legislative leaders have been holed up in the state Capitol, without Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, combing line-by-line through budget documents. They said they have been discussing ways to not only cover a projected $3.5 billion deficit in a roughly $40 billion two-year budget, but to make lasting fiscal changes in hopes of stopping what’s become a cycle of budget crises in one of the nation’s wealthiest states.
On Monday, October 16th, Malloy offered his fourth budget proposal for the new biennium asking the state’s General Assembly to reduce tax increases by accepting even deeper cuts to town aid, education and social services. Malloy presented his first budget on February 8th, followed by revised two-year plans on May 15th and September 8th. Malloy continues to insist that the state meet its pension obligations, according to Haigh’s reporting.
The governor, who expressed frustration Thursday over the slowness of the process, has warned that he’s willing to veto another budget, even a bipartisan one, if he believes it includes “gimmicks” to cover the red ink, such as reducing payments to state employee pension funds.
NPQ reported several days after the Connecticut fiscal year began on July 1st on what nonprofits might expect with no state budget. Haigh provides an update on how the governor’s executive order reduced funding for “social service programs, such as day services to people with developmental disabilities and initiatives serving people leaving prison.”

The Connecticut Mirror offers perhaps the best daily update on the budget process and the consequences of the impasse. Malloy’s signature prison reform “Second Chance Society” legislation is a national model for reducing penalties for drug possession and helping people charged with nonviolent crimes to apply for parole. Despite this exemplary commitment, the state’s Department of Correction lost 4.5 percent in this fiscal year’s first-quarter funding.
Jeff Grant, the executive director of Family ReEntry, which helps inmates leaving prison and their families, said his agency escaped specific cuts this month but said its non-residential behavioral health programs were cut last year and services to former inmates are diminishing across the state.
He said he has seen hundreds of former inmates, including himself, who were helped by mental health and addiction counselors as well as housing and employment placements provided by state-funded non-profits.
“When I came out, I went to court-ordered drug and alcohol counseling, which I did do in state here. Thank god it was available for me,” Grant said.
“With the opioid epidemic that’s going on now and the cutbacks of a lot of these services, there are a lot of sick and suffering people out there. I had an opioid addiction. I’m clean and sober 15 years this week actually, but I don’t know what would have happened without the programs.”
As the state moves into its fourth month without a budget, the Connecticut Nonprofit Alliance provides tools and on its website homepage to help people urge the state’s 187 legislators to pass a budget soon that protects nonprofit programs and services.—Jim Schaffer

Reprinted from Nonprofit Quarterly, Oct. 17, 2017



About

Jim Schaffer
The founders of Covenant House, AmeriCares, TechnoServe and the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp were my mentors who entrusted me with much. What I can offer the readers of NPQ is carried out in gratitude to them and to the many causes I’ve had the privilege to serve through the years.