"VOICE — Voices Organized in Civic Engagement — reports that the poorest Oklahomans inevitably fall behind on their payments and are victim to an endless cycle of bench warrants, arrests, driver’s license suspensions and incarceration, thus exacerbating the state’s incarceration problem.
Many offenders can only afford a public offender[sic], cannot afford bail and are only given the evidence against them 10 days before trial. Thus, 95% of charges are pleaded out regardless of a person’s guilt, according to VOICE...Read more
Responding to concerns raised by VOICE, the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office announced the establishment of a Citizens Advisory Board. The need for the board rose to the leaders’ attention in 2016 through small group conversations hosted by institutions, in which leaders heard alarming stories about prison conditions and lack of transparency in the filing of complaints. At a 2017 accountability session, the Sheriff publicly committed to establishing the committee, if elected.
The Citizens Advisory Board will be formed by a diverse group of citizens interested in participating in the conversation with the Sheriff’s office and will serve as a sounding board to the Sheriff in all aspects of the agency. According to Sundra Flansburg, a leader with VOICE, the “CAB will be a great way for citizens to learn more about the jail and provide input on potential solutions for issues.”
At the same time, it offers citizens an opportunity to engage in the democratic process beyond the vote.
Oklahoma County Sheriff Forming Citizens Advisory Board, The Oklahoman
Building upon a three-year conversation campaign, Albuquerque Interfaith burst back onto the political scene with a clear cut strategy for the 2019 biennial New Mexico Legislative Session.
Through house meetings, civic academies, research actions and nonpartisan accountability assemblies, Albuquerque Interfaith leaders developed a legislative agenda to address four areas of concern: 1) Neighborhood Preservation, Community Safety and the Criminal Justice System; 2) Strengthening Schools and Public Education for All; 3) Immigrant Justice, Worker Protection and Workforce Development; and 4) Rebuilding our Behavioral Health System and Health Security for All.
Acting in teams, Albuquerque Interfaith leaders plan to track relevant legislation, gather political intelligence, testify, and advocate for their legislative agenda through collaboration with key legislators supporting bills that intersect with the ABQ Interfaith agenda. Sunday handoffs between institutional teams are already happening to ensure no political intelligence is lost.
Through public action in the Legislative Session, Albuquerque Interfaith leaders hope to restore the foundation of public investments in children and fulfill their vision of creating an “inclusive, multicultural community where children thrive and there is justice and well-being for all.”
VOICE is siding with the FCC in the implementation of a rule passed last year reducing phone call charges to inmates by 40%. Fighting the new rule is the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, the Oklahoma County Sheriff and the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Association.Read more
Agenda 2016: Community Leaders' Top Priorities for 2016, San Antonio Express News
Dr. Dipesh Navsaria explained that when young children are routinely stressed, such as in cases of abuse, "their systems bombard them with 'flight or flight' hormones", the overproduction of which can stunt their ability to control their emotions or even learn.Read more
"In the disagreement between Polk County officials and the citizen group AMOS, logic seems to favor AMOS. Especially in the long run.Read more