A weird title, but I combined three different messages, so I thought it was a bit catchy. You’ll see what I mean as you read on. A lot of you have asked about why I stopped writing twice a week. The main reason was because of not having email access for a while. Since I got it back, I’ve been slacking. So beginning next week, I will be returning to two posts per week. One on Tuesday and one on Friday. Also, I want to thank Freebird Publishers for posting our blog in their 2019-2020 edition of the “Inmate Shopper”. If you appreciate everything we do, please add the email Diane@FreebirdPublishers.com to your Corrlinks account and send her a review for Back So Soon! Granted, it won’t be until next July before it’s published, but let’s get as many good reviews to get us to a 10 rating! Without all of your help, none of this would have been possible.
Also, I have received emails and letters from a few of you. I wanted to let you know I do appreciate everything you send, but be advised, I am still incarcerated and don’t want to risk getting in trouble for unauthorized correspondence (and I don’t want you to either). With that being said, I cannot respond to anything you send me. There is one gentleman who has sent me a sample motion that I appreciate and have filed in my paperwork to look into adding upon my release. So thank you for sending me that and for bringing up some very good questions in your previous letter.
Also, an update on a few other things. On Friday, the B.O.P. announced a new risk and needs assessment system known as “PATTERN”. While the details aren’t fully available yet, as soon as they are released, we will share them with you. In addition, “supposedly” everyone’s additional good time has been credited. While I had my family check the B.O.P. website, it still had not changed, but some attorneys have told us that the site may take a bit longer to update. Either way, they told me to be patient and if I haven’t seen any changes in a week or two, to begin the administrative remedy process. You can also check with a member of your unit team to see if their end has been updated as well, which I plan to do this week.
With that being said, this week’s post is a summary from the SMART Office Symposium that was sent to us from our friends at W.A.R. (Women Against Registry). It is being reposted in its entirety with no changes. You can have your family contact them online at www.womenagainstregistry.org.
Prior to attending the SMART Office Symposium in Chicago on July 17-18th we began engaging other advocacy organizations as we wanted this to be a unified effort and a unified display. That developed in to email discussions with various advocacy organizations talking about numerous topics leading up to the symposium.
Four WAR Directors plus a member, along with members of ACSOL, Once Fallen, SOSEN, LRIDD, FAC, Nebraskans Unafraid, Indiana Voices and others attended. Most of our coalition wore scarlet colored shirts [Editor’s Note: Referencing the book titled “The Scarlet Letter”. You should read it.] that read “All In” over the front pocket area and “The Registry Does Not Protect Children” across the back.
For those unaware, SMART is an acronym for Sex Offender Management, Administration, Registration, and Tracking. They are a Federal organization that was created by the passage of the Adam Walsh Act to administer SORNA. As such, they are very interested in promoting their successes and turning a blind eye to their shortcomings or outright failures. We knew this before we arrived at the symposium. We witnessed it in the very first presentation, and in most of the presentations that followed. We tried to engage the speakers and the other attendees, some of whom were open to our viewpoints and some of whom were not. The two-day symposium was not a waste of time as some thought it might be.
A few of the presentations highlighted some rather progressive ways of dealing with the requirements of the registry and SORNA. One involved input from the state attendees as to what they needed from the SMART staff and Congress to perform their jobs more effectively. And we even heard some references to the need for restorative justice and for the care and restoration of offenders.
The best part of attending this symposium was our ability to engage with Shelli Weisberg who spoke at our last e-Symposium and is the Legislative Director for the Michigan ACLU. As we already knew from her presentation to us, she is a very smart woman who is passionate about changing the laws of Michigan and ultimately, across the country.
Actions that will grow from our attendance include writing a letter from several unified organizations to the had of the SMART Office outlining our expectations and disappointments, but also offering our assistance and willingness to participate in a future Symposium. This letter will be cc’d to her boss, the Attorney General of the U.S., to Jared Kushner, the Adviser to the President, and perhaps to others.
As a collateral benefit of our discussions with Shelli, we will compose a letter to the Governor and Attorney General in the State of Michigan outlining that our organization, and many other organizations around the country are watching the progress of Does v. Snyder and that we strongly support the efforts of the ACLU in this case.
As members of our organization, we wanted you to be well-informed.
Directors – Women Against Registry