Saturday, October 26, 2013

Message From Charlie Sullivan of CURE: Congress’s Heartless Denial of Food Stamps / SNAP Benefits Not Just Against Former Offenders Who Have Paid Their Debt to Society But Their Children

Blog Followers, 

Back in 2009 I met Charlie Sullivan (founder of Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants CURE) in Washington D.C. during an Adam Walsh Act Compliance hearing of the House Judiciary Committee. I met his wife Pauline at a D.C. hearing two years later. There have been a few VA CURE and National CURE meetings and 1 or 2 other D.C hearings where we've talked about my platform and the barriers that we all encounter.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this group or Charlie and Pauline Sullivan, there is National CURE , there is International CURE, there is Federal CURE, there are state chapters of CURE including Virginia CURE and there is Sex Abuse Treatment Alliance (SATA) / CURE Sex Offenders Restored through Treatment (SORT).Plus a CURE for Veterans, a CURE for Women and a Civil Commitment of SVP’s CURE quarterly newsletter. I probably missed a few other initiatives but you can sign up for more CURE information via the links I included above.

Charlie and Pauline Sullivan are amazing people; they are the best example of successful grass-roots advocacy that I know of. 

Today Charlie sent out the below email to the National CURE followers. 

I asked Charlie if it was alright for me to post his message and he was more than happy to have me share it beyond the CURE followers. 

As you all know from my numerous posts over the last 3 months there are more than a few versions of Farm /Food Stamp –SNAP Bills being amended, discussed and voted on in Washington D.C. 

Here are my past posts on the Food Stamps bills 

-          October 23, 2013:     
-          October 12, 2013:     
-          September 29, 2013:
-          September 20, 2013:
-          July 3, 2013:                

Below Charlie has shared a response from one member of Congress with a constituent who wrote them in opposition of the Food Stamp proposals and then Charlie shares some insight into what the Food Stamp exclusion really does. 

I hope those of you who don’t currently support Virginia CURE, National CURE or the Civil Commitment newsletter will consider doing so in the near future. 

Thank you for following my blog. 

Mary Devoy

A child is not to suffer for the actions of the parent
October 26, 2013 

Dear Friends, presently, we are fighting three major issues. The first is that the phone companies are trying to slow down the implementation of the historic ruling by the Federal Communications Commission that the costs of phone calls by people incarcerated should be substantially reduced. 

The second is that women prisoners in the federal system should not be transferred hundreds of miles (maybe thousands) from their present prison in Danbury, CT. This would also close the only female prison in the Northeast corridor. 

And the third issue is that Congress should not take away food stamps from people formerly incarcerated.  

The other day I received a copy of an email from a CURE member who had written a member of Congress about the food stamp issue. The response from the member was basically that it was too bad the children of the prisoner would lose food stamps, but he would vote to do this. And yet, this same member of Congress is supporting our efforts to keep the Danbury Prison open to women because they can now receive visits from their children. 

Then, it hit me. All three of these issues have the same primary reason--THE CHILDREN! Whether it is continuing to bond with their parents through visits or through low-cost phone calls or not going hungry when a parent is released--it is the children who benefit the most from our efforts. They are truly the forgotten victims of crime. 
However, more and more a bipartisan list of members of Congress are making the arguments that children should not suffer the consequences of actions by their parents. 

In fact, in the Judaeo-Christian Old Testament, Ezekiel 18:20 states that "a son is not to suffer for the sins of his father". For the most part, this is the position of the world religions and certainly the world's legal community. 

Thus, there are more children that will be affected by these three issues than their parents. When you make your case for these reforms in the coming weeks, talk about the increase in prisoner recidivism that losing on these issues will bring. 

But, make it clear that millions of children will go to bed hungry if food stamps are cut off from their formerly errant parents. 

Also, millions of children are losing bonding with an incarcerated parent through exorbitant phone calls and this will continue if the recent reform is blocked. 

And finally, there is no way that a grandmother on a fixed income in say New York City is going to have the wherewithall to bring her grandchild to visit her mother when that mother is transferred from Danbury to a very remote prison in Alabama. 

Charlie Sullivan