New Connections - https://nctacoma.org/
- Theresa Power-Drutis, New Connections - firstname.lastname@example.org – 253-534-5402
- Rosemary Powers, New Connections - email@example.com
- We are a tiny organization that many of you know something about
- Why do we do what we do? There was a huge rise in the prison population starting in the 1980s. Why the rise - In 1980 the war on drugs began, and that significantly increased incarceration rates (interestingly, it all started with Nixon advocating a “war on drugs” in the 70’s for the "prevention of new addicts, and the rehabilitation of those who are addicted". Noble as those motives sound, as Theresa said, that didn’t go so well. It think it was put particularly well put by George Shultz – present in Nixon’s cabinet but never really an advocate of the war on drugs, and Pedro Aspe, writing together in a recent-ish New York Times op-ed, where they start off saying “The war on drugs in the United States has been a failure that has ruined lives, filled prisons and cost a fortune.” - full article at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/31/opinion/failed-war-on-drugs.html . No mincing words there. –ed. )
- Often folks were incarcerated for drug reasons, but drug possession is a lesser charge and is dropped and other violence charges remain – giving the impression of fewer incarcerations for drug reasons than there actually are.
- Incarceration duration increased as well. Some laws don’t allow life sentences, but that is gotten around by folks who receive multiple sentences that add up to hundreds of years (a life sentence, unless you have enough of Methuselah’s DNA, which will let you live to nearly 1,000 years old. –ed.)
- Our house is in Hilltop – Erma’s place – 6 bedrooms. It is a supportive program. The building is green and orange - very easy to find.
- One bedroom for the house manager, the other 5 for women exiting incarceration.
- We often hold a place for someone about to exit incarceration and use the held room for a short stay for someone else until the discharge from jail.
- You can contact us if you have a need – we may have a space for someone even for just a week. We do focus on folks exiting incarceration. We’d rather have someone in the room over no one.
- Annie’s Cottage – for formerly incarcerated women with children – 2 bedroom, next to Irma Gary house, has supportive programs as well. We have different things to do with the family. Stays are limited to 90 days. We do adjust to the needs of the clients – younger children have different needs than older children.
- How to get folks in –
- We do Pierce County Jail in-reach. We go into the jail and help folks with release planning – to find out folks’ specific needs.
- We do research and issue briefs as well. Let us know if you have a topic you’d like us to work on.
- Rosemary Powers, Senior Researcher
- Theresa mentioned the issues we need to work on.
- As John Muir said, everything is interconnected (“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe”. –John Muir, -ed.). Exiting incarceration is like that. People who come from places with histories and possible futures, we often identify issues we need to learn more about.
- So we write briefs.
- A brief about Money Bail.
- In the US, over 450,000 people are detained in jail but haven’t been convicted of a crime. A good chunk of those folks could be dangerous. However, some 300,000 were granted bail, but couldn’t pay for it.
- We need to maximize public safety, ensure they return for trial, and ensure our constitutional right to be considered innocent until proven guilty.
- Citizens can help, and this document gets you some ways to have an impact. It would be great if Washington could end money bail like California (https://www.npr.org/2018/08/28/642795284/california-becomes-first-state-to-end-cash-bail -ed.). We need to be mindful of the solution so that is isn’t discriminatory.
- A brief about Critical Documents
- Working on a brief about the 5am release time.
- James – we are working on suboxone clients who need to get to Lakewood to get their next dose. There is a very high enrollment rate in prison, but when they exit they do not continue services
- Theresa – those efforts from James and Rosemary are making headway.
- Anyone who is interested in research issues, or something you’d like researched, just let me know.
- Also have briefs about critical documents.
- (I looked for the briefs on the New Connections website and couldn’t find them – perhaps a personal failure. So I tried googling for “New Connections Briefs”, and the results was not really safe for work viewing – I tried to find them. –ed)
- We also spend time at City and County Council meetings to do policy advocacy. We are happy to go to City or County council meetings with you or with interns if it is their first time.
- We have 2 paid positions – one ¼ time employee and one ½ time employee. We are a tiny organization. We have lots of volunteers. We have had such great luck with interns as well. It is a great way to bring up a new generation of people who have a heart for this.
- We have a community garden, a jewelry collective.
- Our Community – the G street urban village. Made up of Tacoma Catholic Workers, Catholic community Services, St. Leo’s Church, eldershire (our home) in the close neighborhood. A little broader are lots of other services.
- National Night Out on G street is an annual event
- Marybeth – is the focus on the Pierce County Jail – Theresa – yes, although we go to the Purdy’s prison as well. There are few resources available in the jail – people are literally walking around in circles on the floor. It is a bit of a deal to get to go in the jail, but If you think you can offer something, even once, it is worth it. I’m happy to help you get in (but will she help you get out? Sorry, but you just can’t feed me a straight line like that. –ed).
- Al – I had no idea of what you guys do – I am very impressed. Theresa – we are shaking a little piece of the earth (a tattoo suggestion for Theresa - a small globe with the phrase “we are shaking a little piece of the earth” circling it – I’ll cover the cost. I’m probably crossing another line here, but in for a penny, in for a pound… –ed.)