Save New York State Prison Art! 4/19/02

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On March 29, New York State Corrections Commissioner Glen Goord ended 35 years of artistic expression in the New York State prison system by banning the sale of art by prisoners.  Goord also eliminated the annual Correction on Canvas Art Exhibit that was created by the State Senate and the Department of Corrections in 1968.  Prisoners in New York State were allowed to exhibit their art once a year in the legislative office building in Albany.  The art was sold, and fifty percent of the profits were donated to the Crime Victims Board.

In last year's show, however, a painting created by a serial killer was displayed, the press found out about it, and the political process went into overkill trying to look tough on crime.  The public reasoning behind Goord's decision was that he felt it was not worth the anguish that crime victims feel to allowing imprisoned artists to sell their art.

But for many men and women artists in prison, art is a life sustaining source.  For most of them, earning money selling their art enables them to buy food and toiletries and help support their families in the outside world.  More importantly, creating and selling art instills a sense of self-esteem which is a very important element in reentering society.  The corrections annual art show hence served the dual purpose of helping the rehabilitative process and providing an avenue for offenders to show remorse for their crimes by supporting the crime victims program.

On May 8, noon-2:00pm, a demonstration will take place across the street from Gov. Pataki's office, 40th & 3rd Ave. in Manhattan, protesting the closure of the prisoner art sales program and New York State's draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws.  For further information, contact Anthony Papa at (212) 596-9445 or [email protected].

You can download a petition to help with this effort from http://www.fortunesociety.org/petition.htm.

The New York Times ran an editorial on April 8 calling for the resumption of the prison art program, available online at http://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/08/opinion/_08MON2.html?ex=1019284799&ei=1&.

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Issue #233, 4/19/02 Federal Meth Bill Provision Would Send Promoters to Prison for Drug Use at Events | Budget Woes Imperil Virginia Substance Abuse Funding, Governor Asks Legislature to Undo Drug Court Cuts | DRCNet Interview: Jeremy Bigwood on Colombia's Borders | Drug War! Race & Party, NYC Saturday Night | Save New York State Prison Art! | Northeast Summit for New Drug Policies | Alerts: HEA, Bolivia, DEA Hemp Ban, SuperBowl Ad, Ecstasy Legislation, Mandatory Minimums, Medical Marijuana | The Reformer's Calendar

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