City of New Haven
Jan. 15, 2008
In attendance: Pamela R. Lopes, Mildred Godfrey, Fred Puiia, George Rose, Sr., Toni N. Harp, Moti Sandman, Rob Smuts, Nadine Herring, Mark Strange, Lena Ferguson, Bob Correa, Elder Edward Eyabough(sp?), Sr., Robin O. Hobson, B.R. Hammed-Owens, Elaine Braffman, Rena Way-Owens, Melinda Tuhus, Francine Caplan, Nikkina Ossei, Dianne Grant, Nan Bartow, Capt. Bryan D. Kearney, Liz McCormack, Lt. Kevin Costin, Sgt. Stephen P. Shea, Judi Janette, Nathan Janette, Tom Lehtoner, Bob Caplan, Chris Peterson, Sheila Shanklin, Hardy Davis, Stephen Kobasa, Michael E. Shanklin, Kara Capone, Colleen B. Ormsby, Barbara Fair, Stephanie FitzGerald, Sally Joughin, John Vuoso, Peaches Quinn,Carl Goldfield, Bruce Henderson, Asst. Chief Herman Badger, Patricia Dillon, Rabbi Dov Greer, Geraldine White.
Chair Caplan called the meeting to order at 7:04 and read the team’s Statement of Purpose. He introduced Lt. Kevin Costin, our new community policing District Manager and invited guest Senator Toni Harp. Participants introduced themselves.
B. Caplan invited Hobson to recap the WEB team’s concerns regarding released prisoners. Prisoners are released on Whalley Ave. in front of the jail early in the morning with lack of transportation and lack of clothing (for winter weather). Our goal is for better release planning. Why are so many prisoners released in New Haven?
Senator Harp invited Dept. of Corrections staff to the meeting. Dept. of Corrections reps (Strange, Correa and Ferguson): New Haven is one of the major sending towns into the correction system so they are a major receiving town. There are two kinds of prisoners released: end-of –sentence complete release, and discharge on bond. Corrections rep. explained a 45 day plan before prison release that includes counseling about money, medications, transportation, clothes, and jobs. In Nov. ’07, 100 prisoners were released in New Haven – 79 males at Corrections on Whalley Ave. and 21 females at Union Station; in Dec. 77 males were released on Whalley Ave. and 15 females at Union Station. If their ride is a no-show, Corrections gives them a ride. Many released prisoners go to the homeless shelters. The majority of parolees have people pick them up. Released prisoners are given a two week supply of meds. If the released prisoner has less that $50, he is given $50. If inmate earned more, s/he gets all the dollars earned. Most prisoners are released in New haven, Bridgeport, and Hartford. The biggest problem is released prisoners without rides.
Shea: It is an issue for residents and business owners to have prisoners released on Whalley Ave.
Costin: How about contracting with a cab company?
F. Caplan: It is not good for residents to have prisoners released into the Beaver Hills neighborhood.
Harp: What about contracting with Project M.OR.E.?
Capone: New Haven Home Recovery, Continuum of Care and Columbus House work with lots of released prisoners.
Capone(?): There are often psychiatric issues. Although prisoners receive 2 weeks worth of meds, it takes 6 weeks to be processed at CMHC to get medical help.
Harp: Gov. Rell is unveiling her plan for prison release soon. Hopefully it will include a plan that released prisoners will be eligible for expedited SAGA (state administered General Assistance)
Braffman: There should be an alternative to dropping off prisoners into a residential neighborhood.
What about dropping off all the prisoners at Union Station
Fair: That too is a residential neighborhood.
Harp will report back to this group. The group invited her to come to our next meeting.
Hobson: Jail has a quarterly Resource Day when prisoners can find out about resources that are available to them upon their release.
Vuoso: As a Whalley Ave. business owner, I wrote to the Warden in April 2005 complaining about the release of prisoners and never received a reply..
Quinn: Treasurer’s Report - $1350.47
Shea: Introduced Lt. Kevin Costin. Chief Ortiz absent because of sick daughter. Asst. Chief Badger was present for the start of the meeting.
District Crime statistics
Jan. (so far)
5 reports of gun fire
2 shootings (assaults with firearms not fatal
6 reports of gun fire
Shea celebrated last year’s (07) district crime stats compared to compared to the year before(06). He attributes the positive change to citizen involvement and solid police work.
District Statistics 06 – 07
Robbery, aggravated assault and burglary all down by more than 20%
Auto theft slightly down.
Firearm discharge up by almost 50%
Murder down 100% (from 8 homicides to 0)
Braffman: LCI Report included 510 Winthrop Ave. Police have been called. There are housing code violations. The owner is being served papers.
No WASSD and Reading Club reports.
No Whalley Ave. Revitalization Committee report.
Bartow: Beaver Pond Park – Yale Forestry School has applied for a USDA grant to make a study of the West River watershed. A study group is now forming.
Firing Range. The city is pursuing federal funding to look for alternate sites or to rebuild at present site with indoor (=quiet) range. If you are interested in this issue, contact Rep. Rosa DeLauro.
Community Policing – New promotion (5 captain, 16 lieutenants), new entry level list. New class of 45 begins in the spring. The police dept. is now at 420. The goal is to reach 494, the full amount allowed. National search for police chief. Looking for someone who is friendly to community policing, has management ability, vision, and energy. Finalists in March.
Outreach workers began in Aug. They have been working at “full steam” since Sept. The challenge is to quantify their work to be able to sustain their funding. They are working on Whalley Ave. They each have a caseload of young people.
Group: Let’s invite Barbara Tinney and Tyron to our meeting
Crime Shootings down in city – from 23 in August to 4 in Oct.
Sandman: It is imperative that the Dept of Corrections not dump prisoners in residential neighborhoods.
Smuts: There needs to be a release plan that begins 6 – 9 months before release not just 45 days. The plan needs to include networking with local service providers. During a recession agencies tend to take care of their own, not see the broad picture.
Hobson: Citizen Review Board will work with the Malik organization.
Chris Peterson: Whalley Terrace will be ready for occupancy Jan. 17. Offices and residents will be moving in. HOME Inc. is looking for first floor business tenants.
Minutes submitted by Stephanie FitzGerald