Steve Finley

Steve Finley

Wednesday, 28 December 2011 17:03

Art display reveals the human side of prisoners

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Diana Rodriguez stands in front of artwork made a prisoner named Raymond Towler in The Federal Public Defender's office.

Diana Rodriguez stands in front of artwork made a prisoner named Raymond Towler in The Federal Public Defender's office. THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT

For much of his adult life, Raymond Towler was known by a number.

Released last year from Lorain Correctional Institution after a DNA test exonerated him of a rape for which he spent nearly 29 years behind bars, Mr. Towler said many of those days he spent trying to feel human.

Painting helped him accomplish that.

Several of the oil paintings the Cleveland native created while enduring his life behind bars are now on display in the federal public defender's office in downtown Toledo. His are among several pieces by inmates in Ohio's prison system that are on display in the Adams Street office.

"I was forced to use my talents to get by, to survive," Mr. Towler said during a recent open house. "I think an exhibit like this is important to humanize these guys who are otherwise just another number."

Drawings and paintings created in a variety of mediums line the walls in the office. Next to each piece is the artist's name and the name of the work. The reason the artist is in prison is not listed.

By William Anderson/Argus Observer

Tuesday, December 20, 2011 11:29 AM PST

One program in the area is helping make that transition easier by providing a helping hand.

December 19, 2011 9:40 AM

Photo composition showing a judge's gavel with a jail cellblock as backdrop.

America's youth are in trouble - literally.

Parents and non-parents alike might be shocked to learn a new study estimates that roughly 1 in 3 U.S. youths will be arrested for a non-traffic offense by age 23 - a "substantively higher" proportion than predicted in the 1960s.

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — New death sentences in the United States have declined 75 percent from their peak since executions resumed in the 1970s, an anti-capital punishment group reports.

The Death Penalty Information Center said 78 people convicted of murder were sentenced to die so far in 2011, the first time in 35 years there have been fewer than 100 new death sentences.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011 16:33

Courts won’t give up on fines

Judges determined to collect old fees despite a plan to clear ledgers.

COLUMBUSOhio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor says judges and clerks of court will continue to aggressively try to collect unpaid court fines and costs, even if the legislature passes a new bill.House Bill 247 passed the Ohio House by a vote of 92-0 last week, it would allow judges to declare old debts uncollectible and allow them to take them off their ledgers. The bill was introduced in the Senate on Thursday.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011 16:32

Dogs enter local prison, emerge as good citizens

BY TANYA IRWIN-BLADE STAFF WRITER

Two Toledo Correctional inmates shown training a dog
Toledo Correctional Institution inmates Frankie Robinson, left, and Jason Schmidt work with Moose, a boxer, at a canine training session of Prisoners Helping Dogs

OHIO - When you meet Pudgie, a resident of the Lucas County Dog Warden's pound who is looking for a home, it quickly becomes obvious there's something different about him.

While many of the other dogs bark and jump excitedly when spoken to, he's calm. It's as if he's waiting to hear what you have to say. He wants to know if you want him to sit, stay, come, heel, or perhaps "Give me five."

By Matt Lakin

Cocke county jail inmate Terry Lynn Fine standing by his bunk in his cell.
Terry Lynn Fine estimates he spent most of his life dealing drugs or stealing in order to buy drugs, mainly pain pills, before his latest arrival inside this cell in the Cocke County jail. Fine. 47, is serving a 12-year sentence. That sentence currently costs taxpayers about $35 per day
NEWPORT,TENNESSEE — Terry Lynn Fine eats, sleeps and passes every minute of the day at public expense.

He's lived most of his 47 years on other people's money — whether stealing, selling pain pills or doing time in his second home at the Cocke County jail.

 

 

 

Easing transition, fighting recidivism are main goals

10:47 PM, Dec. 15, 2011

Empty Kentucky prison cell block with a guard standing at the end
More cells at the Jefferson County Correction Center will be empty when a mandatory re-entry program takes effect Jan. 3.
Kentucky is poised to release nearly 1,000 inmates about six months early as part of a mandatory new program aimed at easing their transition back into the community, reducing recidivism and helping trim its corrections budget by about $40 million next year.
Wednesday, 21 December 2011 16:33

Alternatives for nonviolent offenders

North-Hampton-County-Prison outside view

The exterior of Northampton County Prison, shown in May, 2011. (Kevin Mingora/Morning Call file photo)

11:45 a.m. EST, December 19, 2011

Pennsylvania - Gov. Corbett stated in his budget address in February, "We need to be tough on crime, but we need to consider the fiscal complications of our prison system." After that, state Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and author of the tough-on-crime bills of the 1980s, was quoted as saying, "But we also got in our nets many little fish, meaning nonviolent offenders."

Since the 1980s, our seven state prisons built to house 8,000 inmates have increased to 27 prisons for 51,000 inmates. Incredibly, last year Pennsylvania exported 2,180 inmates with good conduct records to Virginia and Michigan at a cost of about $42 million per year. These two states along with 27 others have decreased their prison populations with no adverse effect on public safety.

Bay City News Service

Updated: 12/13/2011 08:31:50 AM PST

California - San Quentin State Prison officials presented a $38,232 check Monday to seven Bay Area agencies that provide services to crime victims.

The money represents 20 percent of the wages earned by 30 prison inmates who assemble medical devices, San Quentin State Prison spokesman Sgt. Gabe Walters said.

Each of the seven agencies will receive $5,400.