Project New Opportunity

Project New Opportunity 2ND CHANCE NEW START NEW LIFE Project New Opportunity (PNO) is a Washington DC based project of the Center for Community Alternatives, a New York nonprofit organization with the mission of assisting federal prisoners released in advance of the end of their original sentences as the result of judicially-approved sentence modifications.

These sentence modifications, often referred to as "Drugs Minus Two" were authorized by the United States Sentencing Commission for persons convicted of drug trafficking offenses. A large number of prisoners sentences were impacted by these changes. As of March 25, 2016, federal judges granted 26,850 or 70.2% of more than 38,242 motions filed for sentence modifications. Reductions in sentence length were significant, particularly from the perspective of the individual prisoner. Applying the revised guidelines, judges reduced sentences on average by 24 months, from just over 11 1/2 years to just over 9 1/2 years.

Mission: To assist federal prisoners released in advance of the end of their original sentences as the result of judicially-approved sentence modifications also known as "Drugs Minus Two".

Operating as usual

Prison Fellowship assembled a powerful group of formerly incarcerated people and faith leaders for a Prayer March in Ann...
04/09/2018

Prison Fellowship assembled a powerful group of formerly incarcerated people and faith leaders for a Prayer March in Annacostia, Washington D. C. Joined by other residents, civic and religious leaders, some of PNO's great friends spoke at points along the march: Lashonia Thompson-El of the W.I.R.E and Shon R. Hopworth, now a law professor at Georgetown. Malcolm Young met up with Stefan LoBuglio, a national expert on reentry and formerly director of the Montgomery County (MD) Work Release Center, a model Bureau of Prisons contract halfway house.

We're posting a 2 April 2018  NYT podcast on criminal justice and prison reform as it has changed, from the Obama era to...
04/02/2018
Listen to ‘The Daily’: The Prison Problem

We're posting a 2 April 2018 NYT podcast on criminal justice and prison reform as it has changed, from the Obama era to Trump-Sessions. As has been clear from the start, Sessions is bent on killing any suggestion of sentence reform, whether it comes from advocates or a bi-partisan coalition in Congress . It appears Kushner and the White House together lack the will to overrule Sessions. They are instead focusing on "prison reform," which optimistically, we can hope, includes reentry.

But Sessions holds the cards here, as does the BOP which never really fully cooperated with reforms suggested by the Obama administration. Hence, we don't expect much actual change.

But nobody ---- and certainly no independently funded foundation committed to justice reform ---- has to accept the end of justice reform in the federal system or limits on prison and reentry reforms. We don't, at Project New Opportunity, and we know how to work around a recalcitrant DOJ and BOP to get results. We know, too, that by proving people can succeed after being released from prison, we build the case for sentencing reform and even clemency when the tide changes, as it will. We hope that you are with us.

This long segment from the New York Times is worth a listen. It's an accurate summary of where things are in the world of criminal justice reform.
----Malcolm C. Young

President Trump’s son-in-law wants to overhaul the penal system, but the attorney general is bitterly opposed. That has set the scene for a highly personal battle inside the White House.

USA Today has published an article on the challenges of reentry and the failure of prisons to prepare people to return t...
01/02/2018
Reentry Project - Policing the USA | USA TODAY

USA Today has published an article on the challenges of reentry and the failure of prisons to prepare people to return to society upon completion of their sentence. Check out and share the links below to spread awareness of returning citizens and their struggle reintegrating back into society.

https://www.usatoday.com/topic/179b07dc-8a40-4081-881f-689e37ec232f/reentry-project/

https://www.usatoday.com/topic/179b07dc-8a40-4081-881f-689e37ec232f/reentry-project/

https://www.usatoday.com/videos/opinion/policing/reentry/video/2017/12/04/-one-inmate-re-entry-means-getting-beyond-past-demons/108180356/

Our small office, Project New Opportunity, held a fundraiser to help us help President Obama's clemency recipients make ...
12/15/2017
Project New Opportunity – Supporting women and men released by Presidential commutation and sentence modifications as they seek to successfully integrate back into society

Our small office, Project New Opportunity, held a fundraiser to help us help President Obama's clemency recipients make the transition back to freedom as they leave the federal Bureau of Prisons. Our Reentry Consultants are a fantastic crew, the majority are formerly incarcerated men and women with keen insight, patience and commitment. Interested? Curious about the tree planting image? Want to contribute? Visit our website: www.projectnewopportunity.org

Supporting women and men released by Presidential commutation and sentence modifications as they seek to successfully integrate back into society

9 November 2017Ed Chung, Center for American Progress and guest host for the Leslie Marshall Show (right) explores right...
11/16/2017

9 November 2017

Ed Chung, Center for American Progress and guest host for the Leslie Marshall Show (right) explores right to counsel in criminal cases with Kim Ball, Research Professor at American University, and, as described by Malcolm Young, the importance of council in the Obama-era Clemency 2014 initiative, where over 4,000 volunteer attorneys screened requests, prepared and submitted 2,600 petitions, and brought to freedom 894 of their clients. Click here, tinyurl.com/yaqp64ze, to listen to podcast. Director Young’s interview starts at 19:22.

In "How Prisoners on the Verge of Freedom Are Getting Screwed by the Feds", an article about BOP's recent halfway house ...
11/07/2017
How Prisoners on the Verge of Freedom Are Getting Screwed by the Feds

In "How Prisoners on the Verge of Freedom Are Getting Screwed by the Feds", an article about BOP's recent halfway house closures: "There's a total lack of transparency,” says Malcolm Young, a longtime prison reform advocate who founded the Sentencing Project in the ‘80s. He says it’s remained unclear whether inmates affected by the closures—which according to the BOP only vacated 1% of available beds nationwide—are being diverted elsewhere or are simply having their sentences extended.

Last week, Lamel Diggs, a 32-year-old inmate in a Mississippi prison, sent Splinter an email through CorrLinks, the private email system used by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

10/13/2017
Our Opinion – Project New Opportunity

ALERT: In the last several months PNO heard rumors about halfway houses closing or contracts not being renewed. If true, this would be a concern because, if halfway houses are closed and there are fewer halfway house beds, federal prisoners will be made to serve more time in prison. Then, after a delayed release, they won't have the benefit of transitional housing, meals and support services but will be released directly "to the street."

Now Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) has verified the rumors, and then some. Last week FAMM surveyed its 30,000 members and contacts within the BOP. The results, writes FAMM President Kevin Ring, were "disturbing.” Halfway houses in many parts of the country are closing, and as a result the release dates for people who were expecting to be transferred to halfway houses have been set back as much as six months.

Watch PNO and FAMM’s webpages for updates and developments.

Supporting women and men released by Presidential commutation and sentence modifications as they seek to successfully integrate back into society

Norman Brown (Project New Opportunity), Nkechi Tiafa and LaShonia Thompson El this morning at OSF's Justice Roundtable, ...
09/14/2017

Norman Brown (Project New Opportunity), Nkechi Tiafa and LaShonia Thompson El this morning at OSF's Justice Roundtable, speaking on reentry and mass incarceration.

Malcolm Young
09/08/2017

Malcolm Young

Coming Up: 10 am 14 September 2017

Open Society Foundation's Justice Roundtable Assembly will feature Deputy Project Director Norman Brown, an Obama-era commutation recipient, to discuss his work and journey and Lashonia Thompson-El, current Restorative Justice Facilitator with the DC Office of the Attorney General to discuss her new book, "Through the Wire My Search for Redemption."

Coming Up: 10 am 14 September 2017Open Society Foundation's Justice Roundtable Assembly will feature Deputy Project Dire...
09/08/2017

Coming Up: 10 am 14 September 2017

Open Society Foundation's Justice Roundtable Assembly will feature Deputy Project Director Norman Brown, an Obama-era commutation recipient, to discuss his work and journey and Lashonia Thompson-El, current Restorative Justice Facilitator with the DC Office of the Attorney General to discuss her new book, "Through the Wire My Search for Redemption."

Wonderful reception by The Rotary Club of Washington DC Capital! On 6 September 2017, Malcolm Young and Norman Brown spo...
09/08/2017

Wonderful reception by The Rotary Club of Washington DC Capital! On 6 September 2017, Malcolm Young and Norman Brown spoke before an interested, energetic, concerned group of civic leaders, to describe challenges and success in reentry, PNO, and mass incarceration. We were moved by the interest and response by people who care about who goes into our prisons and what happens to them as they come out. Touched by a thoughtful gesture: Rotary plants a tree in honor of its speakers through its "Tree for the Capital" project. We will attend the ceremony!

(Photos: Left- Norman Brown with Rev. Marcia L. Dyson, President of Women's Global Initiative; Norman & Malcolm; Certificates; Norman; Malcolm, Rotary Club President Abrahem Helal, Norman)

Wednesday 30 August 2017: PNO's Norman Brown, Reentry Consultant Stacey Moises & Malcolm Young with Emma Sargent, in Phi...
08/31/2017

Wednesday 30 August 2017: PNO's Norman Brown, Reentry Consultant Stacey Moises & Malcolm Young with Emma Sargent, in Philadelphia for a meeting with PNO partners and to observe a superb federal reentry court session, first stop off at Quaker City Coffee Company and meet co-owner Christian Dennis and crew. Great coffee in a shop run by and hiring people who were once incarcerated. An uplifting day!

"A new documentary from Frontline and The New York Times, released Tuesday, seeks to tell a very different and far more ...
08/08/2017
New documentary explores the false freedom of life on parole

"A new documentary from Frontline and The New York Times, released Tuesday, seeks to tell a very different and far more common story than the stories with tragic endings more often told on mainstream and political media. Life on Parole follows four formerly incarcerated people in Connecticut as they navigate the conditions of their release from prison.Recommended for your networks."

#PNO #reentry #frontline #newyorktimes

https://injusticetoday.com/new-documentary-explores-the-false-freedom-of-life-on-parole-51b74d7d5c33

There’s a story the mainstream media trumpets most loudly when it comes to parole, and it’s a frightening one: A violent criminal is…

Posted from the NY Times - "What Happens After PrisonBy KASSIE BRACKEN | Jul. 16, 2017 | 3:41"The Times, in collaboratio...
07/22/2017
What Happens After Prison

Posted from the NY Times - "What Happens After Prison
By KASSIE BRACKEN | Jul. 16, 2017 | 3:41

"The Times, in collaboration with the PBS series “Frontline,” followed 10 recently released inmates struggling to succeed on the outside." Here is a brief clip that introduces those 10 souls who were released and the challenges they face upon being released.

https://www.nytimes.com/video/us/100000005265290/what-happens-after-prison.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=timesvideo-heading&clickSource=story-heading&module=watch-in-times-video®ion=video-player-region&WT.nav=video-player-region

The Times, in collaboration with the PBS series “Frontline,” followed 10 recently released inmates struggling to succeed on the outside.

Topeka K. Sam is the founder of the Ladies of Hope Ministries and a founding member of the National Council for Incarcer...
07/14/2017
Are Probation and Parole Just Other Forms of Incarceration?

Topeka K. Sam is the founder of the Ladies of Hope Ministries and a founding member of the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls. She has received several fellowships and is the Justice in Education Scholar at Columbia University. Her recently-published op-ed challenges probation and parole supervision that is "just another form of incarceration."

Read more about Topeka K. Sam, her journey and what she has been doing with her second chance. #PNO #reentry #OpenSocietyFoundation #calltoaction #criminaljusticereform

https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/voices/it-s-time-overhaul-america-s-broken-probation-and-parole-systems

While probation and parole can cut down on mass incarceration, when applied blindly, they can still tear families apart and cut off the formerly incarcerated from the love and support they need.

Weldon Angelos served over a decade of a 55-year prison term for possession of a firearm and selling marijuana to an und...
07/02/2017
KOCH Newsroom - Still Doing Time

Weldon Angelos served over a decade of a 55-year prison term for possession of a firearm and selling marijuana to an undercover informant. He is now free. He’s also fighting for criminal justice reform by creating a documentary. But it is the more mundane challenges that hold him back.

In “Still Doing Time,” appearing in an an on-line Koch Industries magazine on June 13, 2017, Angelos says he was mistaken about how hard reintegrating into society with a felony conviction would be, despite a letter of reference from Koch Industries’ Mark Holden who helped obtain his release and bi-partisan moral support from Senator Corry Booker and Mike Lee, among others.

Angelos’ challenges are familiar to PNO’s Reentry Consultants and clients: moving out of crime ridden neighborhoods is nearly impossible and obtaining full-time employment is just as hard. In the same article, Carrie Pettus-Davis, Assistant Professor of Washington University, St. Louis School of Social Work explains, "People coming out of the system have been told that they are not welcomed by society, that they are not welcomed in society, that they are nothing more than an offender and that they will always be an offender.”.

Click the link to read more about Angelo and his upcoming documentary!
http://news.kochind.com/feature-stories/still-doing-time #PNO #reentry #cjreform #criminaljusticereform

Deputy Director Norman Brown has appeared again, this time in NPR where he shares his insight into the lives of people w...
05/26/2017
This Week On The Call In: Criminal Justice Reform

Deputy Director Norman Brown has appeared again, this time in NPR where he shares his insight into the lives of people who have committed drug offenses and why it is important for him to continue to share his story of reentering back into society after his incarceration.

Mr. Brown is quoted, "And sometimes being and having and reaching some of these long, draconian sentences - injustice can breed insanity. And I think that it's very important that we understand that some of these mandatory minimum sentences are ridiculously too long, and they are actually doing more harm than good."

Stay up to date with #projectnewopportunity on our facebook and webpage, projectnewopportunity.org. For the full NPR segment, click http://www.npr.org/2017/05/21/529364464/this-week-on-the-call-in-criminal-justice-reform

We examine criminal justice reform and drug sentencing. Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered federal prosecutors to impose the most serious charges for drug offenses.

There are a few programs around the United States that allow women who are incarcerated to keep their newborn babies. Il...
05/17/2017
Bringing up baby while doing time

There are a few programs around the United States that allow women who are incarcerated to keep their newborn babies. Illinois is one of those states and the evidence suggests that allowing women bond with their babies during a period of their incarceration have reduced recidivism rates!

Colleen Mastony from the Chicago Tribune writes "So far, 63 women have completed the program, and only one has returned to prison. By comparison, other women offenders have a 37 percent rate of recidivism, according to IDOC. That is evidence enough, officials say, to show the program is working."

This is a great step in the right direction to help reduce recidivism and keep families together. To read more about this program and the women it has helped, click here! Don't forget to LIKE US, SHARE US, and check out http://projectnewopportunity.org

#PNO #projectnewopportunity #reentry http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-decatur-prison-nursery-met-20150501-story.html

Nonviolent offenders who give birth in custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections can keep newborns with them in the state's only prison nursery.

In honor of Incarcerated Mother's day (today) and Mother's day (Sunday), we wanted to share an article written by Elizab...
05/13/2017
Opinion | Mother’s Day

In honor of Incarcerated Mother's day (today) and Mother's day (Sunday), we wanted to share an article written by Elizabeth Lo of the The New York Times titled, "Mother's Day."

On Mother's Day, we should salute the effort of Departments of Corrections to try to humanely treat mothers and their (exceedingly) innocent babies, but we should double-up efforts to stop putting mothers in prison in the first place and to get those who are in out as soon as possible. For children, it's not a "Second Chance," having their mothers in their lives may be their best first chance for a healthy life.

Click the link to watch the short video accompanied with this beautifully written article on mother's who are experiencing and/or experienced incarceration. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/11/opinion/mothers-day.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=photo-spot-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

When seeing your mother means a trip to prison.

Susan Burton is a woman of tremendous strength, love, and courage. Despite the chronic tragedy she endured throughout he...
05/05/2017
Opinion | A Modern-Day Harriet Tubman

Susan Burton is a woman of tremendous strength, love, and courage. Despite the chronic tragedy she endured throughout her life, from experiencing gang rape, losing her child, self-medicating and experiencing multiple incarcerations, Susan Burton was able to turn her life around after a 100-day drug treatment program that served more affluent clientele.

In 1998, she made it her mission to help women re-entering society. She began with providing shelter and job coaching, which has grown today to a full organization where she has a staff of 28, including 6 attorneys and she runs five homes for women! She has been recognized as a "CNN hero."

Susan Burton does a lot of outreach, including helping Project New Opportunity! During her downtime, she has written a memoir called, "Becoming Ms. Burton." Click on the link to read more about Ms. Burton's story and get more information about her new book! https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/04/opinion/susan-burton-modern-day-harriet-tubman.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-right-region®ion=opinion-c-col-right-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-right-region&_r=1

A woman who was once trapped in a cycle of drugs, crime and incarceration now helps others start healthy lives on the outside.

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Today is Giving Tuesday! Lets get the word out on how to contribute to PNO and help those who have been given a second chance!
Happy Father's Day to all of the men who are away from the children today!