Pubdate: Fri, 26 May 2006
Source: Times Union (Albany, NY)
Copyright: 2006 Capital Newspapers Division of The Hearst Corporation
Author: Velmanette Montgomery,  State Senator, Brooklyn
Bookmark: (Incarceration)


Can formerly incarcerated individuals ever truly get a second chance? 
Not as long as New York state continues to create obstacles to their 
successful rehabilitation and re-entry into society.

A crystal clear example of barriers to this success is demonstrated 
in your recent reporting of ex-offenders being barred from 
volunteering at bingo games operated by the Rev. Peter Young 
Foundation -- an organization with a long-standing and unblemished 
history of helping men and women put their lives back together after 
getting out of prison ("Use of ex-cons derails bingo fundraiser," 
Times Union, May 17).

Volunteering is a selfless act, which, in the case of the 
foundation's bingo game, has resulted in raising money to maintain 
the operation of Father Young's 28-day inpatient rehabilitation 
center in Altamont and other reintegration programs, including 
supportive housing, parenting and life skills classes, GED and other 
education classes, parole stabilization, training in culinary arts, 
motel operations and job placement services.

I have had the privilege of knowing and working with Father Young for 
many years, and can personally attest to the success of his various 
programs, which not only operate here in the Capital Region but 
statewide, including my Senate district in Brooklyn. Father Young 
works tirelessly to help men and women lead productive and fulfilling 
lives upon their release from prison.

His programs' participants volunteer to support his heartfelt work so 
others may have the same enrichment and support and have a second 
chance at a positive future.

Father Peter Young is no stranger to the people of the Capital 
Region, nor is his mission. The volunteer staffing of his weekly 
bingo game by formerly incarcerated individuals should not be 
outlawed. If the laws of our state need to be changed to legalize 
this act of altruism, I will proudly author legislation to allow 
volunteering by ex-offenders.


State Senator, Brooklyn

The writer is a member of the Senate Committee on Crime Victims, 
Crime and Correction.
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman