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In 2009, Assembly Majority Leader, Bonnie Watson Coleman hosted numerous, public Counting the Costs hearings across the state to hear the experiences of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals, nonprofit organizations, community activists and criminal justice leaders. Watson Coleman said the hearings were a ground-breaking effort to hear from experts and residents on how the state could overhaul programs to prevent recidivism and save taxpayer money. “Former prisoners and their families lack a voice in our system despite the dire need for rehabilitation services for the more than 18,000 people who are released from prison each year,” said Watson Coleman.
“New Jersey spends more than $40,000 per inmate – two times more than what we spend on educating our children. Yet, nearly none of this money has found its way into rehabilitation programs to support a better future for ex-prisoners and their families.” The Assemblywoman was able to build consensus, understanding and support for more effective policies. “From a fiscal and a social perspective, it makes more sense to focus on keeping people out of jail,” Watson Coleman said. “It’s time that we create a pathway for people who have served time to finally become contributing members of society. It’s hypocrisy that we are punishing people for the same crime twice through a system that prohibits better opportunities.”
Voices of Hope Productions collaborated with Michael Jackson of Prison Nation Radio, and the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice a social justice think-tank to transcribe hearing audiotapes into a brief package of expert and citizen testimony. The package was used as a leaflet to mobilize citizens to help pass historic legislation for prison reform.
Posted on Friday, January 21st, 2011 at 4:47 pm. Filed under: Social Issue Campaigns Tags: addiction, advocacy, AFSC, citizen advocates, citizenship, civil rights, criminal justice, formerly incarcerated, government, grassroots organizations, legislation, NJISJ, nonprofit, policy, prison, Prison Nation Radio, reentry housing, reentry issues, social justice, substance abuse, Voices of Hope Productions
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Voices of Hope Productions is a creative services and multimedia production company specializing in short social issue documentaries, social marketing, issue advertising and public affairs programming. We work with nonprofit organizations, government agencies and policy think-tanks to build social and cause marketing campaigns through a wide-range of media production options including: 15 and 30 second public service announcements (PSAs) short and feature-length documentaries and internet streaming video, e-marketing campaigns, traditional print communications and graphic design, advocacy screening guides and toolkits, and media literacy programs including youth media curricula. Our projects and programs speak to such issues as social justice, public education, policy, grassroots advocacy, media literacy, civic pride and engagement, youth, sex, substance abuse, violence, learning, love, and life in America. Voices of Hope Productions also coordinates and facilitates community forums and screenings to inspire open dialogue about local and state-wide social issues. Voices of Hope Productions broadcast-quality media distribution includes: television, radio, streaming video on the Internet, community screenings, fundraising meetings and presentations, conferences, schools, workshops and film festivals.
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