Prisoners Are People Too, Inc. - ~Advocacy and Education Since 2005~


It’s Historic!

    On September 9, 2014, a dedicated contingent of community partners convinced Erie County Jail Management of the need and value of implementing restorative justice practices, through peace circles and restorative justice conferencing at the Erie County Correctional Facility and the Erie County Holding Center. The community was represented by BaBa Eng (Program Director of Prisoners Are People Too, Inc.), Pastor James Giles (Executive Director of Back to Basics Outreach Ministries, Inc.), Pastor Dan Schifeling  (retired Pastor of the Church of the Nativity-UCC), and Michael Okinczyc (Lead Community Organizer of VOICE-Buffalo). Superintendent Thomas Diiina and Chief John Rodriguez represented Erie County Jail Management.  After two requests for a meeting to discuss the possibilities of using restorative practices to effectively reduce violence, conflict, and tensions in our Erie County jails, and much work with all of our partners in the “Open Buffalo” initiative, Jail Management agreed to allow for the implementation of restorative justice practices at the Erie County Correctional Facility beginning with our youth, starting October 1. Eventually, such practices will extend to the holding center and those confined will begin to use their time in positive, productive, and meaningful ways, to help themselves, their families, and their communities.  Restorative Justice practices will also aid staff and management in improving conditions at our county jails.

     As Buffalo moves forward with its “Open Buffalo” initiative this agreement is historic. BaBa Eng has just been given the title of Restorative Justice Developer. He says, “I am honored to work with partners who have never wavered in their strong, consistent, collaborative efforts to make Restorative Justice in the jails and in our community a reality.”  

May 5, 2014, Albany, NY

We were there and the Buffalo contingent stood tall and strong!

Advocates rallied, asking the state Legislature to pass widespread prison reforms, including legislation that would end current solitary confinement practices and allow judges' discretion when sentencing domestic abuse victims.

Approximately 500 people joined the New York State Prisoner Justice Network, a coalition of prisoners' rights advocates, for their advocacy day, in a rally to promote legislation that would tackle criminal justice inequalities.

The group is asking for the passage of the HALT Solitary Confinement Act (A.8588-a/s.6466-a); Safe parole Act (A.4108/S.1128); Domestic Violence Survivors Act (A.4314-c/S.3337-c); and the creation of a Truth and Justice Commission to address the injustice within the state's criminal justice system.

According to New York Prisoner Justice Network, New York State incarcerates nearly 90,000 people, spending millions in tax-payer dollars.

Keynote speaker Dr. Cornel West called for an end to the war on drugs and racist and classist practices when it comes to the criminal justice system.

New York Against Prison Injustice!  MARCH and RALLY coming to Albany, NY on May 5!


Ban Post-Prison Discrimination~~~ Reform Parole~~~ Overhaul Public Defense

Release Elders~~~ Create Truth/Justice Commission~~~ Raise the Age

End the War on Drugs~~~
                                                                                         End Isolated Confinement~~~

Contact us for details. There will be a FREE bus going from Upstate NY.

YOU need to be on it! Come out and speak TRUTH to POWER!

E-mail your questions to


December-2013...WE BELIEVE THAT SOLITARY CONFINEMENT IS TORTURE! The New York  State campaign against Isolated Confinement is ramping-up. To learn more, go to the website for information about Solitary Confinement in NY. Click here. (Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement.)

Also.....THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX. (Click here.)



We support the RTA ("raise the age") Campaign.

New York is one of only two states in the country—in company with North Carolina—that automatically prosecutes all 16- and 17-year-olds as adults. New York also prosecutes 13-, 14- and 15-year-olds charged with certain serious offenses as adults. These young people are subject to lifelong criminal records and drastic consequences including denial of educational loans, barriers to employment, deportation, and loss of housing for both themselves and their families. Children prosecuted as adults have been shown to return to prison at higher rates than those prosecuted in juvenile courts.
For more information, please visit the Correctional Association's website.

PRISONERS ARE PEOPLE TOO participated in a "Raise the Age" Press Conference and Rally which took place in front of the Erie County Holding Center on December 10, 2013.


We Support Legislation Approving the Use of Medical Marijuana

For more information, please visit the Drug Policy Alliances's website

Buffalo (12-05-13) -- Today, dozens of patients and caregivers of those living with cancer, multiple sclerosis, severe seizure disorders, and other serious, debilitating medical conditions gathered in Buffalo for a hearing of the NY State Assembly Health Committee. In a series of compelling personal testimonies, they demanded that the New York State Senate pass the Compassionate Care Act -- A.6357-A(Gottfried) / S.4406-A (Savino). The bill would create one of the nation’s most tightly regulated medical marijuana programs, allowing seriously ill patients access to a small amount of marijuana under the supervision of their healthcare provider. PRP2 Board Members testified at this hearing: Karima Amin, Rev. Eugene Pierce, Chuck Culhane.


FREE CONFERENCE this week at the Burchfield Penney Art Center (1300 Elmwood Ave. in Buffalo), on Thursday, May 16 @ 6pm. With a guided tour, view Bruce Jackson's exhibit 

of photographs taken in the SOUTH while visiting penitentiaries in the early 60s. The exhibit, titled "BEING THERE," will be followed by a panel discussion: "HOW MASS INCARCERATION IMPRISONS COMMUNITIES."

Sponsored by Burchfield Penney and McMillan Empowerment Enterprises, the panel will feature:

Moderator, Buffalo News columnist Rod Watson 

Karima Amin, founder/director, Prisoners Are People Too

Ron Stewart, Ph.D., SUNY Buffalo State Sociology Department

Umar Adeyola - founder, HEART (Helping Empower At-Risk Teens) 

Alfonso Carter - ex-offender and successful entrepreneur 

Please RSVP to no later than Tuesday, May 14. Donations to the Burchfield Penney Art Center are welcome.


May 2 - 3, 2013... BUFFALO was the site of a
Landmark Conference at the  40th anniversary of the Rockefeller Drug Laws.  The conference explored how NY can become the National Model , shifting drug policy from a criminalization-based to a health-based approach.

Sadly, the war against drugs has been a 40-year war against people....mostly Black, Brown, and poor.

The conference,  Leading the Way: Toward a Public Health and Safety Approach to Drug Policy in New York,  was a historic event, hosted by the DRUG POLICY ALLIANCE of NY and  The Baldy Center for Social Law and Policy at the University of Buffalo. The conference was free  and PRP2's Director, Karima Amin, sat on the Thursday evening  panel with--

Moderator: asha bandele, Director, Advocacy Grants Program, Drug Policy Alliance
 .  Nuno Capaz, Vice President, Dissuasion Commission of Lisbon, Ministry of Health, Portugal  Soffiyah Elijah, Executive Director, Correctional Association of NY
Elizabeth Glazer, Deputy Secretary for Public Safety, New York 
 Svante Myrick, Mayor of Ithaca 
Crystal Peoples-Stokes, NYS Assemblymember- Buffalo 
Christopher St. John, Producer, The House I Live In

For more information about the Drug Policy Alliance, click here.


Our March 23, 2013 Conference, which was hosted by the Niagara County Chapter of PRISONERS ARE PEOPLE TOO, INC., was an astounding success. Kudos to CLAUDIA RACINE, our Niagara County Facilitator, and our partners at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Niagara in Niagara Falls. One of our keynote speakers, Allison Hollihan, Director of the Osborne Association's NY Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents, wrote this very favorable account.

We thank Allison Hollihan and Kharon Benson, from the
Osborne Association, for ensuring the success of this event. 60 families were represented!

The Niagara County Chapter  of PRISONERS ARE PEOPLE TOO, INC. will present this conference on March 23, 2013. It is bound to be an inspirational and enlightening event, featuring staff from the Osborne Association (based in New York City) which has advocated for prisoners and their families for several decades. In 2006, the Osborne Association established a special project: the New York Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents, which works in partnership with government agencies and community and faith-based organizations to achieve policies and practices thatmeet the needs and respect the rights of children whose parents are in the criminal justice system.  (Read more about this initiative here.)

In addition to the keynote by the Osborne Association, there will be a panel discussion featuring: JEFF CONRAD, Regional Director for  the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO); DANETTE TURNER,  Every Person Influences Children (EPIC); CALLAN BUCKSHOT, Native American Community Services; PAMELA LANICH, Catholic Charities' Kinship Caregivers Program; and TAMMY KINAN, Northpointe Council's Prevention Education.

CLAUDIA RACINE is the Facilitator for the Niagara County Chapter. For additional information, e-mail KARIMA AMIN (See flier above.) or call Karima at 716-834-8438.



                                           Rufus and Jenny Triplett of Powder Springs, GA
                         Keynoters at FAMILY EMPOWERMENT DAY 5 in Buffalo, NY
                                       FAMILY EMPOWERMENT DAY 5: A BIG SUCCESS!
                                                                      by Karima Amin
                Incarceration affects everybody, from families and communities to employers and society in general. If you think that incarceration has nothing to do with you, then you need to think again and take a second look. Do you realize that your tax dollars are used to support a broken system that does not keep communities safe nor reduce crime?
                Family Empowerment Day was the brainchild of some proactive prisoners in 2005, the Otisville Lifers and Long- termers Group in Otisville Correctional Facility in Otisville, NY. They believed that men and women on the inside, working with committed and compassionate folks on the outside, could move forward better with changes that could reform the prison system. FED1, FED2, FED3 and FED4 in NYC were all created by the collaborative effort of Prison Action Network and the Otisville Lifers. Another FED3 (in 2007) was held in Buffalo, NY. Hosted by Prisoners Are People Too, this conference was amazingly successful with 150 attendees from across the state participating. A third FED3, focusing on prison health care, took place in Albany NY. FED4 in NYC resulted in a commitment to change the parole statute so that the Parole Board can no longer base a denial solely on the nature of the crime. A second FED4, held in Albany, focused on mental health care. 
                This year, FED5 was hosted in Buffalo on October 5-6, with Karima Amin, founder/director of Prisoners Are People Too, Inc., collaborating with Claudia Racine (PRP2-Niagara County Chapter) and Judith Brink (Prison Action Network). Buffalo was honored to welcome Rufus and Jenny Triplett of Powder Springs, GA, “Ebony Magazine’s 2012 “Couple of the Year,” who delivered the keynote address. They were present at a press conference and reception, held on October 5 at the Golden Cup on Jefferson Avenue. On the next day, October 6, they set the tone at the day-long conference at SS Columba-Brigid Church when they shared the story of Jenny’s incarceration and how they managed to keep the marriage and the family intact and raise three sons. Their testimony moved some in the audience to give them a standing ovation. The Tripletts moved above and beyond their negative circumstances to create Dawah International, LLC, a multimedia company that publishes “Prisonworld Magazine” and produces “Prisonworld Radio Network” online. The couple received high praise for sharing their inspiring story. (As a side note, the Tripletts were happy to see Niagara Falls and to get an early start on celebrating their 23rd wedding anniversary.) 
               Chair Betty Jean Grant provided two proclamations from the Erie County Legislature: one acknowledging the work of Rufus and Jenny Triplett and another designating October 6, 2012 as Prisoners Are People Too, Inc. and Family Empowerment Day. 
 We thank all of our generous supporters and facilitators who value the importance of sharing information about voting, women’s issues, employment, kinship caregivers, family issues, mental health, reentry and parole. While families with incarcerated loved ones may have benefited most, this conference provided a wealth of information for formerly incarcerated people, professionals working with these populations, and anyone having an interest in community betterment.
                Family Empowerment Day5 was a major success and another step on the journey toward fairness, justice and increased understanding.


We support the  NY Campaign for the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act.

               (Click statement above for info on DVSJA.)


We stand in SOLIDARITY with hunger striking prisoners everywhere!
Feb. 18, 2013

 PRP2 Board Member, Chuck Culhane, applauds the efforts of
 Hunger Striking Prisoners in California:

Greetings from Buffalo, NY.  Thank you for forwarding the latest
communication from the strike group to the California authorities.  As an
activist -- formerly condemned, formerly a NY Lifer,  currently a parolee
for the last 20 years -- I salute and welcome your persistence in asserting
rights and privileges in the face of official indifference.  I joined, in
solidarity, the hunger strike of July 1, 2011 -- I joined on July 4th, and
recruited at least a half-dozen local activists to form a chain-fast where
we would each do one day a week, while trying to get the word out and
educate people around the importance and necessity for direct action and
support of your efforts.  I don't know what yardstick to use to measure
success or failure, but the fact you are still there articulating the
details of your struggle, and there are still people outside listening and
willing to  take supportive actions, sounds like success to me.

Thank you for the great and significant work you are doing.  "Intensify the
struggle!" said Mandela on the day of his release.  Good advice for us all,
on both sides of the wall.

Chuck Culhane
Buffalo, NY

More Hunger Striking Prisoners in Califotnia....

For the latest news on California, follow the information at WORDPRESS.COM.

Unfortunately, a person with mental health issues might find himself in the SHU for years, strictly for administrative convenience. In 2006, the U.S. Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons recommended ending long-term solitary confinement. Prisons throughout the country have mostly ignored this recommendation.

is being done  in NYS and around the country to address this common practice of gross abuse and torture.

NOTE: As of 12-28-11, there have been 3 suicides in the Erie County Holding Center in Buffalo, NY within the last 4 months and 9 suicides in NYS prisons
this year (2011).

Given that 95 percent of all inmates are eventually released into the public, and that many of these will be released without any form of transition or therapy, solitary confinement is a problem that potentially affects every one of us.

November 17, 2011 
       In  Western NY, our solidarity fasting continues. Members of Prisoners Are  People Too, Inc. and the Western NY Peace Center are continuing a chain fast until conditions change for the prisoners in California and New York State.
Prisons affects everybody.

This image has become the logo for the CA Prisoner Hunger Strike. It was created by a young man who has been incarcerated in VA since 1993. He is an author and an accomplished artist. His name is Kevin "Rashid" Johnson. The logo shows multicultural arms linked in UNITY with fork and spoon crossed out.
Also link to Rashid's book, Defying the Tomb.

September 26, 2011 - October 15, 2011
The CDCR has, once again, made promises to the prisoners.

The CDCR (California Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation) has not honored the promises that were made to California prisoners who waged a Hunger Strike for 21 days in July 2011. (See CALIFORNIA PRISONER HUNGER STRIKE, July 2011, BELOW.) Risking their physical well-being and leaving themselves open to retaliation by the prisons' administration, these prisoners have vowed to resume the Hunger Strike on September 26. 


September 21, 2011
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to grant a stay of execution, and Troy Davis was murdered by the state of Georgia at 11:08 p.m. Eastern Time.
Here are Troy's words relayed earlier today: "The struggle for justice doesn't end with me. This struggle is for all the Troy Davises who came before me and all the ones who will come after me. I'm in good spirits and I'm prayerful and at peace. But I will not stop fighting until I've taken my last breath. Georgia is prepared to snuff out the life of an innocent man."

Dear PRP2 Folks: Your signatures, prayers, and phone calls on behalf of TROY DAVIS were NOT in vain. We simply must re-double our efforts in this struggle for JUSTICE.



I cannot answer all of your letters but I do read them all, I cannot see you all but I can imagine your faces, I cannot hear you speak but your letters take me to the far reaches of the world, I cannot touch you physically but I feel your warmth everyday I exist.
So Thank you and remember I am in a place where execution can only destroy your physical form but because of my faith in God, my family and all of you I have been spiritually free for some time and no matter what happens in the days, weeks to come, this Movement to end the death penalty, to seek true justice, to expose a system that fails to protect the innocent must be accelerated. There are so many more Troy Davis'. This fight to end the death penalty is not won or lost through me but through our strength to move forward and save every innocent person in captivity around the globe. We need to dismantle this Unjust system city by city, state by state and country by country.
I can't wait to Stand with you, no matter if that is in physical or spiritual form, I will one day be announcing,
Never Stop Fighting for Justice and We Will Win!


NYS Parole Reform Campaign
As a member of the NYS Prisoner Justice Network, we support the purpose and intent of the SAFE (Safe And Fair Evaluations) Parole Act. This act has now become a bill in both houses of the NYS Legislature.
We are working to change unjust and unfair parole policies.
Click HERE for up-to-date info on Parole Reform in NYS.



             You are invited to Mass Incarceration: Its Impact on Community, an event that will be held at Bethesda World Harvest International Church in conjunction with University at Buffalo Law School on September 12, 2011 from 6:00 – 8:00pm.  Here we will be led by the following community leaders in a discussion on the impact of incarceration on families in our local Buffalo community: Rev. Eugene L. Pierce of WNY Outreach Ministries, Inc.; Pastor James Giles of Back-to-Basics Outreach Ministries, Inc.; Rev. Jeff E. Carter, of Ephesus Ministries; Rev. Alberto Lanzot of First United Methodist Church (Primera Iglesia Metodista Unida) and Br. Michael Oberst, Peaceprints Prison Ministries.  This event will be moderated by Dr. Henry Taylor, Director of the UB Center for Urban Studies and is being organized by Karima Amin, Executive Director of Prisoners are People Too, Inc.  Closing remarks will be given by the First Lady, Pastor Joyce Badger.  
             This event is being held in commemoration of the 40 Anniversary of the Attica Prison Rebellion and will take place as part of a three-day conference sponsored by the University at Buffalo Law School.  This conference is called “40 Years After the Attica Uprising: Looking Back, Moving Forward” and features several of the original key players of the uprising to speak, including former prisoners, negotiators, hostages, and attorneys all directly involved.  This historical perspective will be coupled with a dialogue on prison reform with influential policy makers, academics and organizations in order to reconsider new possibilities for improving the current situation of mass incarceration.  The conference will begin on September 11, 2011, at the Burchfield Penney Theater at Buffalo State College with a screening of Ghosts of Attica at 5:30.  The introduction and panels held on September 12, 2011 will begin at 8:30am and be held at the Allen Hall Amphitheater at UB South Campus.  The panels on September 13, 2011 will begin at 9:00am and be held at the Student Union Theater at UB North Campus.  Admission is free (with pre-registration) and open to the public.      

       Bethesda World Harvest International Church is officiated by Bishop Michael A. Badger,  Sr. and is located at 1365 Main Street, Buffalo, NY, 14209.  For more information on the 40 Years After the Attica Uprising: Looking Back, Moving Forward conference and registration, please visit: or call (716) 645-2012.  All events are free (registration required) and open to the public.  


August 12, 2011

 Friday, August 12, 2011 was a special day. Around the country, small groups of determined individuals participated in a National Day of Protest  Against Family Court Abuse. Here in Buffalo, NY, PRP2 member, Jackie X Bontzolakes led a day long action, from 8:30am – 4:30pm, at the Family Court building, 1 Niagara Plaza, which brought these alleged abuses to the forefront of the community’s attention. Participants shared stories of abuse that illustrated violations of constitutional rights and human rights by governmental entities as well as C.P.S. We are unfortunately living in an era in which the desire to keep a family together has been criminalized. Across the nation, people are standing up and speaking out against a court system that pits government against humanity everyday.  On August 12, protest rallies in California, Michigan, Illinois and Buffalo, NY reminded us  that, “Family is First!” 

Update (08-30-12): Jackie X Bontzolakes-Harris has  moved forward with an initiative known as the "Family Solution Center." She facilitates the "Pro Family Rally," bi-weekly rallies, in front of the Family Court Building @ 1 Plaza.

On September 28, 2012, 8:30am - 3:00pm, the Family Solution Center will sponsor the INTERNATIONAL RALLY FOR THE LOVE OF CHILDREN to bring awareness to Family Court Injustice. Come out and support our children! Come out and save our families!  (Call Jacqueline X for more info -- 716-715-7884.)



You need Flash Player in order to view this.
Support the Pelican Bay Hunger Strike!
This video explains what the Pelican Bay Hunger Strike is all about, with former prisoners detailing why prisoners are protesting, how this action relates to a history of prisoner-led resistance, and ...

 "Milk NOT Jails"  is a campaign that we support. A "Milk NOT Jails "event was held at the
Merriweather Library on  September 25, 2010.  (See photos above.)  This event attracted children and adults who enjoyed an ice cream social and activities that were both educational and entertaining. If you want to know what ice cream has to do with prisons, click here.


  On May 3, 2011, 16 members of PRP2 attended Legislative Awareness Day in Albany, NY  hosted by the NYS Prisoner Justice Network.We spoke to our senators and assembly members about the prison issues that concern us most. Pictures above show NYSPJN members, from Albany, at a PRP2 meeting, sharing pertinent info in preparation for Legislative Awareness Day.


The Circle of Supporters for Reformed Offenders and the Friends of George Baba Eng
Update - Holiday/New Year's Message from BaBa - December 2011
Happy Kwanzaa!
Earth's Bounty, nourish our wonder;
Mishumaa Saba of the Kinara, light our path!

Update - September 2011

Update - June 2011 
 After nearly 34 years of incarceration in NYS and four parole denials, BaBa was finally granted "release to parole supervision." Before he could even enjoy one day of freedom "in the world," he was sent to NJ to respond to an open warrant for a crime that he committed when he was 18 years old. Since June of 2010 he has served time in Rahway, Northern State, South Woods, and Bayside. He is 63 years old
Today he is in Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (Rutgers University), having brain surgery for an injury suffered at the hands of correctional officers several decades ago. BaBa sued the NYSDOCS for this abuse and won. His condition is stable at this time. His family and supporters are praying for his recovery. 

BaBa Thanks the Community, February 2010
Dear Family, Friends, Supporters, and Community: 
Thanks to your love, letters, prayers, advice, encouragement and continuing support,  I FINALLY MADE PAROLE after nearly 34 years of incarceration!  
I am happy and humbled by your willingness to embrace me with your care and concern. Some  of you have supported me for decades. I thank you for believing in my ability to transform  my life. 
Some of you have only heard or read about me, and yet you were willing to tell the Parole Board that I deserve a second chance at life on the outside. I thank you for believing in my ability to atone. 
Your letters and your phone calls tipped the scales, and soon I will be FREE to join you in your efforts to promote justice, fairness, and humane treatment for all. 
I love you all! 

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