Cindy McEachon - Peaceprints Of WNY

On Target with Penny Wolfgang
Sunday, April 23rd

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This is on target with penny Wolfgang a program that takes an inside look at what is happening in Western New York with news features and special guests. Now here's your host penny Wolfgang. Hi everybody. Welcome to on target thank you so much for joining me today. I am your host penny Wolfgang and we hear every week and we tried to talk a man of subjects that we think it interesting and important topic Cohen educational. For all of us who live here in the western your community. And it's you know a very often talk about matters involving a law enforcement or are. Rehabilitation. Issues oil law law and all other besides the program which as you know military leak the line on program. But besides that there read a line otter in real life. And also. Related to that. We've been talking and trying to talk lately about the rehabilitation aspect in about what can happen to people who are. Once they are so what they have served distance and once they are incarcerated for some crime what is exactly. He's available to them so that they can become law abiding. Rewarding citizens what's the word not rewarding citizens of the community you know. And so. Recently and now ha. And the date it 716. Which ended in China dimension. Every single program so that you'll start watching it on. I daily buzz 716. Which I am on knack several times a week which is on from ten to eleven time. WB BC. TV I used to root writing this down I listening and want you to watch one time recently we had the most interesting guest. So I collapsed at her or I I it's kidnapped there. And I said Cindy must come and talk on target with my with my radio friends and explain this program to them because it was so fascinating. It was so educational because I didn't even know it existed. And it was so rewarding to know. And I think you'll feel the same way that such people in programs exist here in western new markets cooled peace prince of western new York and actually. Once. Cindy who I'll introduce you to a moment came to the TV program to it I realized to talk to us and realized oh it's seen that. Peace prince name. And a mono or a slogan or a picture. Like you dot all over Western Europe can never ever knew what it was or what it meant. Well now I found out and you my loyal listeners are gonna find out because in the studio with this is Cindy make captain Wright to get it right. And it's only the fifteenth time that we've met and talked and end up Cindy is the director. Of what is known as peace prince of western new York and thank you again Cindy for being so kind. To talk all over again for high supposes you liked if having people find out about the program because. The more people I know it in appreciated I think it's better for all of you. Absolutely. Absolutely so Cindy what is peace prints of western new. So peace prince of Western New York is. Offering bolts in prison resources for them as well as community based resources. Agent and I haven't gotten. Reality and there's so much more we can say we Alan wake up. Act so and then when you say that that's a synopsis of absolutely other programs silhouetted is is. You actually windy start we're not you but. It is a group of US windy start and howdy start helping or rehabilitating that the people you're dealing west. Epson is so there's various stops along. The process we have folks that will write to us on that will attend our support groups inside the facilities we here in seven facilities. In the local region if you will. Bangs and I it. These this these support groups are optional and they're an option for individuals TU. Connect with members of the community. And share some of their experience is talks through some of the feelings that they're having and hopefully work through some behavioral change just a natural siding with community members. Again it's an optional group and the numbers that we send in our our volunteers. Volunteers who have been. It participating in the support groups for some of them three and four decades. So they are die hard volunteers going into these is out the solid is. Additionally we have workshops that operate in three facilities. And these workshops are geared towards the men that are in fees three. And facility that particular workshop. And I give them a crash course in what two ex pact once you are released to the good the bad and the ugly and there's a lot of it. Unfortunately often that's the first time they're hearing any of that in a very real and candid way. And if folks are about to be released all over the state. It usually about thirty days or so. After I hit bad. Naturally we want to know what he is that you say land you said this is a this is sometimes I opening or crash Kalus what are some of the you know. Aspects of of life outside. But being incarcerated that you cover with them. So one of the first things that we talk about buy it we do it we it's an icebreaker in Hamburg heats and I do it and we do it on purpose because. We start with our first name they have to go around the room and I usually see about 25 anywhere from 25 to thirty individuals purse action and I do too sections in each facility. So I have these group of of grown men are all eighteen miles. Is sitting in this room and they have to go around to may have to give me three elements their first name the county they're going back to in a fun fact. And I you know and about insults. Which is not something that they enjoy participating in when we start but we do it on her best. Because it a it's an ice breaker and be when you're. In praising you become your last name and your number your dinner number. To numbered it's in batted in your brain and that's how you engage with the oaks we don't talk that way when we're outside. We shake hands we make eye contact need to reduce our cells buyer first Ian Lance anymore just our first name so we have to par round and I wanna hear your first name. I can't even tell you how many folks struggle with that and come out with their last name instinct. Instead of their first. And then that Tony we talk about just because I personally find it absolutely fascinating. That I going to the facilities closest to buffalo because that's where we're based out of and of the room of 25 maybe on a good day five of them are actually coming back to Erie count the rest of the room is. Going throughout the state to their Powell list on the scent of the state. So that's just a fascinating piece and so we started tracking just to see by the companies that people are going to act to do EC Marconi stationed in one place. And then the fun facts. Few reasons why we do that again and ice breaker but ultimately. One's ability to answer that question paints a picture of where there had at this it is vital that. Our folks as they're returning to act. Understand that. They can count positive attributes that there are good things about Don and if they don't see it's it's going to be very difficult for. To. Move forward and let go all of the prison mentality if you all and I and speaks the end to be on the app. On top of that. It's twofold when you go to a job interview room and everybody is they need to get a job. One of the first questions and employer asks you is tell me a little bit about yourself. And they don't want a cookie cutter answer anymore they want a snapshot into your personality and so that Ian certain. Sometimes most of the time though what they offer me. Could work for that question as well so it's also a skilled building PX could we talked unemployment. And so we start. Our whole conversation marry and that opens up dialogue. But it allows us then to start talking about some of the institutionalization. What to expect the minute you walk out the door ray and the processing to get outside it. Before you walk out the door are your first engagement with parole. 21. Engagement with family and I often share stories of folks that I have seen go through these experiences. And I can assure them and and candidly safe have you thought about. Dating now and after being incarcerated for 101520. Years. And your family's excited to see you so they throw you. Like a family gathering and you've got fifteen people there let's fifteen people that are going to be your bubble. In your personal space that for twenty years hasn't happened. And now they're gonna be in your space they're going to be talking TO. Great you're gonna have to proper socks multiple different things at multiple different times. And then there's gonna be real food not that you don't eat real food inside but she didn't need this food. All of these things that you take for granted are gonna hit you all at once and for some people can be very overwhelming especially. If you have. And it substance abuse addiction. Great you don't need any triggers and these sometimes become a trigger. Because you got anxiety you have stress as a result you were prepared for that. And you. So we talk about a lot of those things a lot of those experiences and what that's like. Rate at that at the on site and the get go of the conversation. An idea as to open up dialogue. We take it much deeper than that as we continue talking. Through. All elements once your outside from connecting with three sources to manipulation in the community. And the fact that there are good in baton in all people so. You could have a good or bad parole officer you can have a good and bad worker at the department of social services you can ever gonna read worker at your substance abuse clinic. You don't know all rain but how do you. Navigate through the systems and still find success and so those are some of the things that we talk about relationship with women. We touch on that stuff all sorts of things. And I just ran into rep from room in case he just tuned in today you know listening to on target. And today we are talking to Cindy in the kicking and she is the director of a group. Known as peace prince peace prince of Western New York I guess it's a little late maybe at in the conversation to ask this but. How noted this group gets started and what his peace prince signify each and if anything. Yes it does so the organization was founded. By sister Karen clintons back. And she. She really pioneered in my in my mind I reentry services within the buffalo community. Going from the halfway house to hospitality house for family members who are travelling far to be able to see their loved ones. In facility is on she had all sorts of very innovative idea is. In a time where are both Sydney accessed and we're talking Nino in the eighties the mid eighties it just did they didn't exist at that point. She founded this not house what we have today and Nat facility still excess and she would identify a man coming back and they way degrees right in the facility she would provide them with all sorts of access to resource as much like we still do today. But she lived in the facility and she was is the life and breath of the organization it was no paid members it was all volunteer driven purely and it was a ministry. That turned kind of into an organization. She wanted to impact the community because at the same time that she had this passion for. Those that had been formally in cursory didn't helping them to transform their alliance. We had very high level of violence within in the community so. The peace dove with something that she created and she would be at every visual any time there's a homicide or anything going on it within the city she was great there to talk with the family is as well ai is engage with. The individuals. On the streets rape and that are all part of us. And she would leave the golf I leave peace prince was her challenge to the community. To take an oath of nonviolence. And I and commits to a nonviolent lifestyle. And then we had the dove which still sits in front of this nut house which is across from me CMC young writer. And she would count the days between homicides in the city of buffalo. All this connecting the dots. To be very busy now yes and she would be and I think probably discouraged I it I mean. And you and would be because you're talking about this current starting in the end she was doing this in the 1980s. Prior to the and Harrell. That the crime which we would. We might talk net second because that are of people are aware of it. That was perpetrated that Andrew how life how whether. The thing I was thinking to myself she she might be very disappointed that things have not gotten better or not change that much since she was. You know having this mission and here we iron in counting the days we can't even count days between. Homicides. Now A in 2017. Especially we've we've kicked off this year at that capsule he had horrific rates and are heard. Sat is. I would say aroused when he sixteen actually you mentioned that. And it that she was having the in the dissonant house. People were living there who are released from prison and of terrible. Incident happened which people may not be aware of this wasn't 1980 state. You so. In 2000 six's is when she passed. And so it's close eleven years and it was April 14 2006 which was Good Friday and this year. April 14 2017. Was Good Friday so it was exactly eleven years to the day. She participated in the stations of the cross eyes she felt very compelled every year she would go to local landmarks including city called the police station and she had a unique. The vision when he came TV stations verses being inside a traditional church and and tearing across through stations. She. Attach them to actual tangible buildings. In the community and she would carry her crossed and then she also had necklaces. And she would carry cross necklace that represented every homicide. For that previous year. And neck count. Can she would carry that with her this year they did it recreate the station's. Her sister did actually. Along with another group of individuals in ions. Carried the necklaces to go through and it was that Good Friday after she completed the station's. She went back to this not house and she is going to be preparing for service issues going to be attending later that evening. That the tragedy occurred. She was actually alerted by a one minute and a it was a man in the house and you know what I think is amazing. That commission. The house piece prince. Has continued on was not discouraged. And was not armed disillusioned and not disbanded actually after. Such a horrible incident. And she you know she kept journals. She she brought a lot and net. We had found I had her sister had found a journal entry that was dated many many years prior to her her doubt. Forgiving the person that. May harm car. And so this element of forgiveness has continued and carried with us. You know over the years and I think his helps. Keep the organization ally even cheaper legacy alive. So now does that continue we are continuing. Prior to explaining the background before peace prince. With actually what the group is how it's it's functioning now. Is there at the same is at the same idea that people when they are released after they get the counseling and at ten sessions that you're talking about and they then actually living in and prescribed places that's part of the program. Not every backing it it varies by arms and some are yeah so upon release on parole determines where you preside if you are going to be under parole supervision. Some folks are able to reside there with family in the community. Some folks are required to go to organizations such as peace prince and reside in a transitional housing and elements. And some folks go to the city mission. And that's approved housing for individuals and that really depends on your pearl officer your story. EI and you know what they're looking at a what they're anticipating. The experience to be. Now once they once they are released. I was just thinking how current this conversation is. Finding a place to live as you said they may very well go you know hopefully the ideal situation would be some each go back to their their home with a family or something but. Obviously. As you said pearl determines with a personal lives. How we just read within the last couple weeks about they were it was that I don't know if you were involved with it but a story about. There was an aunt and where he immersed where they wanted to have up yet Amherst where say a word was that the same idea they're going to have her rehabilitation. Type home. Or I'm not sure it was a drug. That was brought it up drug related yeah I'm thinking that the same thing last happened. You must have this many times in resistance of the community. Two is having people. Living in the air neighborhood or near them or anywhere in the vicinity. When they do find out what you how you handle it and how do you find places. Two approved for people to live once they are released from incarceration. So it absolutely is did it very difficult and you are spot guy and you know there's no shortage of individuals that are coming back to our community. From our so our facilities. Indoor out some sort of criminal conviction attached to numb when some way shape or form. The hardship is for them to find clean safe and affordable housing folks do not want them. On their doorstep. And they don't want them near so. It becomes very very tricky to accommodate individuals. As they're being released. This nut house. We didn't have to do a whole lot sister Karen hardy down now and and that facility was opened. Under her discretion we re able to add onto the facility we can now serve twenty Forman in that facility and but some of our other locations we have run into that Maria did you fall community forums. A lot of leg work to convince our Ernie burst that we are not a threat and the fact of the matter is you know. The one facility particularly we had a really hard time getting open and it was our fees to facility and we don't have issues at that facility and there's also not Tony for our staffing at that facility. But folks. They wanna move on. And it is at some point we have to allow them now wouldn't that you. I heard you mentioned her earlier in the discussion. When they go when a person goes for a job that. They should they will be Estes and they will be whenever it is their training is there is there help for. A person to get a job to widow applied for a job how to I mean and you know Beth chaining pied effect happens. When incarcerated or after or as part of parole or is part of your supervision. So. That's kind of a large question and are you know no that's OK so inside in the facilities there are opportunities for folks to earn certificates. Sometimes it is tangible usable skills they can. Access when they get out and sometimes it's not it's just things that don't exist where they're going back to. For example when you're talking about how I gardening or things on Nat. Dad end of the spectrum and they're going back to New York City. And the opportunity is just not really there to transfer that that's scale. And but another big issue is that they'll gain the skills and site but once they're released those certificates are not honored by the community. So they would have to start that process again that training isn't seen Israel training percent. We you also are looking at a huge gap in time. Of successful employment. I inking a full employment so they're going to be starting at the very bottom often you know food service restaurants construction and and physical labor that type of of work is what you would see folks entering into. There are organizations in the community in that exist purely to assist individuals on parole probation with obtaining gain fallen poignant. And there are some great ones then there's not so great ones and re entry which is the active. Leaving prison in coming to the community. Is still relatively new it's been around. Heard you know couple decades but we just started to now edging it as a real thing I'm people starting getting out on a higher volume. But we don't have a lot of of research backing it there's not a lot of best practices and there's no standard of service for any of the providers. So unfortunately you see a YE a raid. Of services that exist and some of them are not helpful or beneficial. Which serves to. Cause individuals to die grouse because they get frustrate and. CN I think I was gonna ask you and maybe our listeners would they'd be saying the same thing we need I need you to maybe explain why it's good why we need peace prince and other programs like this. Why is good for society. In general because if you don't have them you going to have people who obviously. Are going to just you said re offend because they don't in any other choice. Right right absolutely and any even if if these individuals don't offer you a warm Fuzzy feeling at the end of the day you are gaining or you're having in fact. By eight. Mass incarceration by the system and incarcerating. On it's it's got your tax dollars in stature expense that folks are housed in facilities on for extended periods. When they come out if we are providing them with services such as the service is peace prince offers the near going to end up. Staying within the Sistani and they're going to be with the department of social service says. And that again is tax dollars at work and that is money coming out so it The Who is us to offer individuals training and Greece sources to better themselves and be calm. Tax paying citizens themselves. And often that's what they weren't do you have success stories. Oh absolutely a good means if we tell tell Allison is a success story yeah. He's he's yes we DI ATV pat we wanna be high significant. Well we have one gentleman rate now and who. He will be off of parole IA in August and I A into. He's counting down it the days he's been out for about four years now. He has been gainfully employed the entire time he is 620 he has had absolutely no hiccups no issues. Nothing and he is doing. Phenomenal. He's still gainfully employed he actually works for us now as a maintenance per cent which is wonderful he was working somewhere else but. He's got a strong work ethic and he's doing a from a phenomenal. Job rate he owns his car he purchased it paid it off it's his he owns up during through. He completely supports. Himself. Has to be rewarding it's I mean for you to have amazing to watch that. I'm just not the only one out and also do you work with Corel I mean you like candid and as I see watching. So that with the you know Melissa's could be. Know that the the people that you're helping our being are being are reporting to somebody being watched being supervised sex in the community as well. Absolutely so. Generally speaking everybody that enters our phase one programming and this nut house is under parole supervision we work very closely with pearl and the guys know all as they come Enders there's no tolerance. We want to see you succeed but we can't make you succeed ray you have to want to succeed you have to want to maneuver around and and and interior is in the things that are coming your way but you also have to make a choice as that term motto in the house that's our motto whole I think it's become of the organization is make good choices it's very simple but powerful choice and so everything we do we tied act that. Are you making good choices are you making good choices we have a gentleman rate now whom. He's a good soul he's a great person and to watch folks successfully. He has been in out of the Foster care system since he was you know a baby he himself has has a son. He continued to move through the system that you be Sistani into the state facilities. And then he violated what X can do that anymore and so he he's not in our housing anymore he's in community housing himself. But he can acts with us he volunteers at every event that we have just have to do that nobody's making you do that he wants to give back he wants to move forward. And it it's incredible to watch that transfer agent taught somebody take ownership of that. And in pushing. Really great well I mean society in the other members of the community. I'm grateful to you and your co workers and the group because you are you know in a way helping as you pointed out. The the law abiding members. Of society who would like to have. The people who are reentering yes he says employees and also productive productive members of the community so we thank you so much and we have been false so. We wanna have a shout out to Mercedes Wilson who is a very different to ours. And who is the and founder of for our daughters empowering young women who are going to get to talk to her enough time. About that group which is you know somewhat related and Cindy is on the boy Jack is back. Because I she wasn't able to come today we're going to be talking during his time in hopes she's listening in knows that. I thought so where apparently one had to get better real soon CD's get better real soon and thank you'll for listening to on target and we will see you again next week same time same place have a good week everybody. You've been listening to one target with many Wolfgang. A program that takes an inside look at western new York and our community. If you have any comments or suggestions. Please write to penny Wolfgang at 500 corporate parkway suite 200 Amherst New York. 114 to six.