Thursday, June 21, 2012

NYS Parole Reform: S.A.F.E./petition drive

Fence surround Wende Correctional Facility, Alden, NY

As many of you know, my son: Shawn Campbell, is on a Journey to Justice (the first of many blogs following his journey through the court system) to correct the wrongs that have been done to him...including imprisoning him for a crime he did not commit. However, since he is incarcerated in the meantime, he has asked me to write this blog to help get exposure for two online petitions and to push for prison reform in New York State.

The S.A.F.E. [Safe And Fair Evaluation of Parole Act] Parole Act "would amend New York’s existing parole statute, Executive Law § 259-i."  As it stands now, inmates that go in front of the parole board may get denied several times, for issues that are out of his/her control...specifically: the Parole board looks at the crime committed; dis-allows any good behavior; the completion of necessary programs needed for their eventual release (if under a life sentence) IF available at that specific prison; etc. A full chart of proposed changes can be found here (pdf) and here (versus how the law stands now).

New York State is one of a few that does not have such an act, and when in place, saves the state millions of dollars every year, because it gives inmates who have had good behavior during the course of their sentences and have completed all rehabilitative and educational programming (which the prisons DO require) the ability to earn what is termed "merit time".  If an inmate qualifies, it could give him up to two years off his sentence, thus allowing him to come home earlier.

From a letter by Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson, Conference Chairwoman, dated December 2010:

To save time, these are the changes proposed:


Seriousness of the crime will no longer be used as a basis to deny parole.

A decision to release a parole applicant to parole shall be based upon good conduct and efficient performance of duties while confined, and preparedness for reentry and reintegration into society, thereby providing a reasonable basis to conclude that, if
such person is released, he or she will live and remain at liberty without violating the law.

There are eight factors to be considered by the Parole Board when making the release decision, some of which are new and some of which are carried over from the previous statute:

(i) readiness for reintegration as evidenced by the applicant’s institutional record pertaining to program goals and accomplishments as stated in the facility performance reports, academic achievements, vocational education, training or work
assignments, therapy and interpersonal relationships with staff and other sentenced persons, and other indications of prosocial activity, change and transformation;

(ii) performance, if any, as a participant in a temporary release program; (contained in existing statute)

(iii) release plans, including community resources, employment, education and training and support services available to the
parole applicant; (contained in existing statute)

(iv) any deportation order...; (contained in existing statute)

(v) any statement, whether supportive or critical, made to the Parole Board by the crime victim or victim’s representative to assist the Parole Board in determining whether at this time there is reasonable cause to believe that the release of the parole
applicant would create a present danger to the victim or the victim’s representative, or would assist the Board in determining the extent of the parole applicant’s readiness for reintegration;

(vi) the length of the determinate sentence to which the parole applicant would be subject had he or she received a determinate sentence for a felony drug offense; (contained in existing statute)

(vii) participation and performance, if any, in a reconciliation or restorative justice-type conference with the victim or the victim’s representative;

(viii) in the case of a reappearance, the progress made towards the completion of the specific requirements previously set forth by the Parole Board for the parole applicant. 

In the event that parole is not granted, the Parole Board will be required to state in detail and not in conclusory terms the reasons for the denial and the specific requirements for actions to be taken, programs or accomplishments to be completed, changes in performance or conduct to be made, or corrective action or actions be taken, in order to qualify for parole release at the next Parole Board appearance.

There are probably many of you concerned as I was that this might mean that violent felons, sex offenders, terrorists, etc. would get out only to continue havoc on society, but there are "Safeguards are also in place through this law, the Prison and Parole Systems to keep the most violent offenders behind bars (1st degree murder, life without parole, terrorism, incest, violent sex offenders, etc)"  as reads one petition.

I encourage you to sign the Merit Time/S.A.F.E. Parole Act petitions as soon as possible, and please share and ask your friends and family to do the same!

Merit Time (@ )

S.A.F.E. Parole Act (@ )

Thank you for reading...and signing.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Idle Thoughts Of A Wandering Mind:

Idle Thoughts Of A Wandering Mind:
I planted some bird seed. 
A bird came up. 
Now I don't know what to feed it 
I had amnesia once---or twice 

I went to San Francisco . 
I found someone's heart. Now what? 

Protons have mass? 
I didn't even know they were Catholic. 


All I ask is a chance to prove that money can't make me happy 

If the world were a logical place, 
Men would be the ones who ride horses sidesaddle. 


What is a "free" gift? 
Aren't all gifts free? 


They told me I was gullible 
And I believed them. 


Teach a child to be polite and courteous in the home 
And, when he grows up, 
He'll never be able to merge his car onto the freeway. 


Experience is the thing you have left 
When everything else is gone. 


One nice thing about egotists: 
They don't talk about other people. 


My weight is perfect for my height-- 
Which varies. 


I used to be indecisive. 
Now I'm not sure. 


How can there be self-help "groups"? 

If swimming is so good for your figure, 
How do you explain whales? 


Show me a man with both feet firmly on the ground, 
And I'll show you a man who can't get his pants off. 


Is it me --or 
Do buffalo wings taste like chicken?

(Disclaimer: I am not responsible for the content here, it was in an email I received, but I hope you enjoyed it!)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Little Red

The red squirrel I've named "Little Red"

In the days that I have been absent from my blog, several things have happened, but the most exciting is that I have finally met our resident red squirrel. I knew we had one that visited the pines at the edge of the yard, but didn't realize that he lived 'local'!  

My first photo of Little Red, about a week and a half ago,
playing under some pines

My second photo of Little Red, playing in our back yard
about a week later!

I didn't discover that little fact until a few days ago, when I was walking to the mailbox. I saw Little Red run up our big tree in front of the house, but didn't have my camera with me (I mean who walks to the mailbox with their camera?) so I waited perhaps about 20 minutes and then quietly snuck back out and Little Red actually sat and let me get photos of him as he nibbled on a morsel he must have found.

Very watchful as he sat on a piece of curled-up bark

It almost looks like he's eating a green grape!

Must be good!

And still watching me....

Lunch is finished...

Look at how long his nails are!

I was really pleased with the way these photos turned out, but imagine my delight, when Little Red decided to get even braver still and came up onto the back deck this morning where I was sitting, to lick the sugar residue that had fallen from the Hummingbird feeder! What follows is the sequence of photos I took:

He acted like he/she had no fear of me what-so-ever

I didn't realize that squirrels like sugary stuff!

Look at him go to town in the next photos!


Alert, but not afraid

He climbed up on the railing and had a royal feast!

He's lovin' it!

He stayed quite a few minutes cleaning up the sugar!

Lick, lick, lick!

Then he turned this way...

and that way...

and he couldn't bear to leave any behind...

then back to the top...

and had to get the outside too!

After several minutes, he hopped off the deck, ran across the yard and climbed the shed to sit on the roof for a few minutes.

Go Little Red go!

Checking out his territory?
He soon got off the shed, played around the back side of it for a bit, then ran around the garage and went 'home'. I've seen him a few times since then but not close to the back or side decks, but apparently he got his fill of sugars for today!

(Okay, I have an admission here...I don't know if this is one and the same red squirrel in each batch of photos, as I have seen two of them playing in the back yard. Nor do I know whether they are male or female...I haven't had the fortune to be able to 'see'!)

Thanks for stopping by...I hope you enjoyed Little Red!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Physical therapy to Cortisone shots

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles
and tendons that form a cuff over the
shoulder. These muscles and tendons
hold the arm in its "ball and socket"
joint and are involved in essentially all shoulder motions.

Back in April, I talked about (in another blog) having to go to physical therapy for pain that I was having in both shoulders...and had lost my strength and range of motion in both arms. While in PT, I found out that my muscles from my neck to my lower back had seized. Not good.

I remained in PT for a few weeks, until I was able to get in to see an orthopedic surgeon. The doctor was great...and actually took the time to show me in a medical book, what was going on with my shoulders, after he reviewed the xrays his office took of my shoulders. 

Diagnosis: tendinitis of the rotor cuff.

Tearing and inflammation of the tendons of the shoulder
muscles can occur in sports which require the arm to be
moved over the head repeatedly as in tennis, pitching, swimming,
and lifting weights. Most often the shoulder will heal if a
break is taken from the activities that caused the problem
and pain. Intermittent ice packs applied to the shoulder and
non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can also
help reduce inflammation and pain.
He explained that although surgery is an option, he did want to put me under the knife unless he absolutely had to. Instead, he said he wanted to try cortisone in both shoulders. I agreed to try anything...once. I certainly didn't want to have surgery!

In the diagrams that I have added here, I am very surprised to see that where the tendons are in both shoulders and that run down the arm from the shoulder is "exactly" where I was having extreme pain.

An inflammation of the shoulder joint can
cause pain and restricted joint movement
I have had cortisone shots before, one in my right shoulder and one in my neck about 10 years ago, so I wasn't worried about the pain or discomfort the shots would cause as they were given to me. And as I expected...there was pressure, but not really any significant pain. (And to think the needle was IN my joint!)

However, the next two days were living Hell for me. The pain was worse than it was going into PT! I could barely move. And the sad thing is, I wasn't 'warned' that this might happen.

But as the pain passed...I was like "Wow!" I had full movement again and best of all...

NO pain!  None!

Whew...what a blessing those shots were!!! 

In two weeks, I return to see the doctor for a follow-up, and I am sure he is going to be pleased with the results. I know I am.

As for physical was my choice to continue going...or not...and I chose not to. Over-all, my neck and back feel good, and I have no complaints at this point.

Take care...D

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Looking up at the clouds

What do you see???

Even as a child, the sky has always been mysteriously beautiful to me. I can't remember there ever being a time that I wasn't looking up...watching the sky, the clouds and even storms rolling in. 

What follows, is a journey through the last week of such sky-watching.

The photo above was taken on a gray day, but the clouds did not bring the much needed rain.
sunset 5/15
I love when I can capture the rays coming off the clouds like this one.

Sometimes the clouds roil and roll...often before a storm, but not always.

This was a storm from building...5/21/2012

And building...

This one looks like an explosion behind the tree!
 Sometimes...the colors put me in awe, as well as the way the layers of clouds do:

I love the depth of colors and layers...
Here's another, only minutes later
The following night, May 22nd, these were what we were seeing at sunset:

Notice again the well as the height that can be

This one was in the opposite direction but building at the same
time. This is what became a thunderhead.

From a distance...not so menacing...

And the first photo (above) flattened-out some, and the sun add some
coloring to it as well.
Not always is the sky so violent-seeming...there are days that pass where there are smaller clouds that scud across the sky...


Random shapes and sizes...5/31/2012
The next four photos are probably my favorite. It looks like an airbrush painted the sky!


Amazing that the clouds create wisps like this, you know? 


And tonight, the clouds...well, I'll let you see for yourself:

This was at 4:00 this afternoon...6/5/2012
Then, to my left:

This was about 30 minutes later...and this is only half of the
whole sky...
And above the house: 

The clouds continued to form a line that separated it clear
across the sky.

And this is where the 'tear' began in the clouds.
Every once in a while, I get a lucky shot as I am driving down the road, and this last one was just that...a lucky shot. Barely visible in the fog, rises a wind turbine.

A lone turbine almost completely hidden by the fog.
Thanks for stopping by...I am positive that there will be more cloud photos to share in the near future!

Be well!