Spring/Summer 2013
Table of Contents


JPC Hosts its 41st Annual Fundraising Luncheon feat. RPD Chief James Sheppard: "From Prison to Paycheck"
by Dan Iler, JPC Board Member


       On April 25, 2013, the weather was warm and the hearts were even warmer as the JPC's 41st Annual Fundraising Luncheon was held at Temple B'rith Kodesh. The luncheon was prepared by the Green Zebra Catering Company, which served a delectable spread. A glorious time was had by all of the 200+ well-wishers - benefactors and supporters of JPC's efforts to make our community safer and richer through providing programs and services to those who are attempting to put their best foot forward in re-entering society. The topic of a panel of individuals who have made it their life work to ease re-entry of the recently incarcerated into society was "Prison to Paycheck." As one would gather from the name of the theme, addressed were the special challenges faced by ex-offenders seeking employment.



RPD Chief James Sheppard delivers his keynote address,  

Rochester Police Department Chief of Police James M. Sheppard was the Keynote Speaker and he shared vignettes of his own journey, which took him from the streets of Atlanta to Rochester as the face of police enforcement. Chief Sheppard's talk led off a panel consisting of several people from different organizations involved in the job search, and its facilitation for formerly incarcerated individuals. The challenges faced by these people, human beings that may have played Little League beside your own children, are immense. In this day and age of gathering as much information as possible on potential employees the job search is especially daunting for the ex-convict. In a sense it may feel like a second sentence has been handed-down to those who seek employment when they leave jail. The panel of experts consisted of:                 

  • Deborah Blair, a person who used the programs offered by JPC to overcome employment barriers that she faced;
  • JPC- board member John Busby, Esq., who works in re-entry with MCLAC (Monroe County Legal Affairs Commission);            
  • Shontay Fluitt, another user of JPC programs to overcome employment barriers;
  • Bobbie Jeffries, Career Services Advisor at Rochester Works!;
  • Craig Johnson, Director of Monroe County Jail Drug/Alcohol Programs; and
  • Dianne Perry, Case Manager and Community Outreach specialist at Grace House of Rochester.

            The panel gave their experience and observations of the effect of incarceration on the employment situation in Monroe County. For sure, as valuable and informative as the panel was, this was only the beginning of the "re-entry to employment conversation" in Rochester and will be a topic further addressed by JPC.

     The program concluded with JPC's awards, which were presented to several deserving and dedicated individuals who have given so much of their valuable time and effort to JPC and its efforts . The luncheon was another success story, tracking the value of JPC to the Rochester community. Our success is your success and it will continue with the help of our contributors and benefactors, as we continue our fight for the rights of ex-offenders.                    





The Status of the Death Penalty in the U.S.
 Guest Commentary By JPC Board Member Barbara A. Rockell, Ph.D



On Thursday, May 2, Maryland became the 18th state in this country to abolish the death penalty after Governor Martin O'Malley signed a bill repealing capital punishment passed by the state legislature this past March.   In a statement released by his office, the Governor explained his action by noting the ineffectiveness of the penalty in deterring crime, as well as its expense, which was said to be three times that of the alternative sanction of life without parole. O'Malley also cited the inherent racial bias shown to be associated with the penalty's administration and the irreversibility of the sanction in cases of wrongful convictions. The new law, which will go into effect on October 1, replaces capital punishment with a sentence of life without parole.


In commenting on Maryland's action, Richard Dieter, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC), reported that the state joins five other jurisdictions that have abolished capital punishment either legislatively or based on constitutional issues since 2007. Moreover, in the DPIC's year-end report for 2012, Dieter hailed the near record low number of death sentences for the year (77) and the fact that fewer states (9) are carrying out executions, with the 2012 total equaling that for 2011 (43).   The DPIC also noted that over half of the states (30) either do not have the death penalty or have not carried out an execution in five years and nearly half (23) have not done so in 10 years.


While the death penalty picture appears to be changing at the national level with fewer executions taking place in only a handful of states, certain more ominous signs remain in individual states. The legislature in Florida, for example, has passed a bill to speed up executions for death row inmates by placing time limits on the governor's approval of execution warrants and the date by which an execution must take place, as well as new deadlines for death row appeals. That bill is currently under consideration by Florida Governor Rick Scott.      


For additional and continuous information on the status of the death penalty in the United States, please visit www.deathpenaltyinfo.org.





We're Raising the Rent!  
Dear JPC friends,
We're raising the rent! That means we're asking our donors to contribute $1000 a month or part of that to pay for JPC's very reasonable rent over the next year. Not only are we raising it for one year, we have a generous anonymous donor who is matching your donations for rent up to $12,000 and providing rent for a second year.

Please watch for the letter requesting your donation - which will be doubled if you donate by July 1, 2013.  Please consider $1,000 (for one month), $500 (for two weeks), $250 (for one week), all paid to our new tenant, the Waring Road Baptist Chruch, 1921 Norton Street, Rochester (14609).

Thanks in advance for your help.

Suzanne Schnittman, Board President


Stay in Touch with JPC via Social Media!

JPC is on Facebook and Twitter! Please 'like' us, 'follow' us, and stay in touch!

If you have any materials you would like us to share on our pages, please contact JPC Board Member Ana Liss, who manages our social media presence.

She can be reached at [email protected] or 585-474-7326


JPC is like a shining little diamond. It is a small organization that tackles a big and difficult job. We obtain excellent results, at the cost of a shoestring, and do it with a high concern for each individual. We're what a non-profit should be.