This is main blog of FFUP, Forum for Understanding Prisons, a non profit that has been working with prisoners for almost 17 years. This blog is intended as a"connector blog", organizing the over 50 blogs FFUP has done over the years. Look in the page tabs directly below and at the side to find links to the subjects you need. Gradually,we will get this to work effectively. Please take a look.
which originated at George Washington University, is committed to the
reduction of prison overcrowding. The objective is to identify
through background investigations older inmates who pose little or no
risk of recidivism and help procure their early release.
volunteer as caseworkers and lobbyists. Caseworkers conduct thorough
investigations into the prisoner's history by interviewing the
prisoner, reviewing the prison records, searching past criminal and
medical histories, and contacting crime victims.
research and help implement legislation in North Carolina that is
consistent with the goals of POPS.
active participation, POPSs is instrumental in the reduction of
prison overcrowding and in saving the taxpayers' money.
Jonathon Turley piece POPS founder
PROJECT FOR OLDER PRISONERS
1989, I established POPS to work on the problems associated with the
growing population of older offenders. POPS began with a single
prisoner, Quenton Brown, who was incarcerated at the Angola Prison in
Louisiana. On June 7, 1973, then 50 years old and homeless, Brown
walked into a bread store in Louisiana and, at gunpoint, stole $100
and a 15-cent pie. He then crawled under a nearby house where he
remained until the police arrived. After his arrest, Louisiana
determined that Mr. Brown had an I.Q. of 51—the intelligence of a
three-year-old child. After a one-day trial, Mr. Brown was given a
30-year sentence without chance of parole. He had served 16 years
when I first met him.
a matter of weeks, I was deluged by letters from close to one hundred
older and geriatric prisoners, who heard I was representing an older
prisoner for free. This number was striking in a state with such
extreme overcrowding that it had to rent out cells in local jails for
a significant percentage of its population. With the help of my
students, POPS was born. We set out to develop new approaches to this
population, including evaluative measures to isolate low-risk
prisoners and policies to reduce the costs of this population while
improving care for individual prisoners.
works on both national and local aspects of this problem, and POPS
continues to gather data on the special costs and necessities of this
population. Hundreds of law students have been trained in POPS and
are now practicing attorneys. All that is required is for a state to
request such a program, give POPS researchers access to the prison
population, and enlist the participation of one or more law schools.
POPS/DC will help any law school establish an academic program and
regional office for work in a given state. POPS largely performs
three functions in this area: individual case evaluations, state
reports and recommendations for reform, and legislative drafting.
students work without compensation and the project does not charge
for its services. When assigned a case, POPS students first interview
prisoners over the age of 55. Each prisoner is then evaluated
according to a long, comprehensive questionnaire that explores the
prisoner’s criminal history, chemical dependence history, health,
employment background, and family background. This information is
generally taken from interviews with the inmate, review of the prison
files, interviews with the correctional staff, and a search of all
courts and news files available on LEXIS/NEXIS and Westlaw. POPS
generally uses two different recidivism tests to gauge the risk of an
individual inmate. If the inmate appears low risk on both tests, the
student presents the case to the other POPS students.
the students vote to go forward, the student then attempts to contact
any victims or surviving family members as part of our victim
consultation stage. POPS was one of the first organizations to make
such interviews mandatory. Victim interviews can reveal
inconsistencies in an inmate’s account or simply show a level of
violence or aggression that does not appear in a written record. In
states allowing conditional paroles, victims are asked what
conditions would make them feel more comfortable with a release.
the inmate’s case is still viable, the case worker then proceeds to
determine how a prisoner will live upon release. Specifically, the
student confirms any benefits, such as veteran’s benefits or social
security payments, which the inmate may be entitled to receive. If
the prisoner has a supportive family offering long-term housing, the
student confirms who owns the house, who lives in the house, and the
space available for the prisoner. The student further confirms
whether anyone in the house has a criminal record. Finally, if the
prisoner is able to work, the student works with any family or
friends to confirm employment upon release.
all of these facts have been ascertained, the case is presented a
final time to the POPS members. If approved, the student then submits
the comprehensive findings and recommendations to the appropriate
parole or pardon board. The POPS model has been endorsed by leaders
from both parties and state commissions in states like California.