Free Public Discussion on Prison Reform

Submitted by Library_Lady on Fri, 09/11/2009 - 14:36.
11/07/2009 - 15:00
11/07/2009 - 16:30


A Public Panel Discussion on Prison Reform will be hosted in the Louis Stokes Wing of the Cleveland Public Library on Saturday, November 7, from 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm.

The panel discussion will be moderated by Dan Moulthrop, host of the WCPN morning radio show “Sound of Ideas”.

Our guest panelists will be:

  • Mansfield B. Frazier, author of From Behind the Wall: Commentary on Crime, Punishment, Race and the Underclass by a Prison Inmate and founder of the Cleveland nonprofit organization, Neighborhood Solutions, Inc.

  • Alan Elsner, acclaimed international journalist, senior editor at Reuters and author of several books including Gates of Injustice: The Crisis in America's Prisons.

  • Frank Shewalter, warden of the Northeast Pre-Release Center located in downtown Cleveland.

Our guest panelist will discuss hot issues involving the prison system such as barriers to successful reentry, racial disparities in the justice system and ideas about reform.

You are invited to bring your thoughts, opinions and concerns, the panelists will host a 30 minute questions answer session toward the end of the program.

For further information about this program, please contact Sequoia Brown in the Social Sciences Department of Cleveland Public Library: 216-623-2860 or sbrown [at] cpl [dot] org.


Cleveland Public Library
325 Superior Avenue
Clevelenad, OH 44114
United States
flyer_front.jpg301.92 KB


Wow, what a great event and cause.  I deeply respect Mansfield and his work and look forward to learning from this whole panel!  I've cared and written about prison reform for some time now.  Kudos, great stuff.

Mansfield Frazier

  Sudhir--thanks for highlighting the line-up for this important discussion. And, folks, please mark your calendars for this not-to-be missed important discussion on Saturday, November 7th at the Main Library, 325 Superior Ave.  See above for details.

Sudhir--have you met Sequoia aka Sequoia Versillee Brown, yet?  She is an unbelievable artist, a CIA graduate, active in illustrative and fine art, and CPL is beyond lucky to have her among the many, many artists who quietly toll away in NEO.

Thank you!

Sudhir and Laura thank you for helping to promote the program (and for the kind reference to the art)! I hope we get a good crowd, the discussion and information being provided should prove useful given the level of expertise being provided by the panel.


Crash course for those serving the Spanish speaking community

  Please also see--this opportunity at Cleveland Public Library, this coming Friday, September 18th.

Librarians or anyone interested in providing services to the Hispanic community will want to attend this two-hour workshop, “A Crash Course on Library Services for the Latino Population” presented by Salvador Avila. Mr. Avila has been a library ambassador for the Spanish-speaking communities for the past 10 years. He has recently published a book, Crash Course in Serving Spanish-Speakers (Greenwood 2008) and is currently Branch Manager of Enterprise Library in Las Vegas, Nevada.

New Americans

  It breaks my heart to see New Americans in the library, desperate to find housing, school materials, job prospects.  The library is a refuge to these new Americans.  For those of you who would shun these people, look at your own family history and consider what would have happened to your relatives arriving in this country unable to speak or read the language, and cut-off from family and friends.

Let me tell you about Julia--an immigrant from Guatemala.  She comes into the library almost every week looking for help to find a job, any job.  Who will hire her?  She can read Spanish and speak Spanish, just as my grandfather who arrived in this country as an attorney in his own country, could read and speak Hungarian, German, and French, but he could not read or speak English.  In his time, he was fortunate that the community offered more assistance to new comers.  The system of sponsorship was in place and although my grandfather's desperation was exploited, as the same system in many ethnic communities continues to exploit immigrants--my grandfather and my grandmother were able to find factory work.  What does the future hold for Julia?  If she can not find the manual labor job, that she would happily accept, she will most likely apply for assistance in some form.  Or, she will return to Guatemala.  Her daughter, who attends Denison School and born here will most likely fall through the cracks.

Let me also tell you about Oretha--an immigrant from Liberia. She married her husband Marcus after her sister died in childbirth with their last child, beautiful Maxwell.  As part of her culture, she assumed the responsibility of raising her sister's children as her own.  In Africa, she ran her own business and was driven by the need to work hard and prove her intelligence.  Here, she could not read English, but she could speak the language within a few years of being here.  She and Marcus did not accept public assistance and both worked two jobs--to put their four kids through Catholic school.  But, as the kids grew older, they begain to show disrespect for their parents and to adopt street ways.  Also, Oretha could find no one to help her get steady employment, despite applying weekly at hotels and factories throughout NEO.  So, Marcus and Oretha moved to Iowa, where a larger Liberian community exists to help them preserve tradition and retain their dignity. 

This is the story told every day in NEO.  We have to extend our hand to these immigrants and make their story, the story of America.  We all lose, if we do not help these people.


Could community centers

Could community centers offer education in reading and writing English?  And education to those of us who live in the community who only speak English.. so we can learn to speak Spanish?  This way the residents of the new Ward 14 would be better able to help each other. 

I have taken Spanish classes but I still am not able to speak or read it.  I do not pick up language easily.  If I had to go to another country and learn a new language I would be in big trouble.  I understand how hard it woud be to have to learn a new language and a new culture and I think it would be beneficial to the whole community to help people who live here find a way to succeed. 

Too bad technology hasn't found a way to interpret the spoken word instantly so we would all be able to understand each other no matter what language we speak. 

And kudoes to the parents who are using the library to make their lives and the lives of their children better.  They are winners in my eyes.