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What was the process of preparing for and going to the parole board like?
It was definitely different. When you are in that position you anticipate that day and when that day comes, you’re scared [as hell]. I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t want to assume I wouldn’t make it but being in that environment, you’re used to seeing people not make it. I didn’t let that hold me back from being sincere about my responses to their questions.
How did PRP2 (Prisoners Are People, Too) support help you in the process?
The way you did my resume, the way you formatted the parole package on my behalf, that was a confidence booster. Because it looked so good, I felt more comfortable. And it was like the support though. You all reached out. You actually conversed with me through letters and e-mails. That was big. Coming from an organization, that community-based support is big for us going to the board. Having support from people you don’t know, that helps a lot. While you expect family and friends on your side, having support from the outside shows that you’ve changed from when you’ve been arrested. To have somebody else be able to see it, that helps.
Also, some don't have anybody at all, due to their time or the loss, over time, of their only supporters. Because of this, sometimes people just give up hope that that's difficult to deal with. Your organization provides hope. It provides a reason to keep trying.
What are your plans and next steps?
COVID has affected my plans. I'm considering different ideas, including construction and also some business ideas. I do have solid support right now that is helping me to get myself situated. I do have friends in the music industry, and I've been helping them out. That work is what's keeping me afloat financially.
NOTE: Floyd is having a successful reentry as he strives to be a community asset, while raising his two sons.
I am humbly following in your footsteps and I am truly grateful for all you've done and continue to do to advance the cause of justice and liberty; but most of all humanity for all of us!!! Because of you, some people now realize and recognize that "prisoners are people too!!!"
Coalition Against Isolated Confinement
Many Thanks to the legendary Karima Amin of Prisoners Are People Too for entrusting me and Bury the Violence to participate in "Kathryn's Angels" 4 week session. The "take-aways" are lifelong tools. The extensions to these sessions will benefit the Village in ways that are priceless. It's been an honor and a privilege.
Kareema Morris, August 2019
Founder of Bury theViolence
May 3, 2019
Dear Queen Karima Amin and BaBa Eng! Thank you so much for putting this together! All of the speakers did an awesome job on explaining how the people can gain power in fighting criminal "in"justice. I'm so inspired that soooo many people are here on a Friday night fighting for change.
Director, "Open Buffalo"
Wa-alaikum salaam:Things are a lot better. I feel now that since everyone has expressed his/her feelings, we can move forward knowing how we can improve in building a better family.
*Sunni (Months after Habeeb Family Conference)
My name is Gerrod Bennett. I was released from prison on June 14, 2016 after serving twenty two years. Prior to my release, PRP2 has been an ally in advocating for my release and helping with my transition. Upon being released to Buffalo, a strange city and obviously a new world after being incarcerated after so many years, I received a platform to tell my story, explore different employment prospects and be introduced to a photographer who is now doing a documentary about my transition. I am working two jobs, enrolled in college for the spring semester, and living in my own apartment. I am very thankful for the opportunities that have come my way; but even more thankful for the family- like atmosphere at PRP2. Thank you.
I support Prisoners are People Too because it is made up of many individuals who have gone to jail, did their time and then came out and started helping others to not get caught up in the system or prison industrial complex. I also support PRP2 because too many families are struggling to find ways of making the lives of their relatives, who are incarcerated, less painful. I come to meetings to show support, solidarity, and to let them know that they are not alone and also to find ways, legislatively, of assisting them.
*Betty Jean Grant
Erie County Legislator
We need Prisoners Are People Too because they understand the heart of peoples' needs, especially those who have incarcerated loved ones. They provide great assistance and information.
*Mr. and Mrs. Lee and Linda Jackson
When my son went to prison 6 years ago I knew nothing about the criminal justice system nor did I know where to turn for help. I was then guided to Karima Amin and Prisoners Are People Too and my life changed. Incarceration of a loved one impacts us all. Prisoners are People Too provides a forum that educates not only on the plight of those incarcerated; they also give voice to the families and formerly incarcerated who are struggling each and every day. We are encouraged to be proactive and speak out for a better tomorrow; a future that embraces rather than shuns those caught in the web of the criminal justice system. Karima Amin and Prisoners Are People Too are “family” in the truest sense.
*Claudia Racine, Facilitator
Prisoners Are People Too – Niagara Chapter Facilitator
Until I heard of Prisoners are People Too, I was totally oblivious to the impact that prison has on families and communities .
The vastness of the prison industrial complex was not at all in my awareness. It just never entered my mind.
The families that are separated by long distances also adds to the trauma of loneliness for the incarcerated, sometimes leading to the breakup of families, causing another disaster.
Prisoners are People Too has provided an awareness that I appreciate and I hope it will become mainstream, promoting a thinking public that will keep learning how to help.
*Dorothy R. Irwin
PRISONERS ARE PEOPLE TOO is an organization that makes the community aware of different
criminal justice issues that affect us all, in one way or another, I was introduced to the organization by my husband, the late Abu Bilal Abdur-Rahman, in September 2005. He was touched by Karima's loving, caring, and educational personality when she made a presentation at Groveland C. F. Her compassion for incarcerated individuals is definitely a gift from The Lord and I only pray that this organization continues to grow and touch people's lives and strives to make all necessary corrections.
PRP2 has been integral in helping me to understand that justice is not color blind but completely blind when it comes down to poor people. As shared in our monthly meetings, you can be totally innocent and found guilty before your trial. PRP2 has helped to bring a sense of humanity to the incarcerated while they continue to suffer inhumane conditions by our criminal justice system!!!
*James E. Payne
100 Black Men of Greater Buffalo, Inc.
As a reformed offender, I can honestly say that without "Prisoners Are People Too", Circle of Supporters preparing for my previous parole hearing would have been a very difficult task for me. My relationship with (PRP2) began in early 2009. Thereafter, networking with a circle of empathetic, compassionate and socially conscious supporters from several communities, I began to recognize the greater significance of applying myself to obtain a higher education and marketable job skills while simultaneously developing a spiritual antidote that constantly reminds me to make amends that are necessary for social redemption and atonement for my pass ignorant behavior.
Changing for the better is an imperative part of who I am today. I am committed to my faith and will never forget that I am in debt with my family and community. As a civil minded man with a positive sense of purpose, I know that striving for a better tomorrow requires present acts of good will and good work.
Prisoners Are People Too and all Circle of Supporters, I am honored and thankful to be part of a movement that is committed to in the promise of repentance, atonement and redemption. It is always a pleasure meeting with conscious minds.
In 2013, when my brother was up for his parole board appearance , I received a great amount of support and direction from Karima Amin, Founder of Prisoners Are People Too, Inc. The letters of support received from members of PRP2 along with letters of reasonable assurance reassured me that the idea of reentry to society for my loved one was not far fetched but real. It gave me hope. It gave my family hope. I am grateful that today my brother is home! I will forever be thankful for the direction I received on what to do to assist my brother during this process. Supporters and friends like Karima Amin and Brother BaBa Eng encouraged me throughout the process. I believe in the mission of Prisoners Are People Too because I know that collectively you can make a difference in the lives of families, reformed offenders, and communities when they know they have a voice. Prisoners Are People Too is that voice.