It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged on how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones. - Nelson Mandela
The Town of Bedford is composed of 18,000 people, including the 1000 women who reside in both of our two NYS women’s prisons: Taconic Correctional Facility and Bedford Hills Correctional Facility.
The Prison Relations Advisory Committee (PRAC) was established by a unanimous vote on a Resolution to the Town Board in December 2019 after the successful Adopt-A-Prison event, a joint venture of the Interfaith Prison Partnership Program, the Town Supervisor, and the Superintendent of both NYS women’s prisons in the Town of Bedford.
The purpose of PRAC is to:
Advise the Town Government on Prison Issues in general, and specifically issues as they relate to our two women’s prisons
To give examples and choices to the community of ways in which they could each “adopt” their local prisons and the women within, with an emphasis on “we”, rather than “they” and “us”
It is our mission to unite those on the outside with those on the inside of the prison walls; to “adopt our prisons”. We are composed of members who are committed to engaging and integrating the entire community of the Town of Bedford, regardless of which side of the prison wall one lives.
The first meeting of PRAC was January 2020. Almost immediately afterward, COVID-19 hit and we went full throttle to help our neighbors in prison by engaging the community to donate non-lye-based soap, masks, hot plates, plasticware – the list continues – in an effort to keep the women safe from the coronavirus. The “walls” between the prison and the community have become much more pliable as we see each other as the neighbors we, indeed, are.