Partner Event: St. John the Divine: Close Conversation: Incarceration
From the Inside Looking Out
From the Outside Looking In
How does it feel to be incarcerated?
How difficult is the transition into society?
Elizabeth Howard, Madeleine L'Engle Fellow at the Cathedral, in conversation with Robert Pollock, editor of The Named and the Nameless: 2018 Prison Writing Awards Anthology, Samuel Cabassa, Certified Recovery Peer Advocate, and Lanetta Hill, a supervisor of Services for the Underserved.
Samuel Cabassa, Lanetta Hill and Robert Pollock have experienced being incarcerated in New York State prisons.
Bruce J. MacLeod, Jr., president of the Cathedral Board and director emeritus, Hudson Links for Higher Education, will introduce the program.
Illustration: Robert Pollock,"Witness to Murder," by Michael Lambrix: The Named and the Nameless
This "Close Conversation" is one of the programs of The Value of Sanctuary Exhibition, Building a House Without Walls that is currently on view at the Cathedral.
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Formed in 1998, Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison provides college education, life skills and re-entry support to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated men and women to help them make a positive impact on their own lives, their families and communities, resulting in lower rates of recidivism, incarceration and poverty. Bruce MacLeod joined the Board in 1999 served for two terms as President of the Board. He is currently the President of the Board of Trustees for the Cathedral for St. John the Divine.
Robert Pollock is PEN America’s Prison Writing coordinator. For over a decade, he has worked with the justice system and its intersection with the arts. He is an ongoing participant in Rehabilitation Through the Arts, Musicambia, Refoundry, and Carnegie Hall’s Musical Connections Advisory Committee. He has collaborated with the Fortune Society, Osborne Association, and participated in workshops and panels at several universities to advocate for the power of the arts in prison education and rehabilitation. As a visual artist, he illustrated the picture book for children of incarcerated parents, Sing Sing Midnight, which is used in therapeutic settings around the country. As a singer-songwriter, his compositions have been heard at the Obama White House, the RFK Human Rights Foundation, Create Justice forums, the New York Ethical Society, and Carnegie Hall.
Lanetta Hill is a Senior Case Manager at Services for the Underserved, which provides a number of services for individuals and families dealing with homelessness. She served 13 years of a 15 year sentence. Ms. Hill is a single parent with four children. She is a motivational speaker utilizing her experiences to inspire and educate others.
Samuel Cabassa is a Certified Recovery Peer Advocate, certified by the NYS Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services at the New York City Health and Hospital Corporation. At Eugenio María de Hostos Community College of The City University of New York, Mr. Cabassa trains others to become certified Recovery Coaches. He has a daughter and four grandchildren and enjoys reading, college and pro football, and for the past 40 years, he has enjoyed cooking vegetarian food. From 1982 to 2017, Mr. Cabassa served a 34-year prison sentence in various upstate correctional facilities.
Elizabeth Howard is currently the Cathedral's Madeleine L'Engle Fellow. Her books include Ned O’Gorman: A Glance Back (editor, Easton Studio Press, 2015), A Day with Bonefish Joe (David R. Godine, 2015), and Queen Anne’s Lace and Wild Blackberry Pie (Thornwillow Press, 2011).