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Dee Ann Newell 
Member since Feb 27, 2012

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  • A child left unprotected

    State Rep. Justin Harris and his wife adopted a young girl through the state Department of Human Services. How did she, six months later, end up in the care of a man who sexually abused her?
    • Mar 5, 2015
  • Jean Gordon to receive Truth Teller award

    Jean Gordon, who's worked a half-century in just about every social justice and peace movement you can name, will receive the Arkansas Community Institute's 2014 Community Truth Teller Award at a program at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the library's Darragh Center
    • Nov 18, 2014
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Recent Comments

Re: “Sabin asks reconsideration of Kurrus ouster

I am outraged! As a citizen of Little Rock since birth and a strong supporter ofvpur public schools, what has happened is pure betrayal. The governor meeds to get put of our local control of pur schools. These are our schools and our children. Stop playing your partisan politics with our schools. You are creating harm for our kids-harm that is unnecessary. Dee Ann Newell

5 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Dee Ann Newell on 04/19/2016 at 7:35 PM

Re: “eStem branches out

I am personally and professionally horrified at this merger. I operated one of the oldest private secular school in the state, The Anthony School, and my mother and I did everything we knew to not hurt our public schools in Little Rock. When bigtime white flight began, we were not willing to cooperate with the many families seeking to leav3e the public schools. I am a product of LR public schools. I now have groups in our public high schools and I know what is going on. That UALR is willing to further engage e-stem tells me where their hearts and minds are. Dare they think the LR community will have any chance at cohesion and diversity when UALR sides with a charter school created by a small group of very rich men and women in Little Rock? UALR often fails the very community that sustains them with students and support. I am so suspicious of this merger and can only hope a really good investigative reporter digs into the origins of the merger. I smell money and racism in this merger. Little Rock citizens, too much has already gone down. This is a threat to our community and we have no representation such as an elected school board to support and push back. Didisoros

0 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Dee Ann Newell on 10/22/2015 at 2:54 PM

Re: “Arkansas private option continues to get rave reviews

I am deeply saddened at thegoernorand othersattempts tocraft a different and much worse health carevplan for ourstate. The ruleseems to beif Arkansas starta doing something right forits citizens, the gov't needs to change it. I attended the legislative task force with the contracted folks. All I heardwas rhetoric that made me think theconfederacy was still alive. What we will get from
This task forceand the contractorswill be a lesser option for our citizens. Care to rallevas we did under Huckabee cuts to Medicaid and Tefra-call me at 501-366-3647. Dee Ann Newell

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Dee Ann Newell on 08/26/2015 at 3:48 PM

Re: “Gov. Asa Hutchinson: DHS is caught up on Medicaid eligibility verification, process to resume (including cancellations)

He has no idea what the PO has meant to the formerly uninsured in our poor state, and does not care. Doesn't affect him, doesn't matter. Didisoros

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Dee Ann Newell on 08/18/2015 at 7:15 PM

Re: “'Daddy Jack" Fryer reported killed by his brother

Jack was a childhood friend and a late adulthood friend. We served people in prison and those coming home from prison. He was an amazing advocate and I admired him greatly, remembering his more rowdy days in high school. the re-entry and recovery community will greatly miss him, and he will not be forgotten. Dee Ann Newell

47 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Dee Ann Newell on 05/26/2015 at 8:29 PM

Re: “'Video visitation' expanding in Arkansas jails

Thank you to the Arkansas Times for writing about the existing and the looming video visitation services for families of the incarcerated in our jails and prisons. I have feared this technology and its potential for harm ever since SCOTUS ruled that prisoners have no rights to visits, nor their children (Bazetta v. Overton). Certainly, in-person visits can be costly due to the need to provide security for the visits, but, once more, the costs are greatly offset by the value of an in-person visit to the children and most visits serve as motivations for the incarcerated parent to abide by the rules and maintain positive behavior. I have talked with wardens throughout the country during my Soros Fellowship who have created more child-friendly visits and they often report that the culture of their facilities is enhanced with more cooperation and positive reactions when visits are contact and facility emphasizes the value of parent-child contact visits.

But, again, the importance of the parent-child visits includes the maintenance of the relationship of the parent and child. A Skype session does very little to improve the relationship. I am sure the families of deployed soldiers, as well as prisoners and their families, appreciate the video visits, especially when the distances are too great to travel. Video visits are very valuable in these cases. I worked in Montana during my Soros Fellowship in 14 states to improve practices and policies for the children of the incarcerated, and the video visiting for the children in the many reservations in Montana met the needs as most the children on the reservations, as the state has their prisons on mostly one side of the state with the reservations on the other side--800-1,000 miles away, making visits very unlikely.

In this context, the Bill of Rights for Children of the Incarcerated distills one of the rights as the right to see, feel and touch my parent, and suggest that we site our prisons closer to the heavily populated areas of where the families live. Easier to do in large urban states, but harder in a rural state like Arkansas.

I am hopeful that our state prison board and directors do not pursue video visiting, as the funds could be better used for our families by providing funding to help with travel and overnight stays rather than resorting to this sort of poor contact. ADC has a history of intermittent efforts to become more child-friendly, but the agency and the board are often neglectful of the consideration of the children's needs. There is not a uniform policy to support parent-child contact.

I am also hopeful that the policies that may be adopted for visiting a parent in prison will focus on the intrinsic value of an in-person, contact visit, and public support will be visible to the correctional systems that children must be consider in their practices. There is research-based evidence that strong family ties reduce recidivism at a six times greater rate, meaning contact visits. Video visits help families with great distances, as in the federal system, but rather than purchasing the equipment for videoconferencing in our jails, we could support the costs of traveling with these funds. We will all benefit from sustaining these families, not destroying them.

Dee Ann Newell

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Dee Ann Newell on 04/02/2015 at 12:36 PM

Re: “Jean Gordon to receive Truth Teller award

I love this woman who has stood up for the most marginalized among us, coming with her dear husband to a spaghetti dinner in the 1990's for children of prisoners and their familie3s in the middle of McAlmont. Her work for peace cannot be overstated, or her simple kindnesses to so many. This honor is long overdue and my hat is off to Neal and his terrific organization. May we all be so fortunate to know Jean and to thank her for her pursuit of peace and justice.

Dee Ann Newell

22 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Dee Ann Newell on 11/18/2014 at 2:00 PM

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