Just as International CURE (Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants) is a support organization for the rights of international prisoners, NC-CURE is a great example of one of their state chapters.
In the hope that you will consider becoming a member of your state's chapter of CURE I am enclosing excerpts from NC-CURE's promotional information. This should give you a good idea of what
CURE does on both the national-level and state-level. A modified (edited) form of the text reads as follows:
About CURE National
CURE is a grassroots, nonprofit, criminal justice reform organization. CURE began in Texas in the 1970s and became a National Chapter in 1985. CURE leaders come from the ranks of people formerly in prison, family members of prisoners, and other concerned citizens. Its leaders and members run and operate their own state chapters and act autonomously, all of which is on a volunteer basis. However, they receive support when needed from International CURE, Issue Chapters, and Chapters throughout the country. These people are volunteers who dedicate their time and energy to improving the criminal justice system on many levels.
The vast majority of CURE's funding comes from membership dues and contributions made by prisoners, their family members, and others. The majority of money that state chapters receive goes toward the cost of postage and printing. Printed materials mailed out by CURE leaders educate CURE’s members about the criminal justice system. In addition to keeping members abreast of legislative changes and policy, CURE helps to educate members on how they can improve the system themselves. After all, an informed member is a powerful member.
In October of 2005, National CURE changed their name to International CURE. The headquarters for International CURE is now in Washington, DC. The purpose of International CURE is to set
organizational policy and assist state chapters with support for their activities. Recent issues have included the Equitable Telephone Charges (ETC): a national campaign to reduce the exorbitant costs of prisoner's phone calls. CURE has also strongly supported the U.S. House of Representatives' Second Chance Act.
NC-CURE: North Carolina CURE
North Carolina CURE (NC-CURE) has been operating informally for several years. In November of 2008, advocates and members came together to form a Board of Directors. In 2009, North Carolina
CURE filed for their non-profit status with the State of North Carolina. Although NC-CURE is young, their leadership offers a dynamic and diverse background in working with correctional issues. Their leaders have a wealth of experience in dealing with issues from the perspective of the people incarcerated, their families, and others. NC-CURE, for many reasons, has become the primary resource for prisoners in North Carolina and the problems they face. In essence, NC-CURE has become the voice of the incarcerated in North Carolina.
What NC-CURE Does
NC-CURE's main priority is educating members on how they can advocate to bring positive change to the criminal justice system and prison conditions. NC-CURE communicates with members through correspondence, telephone contact, email, newsletters, brochures, and word of mouth. Correspondence received may be simple inquiries about what services are available to people incarcerated. NC-CURE’s response to such correspondence might just require providing members with information from the North Carolina Department of Corrections' (NC DOC) policy and procedures.
NC-CURE also receives letters of a more serious and heart wrenching nature, about medical issues, abusive treatment, lack of basic supplies, the inmate grievance process, and long-term segregation. Prisoners write to them with a variety of issues. However, NC-CURE dos not provide legal research, legal advice, or referrals. This is because they are not attorneys. Nevertheless,
NC-CURE's volunteers often contact the NC DOC administration or the prison facility directly when working to resolve issues that affect a prisoner's quality of life. Additionally, they may elect to use alternative resources such as the North Carolina legislator and other interested advocates. Furthermore, NC-CURE works painstakingly to initiate the recognition of the thousands of families in North Carolina impacted in many ways due to loved ones incarcerated; an often forgotten disadvantaged subgroup.
NC-CURE works hard to develop positive relationships with, and understanding between, offenders and their communities, their families and friends, and correctional professionals. They support and respect human dignity and advocate for the protection and welfare of all offenders. NC-CURE believes that by providing opportunities for self-improvement, offenders will be better prepared for reentry into their communities; as well as becoming productive and responsible members of society. Beyond this, it is their desire to be able to provide support to families of the incarcerated and to create positive working relationships with correctional authorities and others who are interested in reform of the Criminal Justice System.
NC-CURE notes that it would be impossible to achieve many of their goals without entering into coalitions and working relationships with other organizations. They understand that research and
policy organizations can provide direction for advocacy and serve to aid in educating their members on important issues. As NC-CURE sees it, sometimes the only way to achieve a policy change is to enter into coalition with a group of organizations that share the same interests and common goals. For example, often the best way to help their members is to refer them to another organization that deals specifically with the problem at hand. NC-CURE is also known to seek information from and/or partnerships with other organizations including: Disability Rights NC, North Carolina Center for Actual Innocence, FAMM (Families Against Mandatory Minimums), The Bazelon Law Center, TAC (Treatment Advocacy Center), ACLU, Department of Justice, and Office of Americans with Disabilities, to name a few.
~To encourage better visiting conditions so that incarcerated persons can maintain family relationships while in prison, thus increasing their chances of success once released.
~To promote improved conditions of confinement and enforce restriction on the time prisoners are kept in solitary confinement.
~To advocate for educational opportunities that help prisoners find worth in themselves, and become more aware of their relationship and responsibility to society.
~To advocate for improved medical and mental health treatment programs for those incarcerated, and to emphasize the humane treatment, dignity, and respect of prisoners.
~To expand drug, alcohol, and sex offender treatment programs in prisons and communities.
~To advocate for parole procedures that give serious consideration to prisoners when they become eligible for parole.
~To advocate change through the legislative process by creating a national and local constituency who work to educate lawmakers of the need for correctional policy reform.
~To support a moratorium on the death penalty.
If all of this sounds like the kind of organization that you would like to support, please contact International CURE at http://www.internationalcure.org. Or, if you live in North Carolina, you can contact NC-CURE directly at the following:
P.O. Box 49572
Charlotte, NC 28277
Author's Note: The body of this post was taken from promotional materials that NC-CURE sent me in the mail. The only changes made to the document were an edit and other minor word changes to keep the tense/discussion focused on NC-CURE. Hence, the original document is slightly different.