The Westchester Library System and the Sing Sing Prison Museum, which is being developed, have announced a series of public programs called “Community Conversations: Criminal Justice, Yesterday and Today” to be held in October. The Westchester Community Foundation (WCF) is funding the series, which will focus on the 200-year history of Sing Sing and its impact on prison reform, as well as current issues of incarceration, reform, rehabilitation and return to prison.
The programs are scheduled for the Ossining Public Library Oct. 5, New Rochelle Public Library Oct. 10, Yonkers Riverfront Library Oct. 12, the Grinton I. Will Branch Library in Yonkers Oct. 17, The John C. Hart Memorial Library in Shrub Oak Oct. 26 and the Mount Kisco Public Library Oct. 28. Each session will feature a different set of panelists.
Brent Glass, director emeritus of the Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution, will moderate each event.
Laura Rossi, executive director of the WCF, said, “What’s most important to learn by participating in the Community Conversations is that every individual life has value — victims, the incarcerated, ex-offenders and corrections officers.”
The Sing Sing Prison Museum recently received its charter from the state. It plans to use the powerhouse, built in 1936, as the main museum building and connect it to a cellblock built in 1825. Visitors will be invited to experience what it must have been like to be imprisoned there during the last two hundred years.