CRANSTON, R.I. – April 16, 20008 – With prom and graduation season upon us, the Rhode Island Department of Corrections and the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office are pleased to announce a public safety initiative aimed at raising awareness of the devastating consequences of underage drinking and driving and reckless driving. Last week, a letter signed by Corrections Director A.T. Wall II and Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch went to high school principals in the state inviting their schools’ participation in the Zero Fatalities Project. The initiative involves busing 11th and 12th grade students from high schools across the state to the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI) to attend panel sessions of pre-selected inmates doing long sentences for DUI- and reckless driving-related offenses. The panelists will speak about their crimes, the effects of their poor choices, and their incarceration.
A press conference announcing the Zero Fatalities Project, a collaborative effort involving many agencies with an interest in this critical statewide issue, will be held outside of the John J. Moran Medium Security facility, located at the end of West Road on the John O. Pastore Complex, on Tuesday, April 22nd, at 2 p.m. In addition to Attorney General Lynch and Corrections Director Wall, speakers will include RI Family Court Chief Justice Jeremiah S. Jeremiah Jr., RI Police Chiefs Association President and Warwick Police Chief Col. Stephen M. McCartney, RI State Police Superintendent Col. Brendan Doherty, MADD RI Executive Director Gabrielle Abbate, and DOT Director Michael Lewis.
The Zero Fatalities Project will consist of small panels of inmates speaking to groups of up to 200 students at a time, with two presentations to be held each Wednesday from the end of April through the end of May. Evening sessions will also be scheduled for interested parent and community groups from around the state. All reservations should be made through Tracey Z. Poole, Chief of Information and Public Relations at the RIDOC, at (401) 462-2609, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Principals, teachers, and guidance counselors for Rhode Island’s public and private high schools are invited to attend a kick-off panel presentation at the Moran facility’s Visiting Room on Wednesday, April 23rd, at 10:30 a.m., so that they can see for themselves how powerful this program is and return to their schools to encourage attendance.
Through the cooperative efforts of many people, both in state government and the private sector, organizers of the initiative are close to finalizing arrangements to provide transportation to and from the ACI for schools requesting it. Parental permissions for students will be the responsibility of the schools. The model for the presentation will be similar to that of the long-running Special Community Outreach Education (S.C.O.R.E.) Program administered through the RI Family Court under the auspices of the RIDOC, with some differences. There will only be 2-3 inmates speaking, the focus will be on DUI-and reckless driving-related offenses, Assistant Attorney General Jay Sullivan will give an overview presentation, and a victim or relative or friend of a victim will participate in the panels as well. Students will have the opportunity to ask questions of all participants. The parent sessions will be scheduled on Thursday or Sunday evenings depending on demand.
Member of the press who wish to attend the press conference, school administrators interested in attending the 23rd kick-off or in registering groups from their schools for a Wednesday session, and parent or community groups interested attending an evening session should contact Tracey Poole, RIDOC’s Chief of Information and Public Relations, at 462-2609 or via e-mail at email@example.com.