Highlights – October 5th Community Conversation at the Ossining Public Library

Our inaugural Community Conversation took place on October 5, at the Ossining Public Library.  As the home town for the Sing Sing Prison Museum, the group of more than 40 attendees was especially warm and engaged. Video clips will be loaded soon.


  • From the presentation on Sing Sing’s history:  “Shall our prisons be scrap heaps or human repair shops?” Thomas Mott Osborne, Warden, Sing Sing Prison, 1914-1916

A few take-aways from the session:

Cheryl Roberts, Greenburger Center: Ms. Roberts provided a brief narrative of trends in incarceration that lend urgency to an exploration of this topic.  She brought particular attention to the challenges faced by those with mental illness when they are confronted with the criminal justice system.

Sean Pica, Hudson Link: Mr. Pica noted the consistently positive impact of education in reducing recidivism.  He asked that we look beyond just the recidivism statistic to see the additional impact of education: positive contributions to local communities, stronger family relationships, and powerful role models.

Roger Panetta, Educator, Historian:  Mr. Panetta spoke about an ongoing challenge that will exist for the Sing Sing Prison Museum in balancing prurient interest in incarceration with fostering critical perspective on effective rehabilitation and reform.  He closed our evening with a provocative question:  Do we believe, as a society, that there are broken people who cannot be reformed?

Would you like to comment on this event?  Please send your thoughts to connections@wlsmail.org; provide your first name and your town of residence for attribution.