Petition for Parole for Zephyr Dresser-Peck
We, the undersigned, respectfully request that you grant parole to Zephyr Dresser-Peck at this time. In the year between his tragic accident and his sentencing his behavior has demonstrated his sincere remorse for what happened and his commitment to working to prevent similar accidents in our community. Within weeks of the accident he had accepted an invitation to join his peers in creating the Alcohol Awareness group. His friends had been working in a program to break the underage drinking cycle called AWARENESS Mentoring. They invited middle school teens to do fun activities with them to show them that you could have sober fun. In the aftermath of Zephyr's accident these kids realized that they needed to begin to educate the kids who are already drinking, and imagine themselves invincible. The group studied and underwent training with health care professionals and spent many evenings brainstorming the best way to get through to these kids. Last Spring they had created a program for kids receiving underage drinking tickets, which is now being used by several judges in Ulster County. They are required to attend a class, which includes the telling of Zephyr’s story, an assessment of their substance use followed by a motivational interview (both evidence based practices), and spending a few minutes in a jail cell and also to put in some time in a gym experiencing another way to have fun. If they are sentenced to community service, they are empowered to help the group develop new strategies on a development team supervised by the clinical supervisor. Zephyr was the coordinator of this program, following up to make sure the kids were in compliance and getting back to the judges, until he was incarcerated last May. A major component of the program is the telling of Zephyr's story. As he is no longer available to participate, a video was taped of him in prison, which is now in use. Everyone concurs that the interview with Zephyr is the most powerful part of the program. And, to meet him in person is all the more powerful. The position of coordinator is a volunteer, unpaid job and no one has stepped in to replace Zephyr as yet. He is the one person with the internal motivation to proceed with this work. And, as the kids are hoping to expand the program to make it available to judges in other counties, this position is key. Zephyr has the potential to make a difference in our community, to help to save lives now. He should be out here doing this good work, not biding his time behind bars. If he serves out his whole sentence he will already be too old for these young kids to relate to. We ask that you give him a chance to do what he can now.