Katal Newsletter - February 8, 2018

In this issue:

Criminal Justice Reform Lobby Day

Calling for a Harm Reduction Approach to the Overdose Epidemic

Criminal Justice Reform Groups Respond to Gov Cuomo's Agenda


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Ready to take action? On Tuesday, February 13, Katal will join other criminal justice reform groups and public defenders in Albany for a lobby day to demand comprehensive reforms including bail, speedy trial, and discovery. The agenda for the day includes a rally and speak-out to call for reforms that would end wealth-based detention, and dramatically reduce New York’s jail population.

Transportation will be provided for folks traveling from New York City, and lunch will be provided for all. To RSVP for the lobby day, fill out this form.


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Calling for a Harm Reduction Approach to the Overdose Epidemic

This week, the debate about how elected officials, law enforcement, and communities should respond to the overdose epidemic continued and Keith Brown, Katal's Director of Health & Harm Reduction, weighed in. He was featured in several media outlets in Albany this week to send the message that the ongoing surge in accidental overdoses needs a harm reduction approach, rather than one based in a system of enforcement and incarceration. He warned that that the people who are convicted with drug crimes are often battling addiction themselves, selling to sustain themselves. As he noted, "the line between dealer and user is almost nonexistent." To get ahead of the problem, there must be an investment in harm reduction approaches that are centered on treatment.

Check out WNYT's article here, and an op ed from Times Union here.


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Criminal Justice Reform Groups Respond to Gov Cuomo's Agenda

In early January, New York Governor Cuomo outlined a set of values that our pretrial justice system should reflect – fairness, equity, and justice - and proposed a set of reforms intended to uphold those values. While we welcome the governor's commitment to criminal justice reform, we have deep concerns about many of the details in his reform package. To align the legislative proposals with the values outlined by the governor, critical improvements must be made.

Check out our latest statement along with an attached addendum that has suggestions as to what needs to be improved, signed by over 60 criminal justice reform groups across New York. The New York Law Journal also mentioned our concerns, which you can find here.

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