Katal Newsletter - December 20, 2018

In this issue...

Less is More in New York

Katal in Baltimore: Convening for Health & Harm Reduction

 

Less is More in New York

 

 

New York reincarcerates more people on parole for technical violations like missing an appointment with a parole officer or being late for curfew, than any state in the country except Illinois. A third of all new admissions to state prisons are entering for technical violations of parole. It is a severe problem contributing to mass incarceration.

Now, we're happy to announce the filing of the Less is More Community Reinvestment Act -- a bill to overhaul New York's approach to the flawed parole system, specifically focusing on how the state deals with technical violations and community supervision. This act would be a major step towards rolling back the scope and punitiveness of mass supervision, while funding the kinds of services, supports and opportunities that will help people coming out of prison to succeed.

Read our full press release here. 

We are proud to have helped developed this piece of legislation with sponsor, Assemblyman Walter Mosley, alongside people on parole, people currently incarcerated, our colleagues at Unchained, Columbia Justice LabLegal Aid Society, and more. The bill number is not out yet, but should be available soon.

An article in the Associated Press by David Klepper was published Tuesday about the legislation, read that here. 

 

 

The provisions of this act include:

• Restricting the use of incarceration for technical violations; limiting the length of time people can be detained violations.
• Providing earned time credits. People under community supervision would be eligible to earn a 30-day “earned time credits” reduction in their community supervision period for every 30 day period in which they do not violate a condition of supervision.
• Bolstering due process: Persons under community supervision shall be afforded a recognizance hearing in a local criminal court before they are detained, pending adjudication of an alleged violation of their conditions of release.
• Providing speedy hearings: Persons under community supervision shall be afforded a speedy adjudicatory hearing upon an alleged violation of their conditions of release.
• Reinvesting savings. Savings from these reforms will be captured and used to fund costs related to implementation of the legislation and reinvested non-profit organizations for affordable and supportive housing, treatment programs for substance abuse and mental health issues, and employment, education, and training services for those remaining under community supervision.

 

The filing of the bill marks the next step in our #LessIsMoreNY Campaign to pass this legislation and tackle the problem of mass supervision in New York state. We'll send around more details about the campaign after the first of the year. In the meantime, if you'd like to learn more, your group is interested in joining the campaign team, or you’d like to add your organization to the growing list of groups in support for the Less is More Act, please contact our Community Organizer, Cedric Fulton, at cfulton@katalcenter.org, our Director of the Women & Girls Project, Donna Hylton at dhylton@katalcenter.org, or Emily Napier Singletary at emily@weareunchained.org.

 


Katal in Baltimore: Convening for Health & Harm Reduction

 

 

Our Director of Health and Harm Reduction, Keith Brown, had the pleasure of being one of the presenters at a statewide convening of law enforcement and municipal professionals in Baltimore, Maryland. The December 7th convening focused on tools and strategies for supporting public health and harm reduction interventions. Keith spoke about how building a collaborative relationship with Capital Region law enforcement on syringe exchange built the foundation for Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD), Drug User Health Hubs, and other innovative interventions. Maryland has recently expanded the number and scope of syringe access programs and pre-arrest diversion initiatives, and an understanding of how harm reduction on behalf of law enforcement is crucial to the success of these interventions.

For more information on how to get involved in our Health and Harm Reduction work in New York, contact Keith Brown at 518.527.6263 or keith@katalcenter.org; and in Connecticut, contact Kenyatta Thompson at (860) 937-6094, or kthompson@katalcenter.org.


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