Katal Newsletter - May 11, 2018

In this issue:

Katal Welcomes Donna Hylton as Senior Justice Fellow

The Connecticut Legislative Session is a Wrap

Katal at Conference on Drug Use in Upstate New York


Katal Welcomes Donna Hylton as Senior Justice Fellow

We're thrilled to announce that Donna Hylton has joined Katal as Senior Justice Fellow.  

In the criminal justice reform field, Donna is widely known and respected. For years, Donna has been deeply involved in movements for social justice around the country. She draws upon her experience imprisoned in a women's correctional facility for 27 years, with some of that time spent in solitary confinement. Now released, Donna works to build communities and secure economic, racial, and gender justice for all. 

As Senior Justice Fellow in our new Women & Girls Justice Project, Donna will work to bring awareness to the often over-looked dehumanization and criminalization of women who have been and continue to be victims of gender-based violence. 

Donna is also an accomplished writer, and her powerful new memoir, A Little Piece of Light, is due out on June 5th. The book has already generated incredible reviews -- you can check out an excerpt from the book here. A Little Piece of Light can be pre-ordered directly from the publisher, Hatchette Book Group, or you can find it at your local bookstore starting on June 5th.

You can read Donna's full bio here. Please join us in welcoming Donna to Katal! 


The Connecticut Legislative Session is a Wrap

Yesterday, the 2018 Connecticut Legislative Session came to an end -- and there was important progress made toward real criminal justice reform. 

One particularly significant bill to pass was Senate Bill 13 An Act Concerning Fair Treatment of Incarcerated Women. Led by Planned Parenthood of New England and the ACLU of CT, this legislation establishes a range of rules and reforms intended to protect the dignity and safety of incarcerated women and transgender people, and their families. Katal was proud to work with our partners in supporting this bill. You can see our memo of support for the legislation here, and our press release about the bill after it passed last week, here.

Other bills that passed this year include legislation related to accounting for mental health and PTSD impacting veterans in the criminal justice system (Senate Bill 223); assisting students without legal immigration status (Senate Bill 4); and reforming the parole practices to reduce unnecessarily long parole periods (Senate Bill 14). Katal supported all these bills; we recognize and honor the groups and people that worked so hard to pass these bills.

Unfortunately, an important bill to restore voting rights to those in parole -- House Bill 5418 -- did not pass. Katal is a proud Steering Committee member of the Full Citizens Coalition, led by Kennard Ray. With the Coalition, we will redouble our efforts on this bill in the year ahead.

For more information on our legislative efforts, or to get involved, you can reach out to Katal’s CT Policy Strategist, Louis Reed at lreed@katalcenter.org or 203-493-1086.


Katal at Conference on Drug Use in Upstate New York

Today, Katal staff is attending and speaking at a one-day conference and strategy session -- Drug Use in Upstate New York: Strategies for Change and Reducing the Harms. The conference, co-hosted by Binghamton University's Institute for Justice and Well-Being and the Drug Policy Allianceis bringing stakeholders together to learn about the problems surrounding drug use in Upstate and Central New York and the Southern Tier. Attendees will also discuss what can be done to reduce the associated harms and advance policy change. Keith Brown, Katal's Director of Health & Harm Reduction, is one of the presenters, and will be talking about harm reduction and the Albany Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) initiative. 

You can check out the full program here.

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