New York Update - November 18, 2021

In this issue...

 

Criminal Justice Reform is Under Attack

Rally on Wrongful Convictions

Quotes of the Week

 

Criminal Justice Reform is Under Attack

Following the elections at the beginning of the month, criminal justice reforms -- particularly bail reform -- have been under attack in New York. These attacks are not just coming from anti-reform Republicans and law enforcement, but Democrat leaders across the state are also succumbing to the racist fearmongering and misinformation about bail reform and its impact on public safety. 

Mayor-elect of NYC, Eric Adams has made rolling back bail reform one of his legislative priorities in Albany. He would like to add a dangerousness standard to New York’s bail laws, which will give judges more discretion to lock up legally innocent people -- disproportionately Black and brown--  pretrial, through the use of unaffordable bail. Then, just this week, Governor Kathy Hochul also said she is open to exploring changing the bail laws with the legislature in the upcoming 2022 legislative session. 

Similar to bail, #LessIsMoreNY is now facing attacks from reform opponents calling for the bill to be repealed -- we can't let that happen. 

Check out this recent video of Lorenzo Jones, our Co-Executive Director, discussing what must be done to hold the line against Adams and further rollbacks. And this week, with our partners at Unchained and A Little Piece of Light, we held our monthly #LessIsMoreNY Campaign Update call, to discuss protecting and implementing the bill. 

#LessIsMoreNY Campaign Update Call, 11/18/2021 - over 120 people registered to join us and our partners this month.

While fighting to protect the bill politically, we must also fight to make sure its implemented immediately. Here are steps you can take right now to support the #LessIsMoreNY and thwart efforts by opponents to repeal the law:

  • Use our new online action tool to contact the Governor and tell her to implement #LessIsMoreNY immediately. Take online action here.
  • To receive updates and alerts about the #LessIsMoreNY campaign, sign up here

If you have any questions about #LessIsMoreNY, please contact Melanie Dominguez at [email protected].


Rally on Wrongful Convictions

Katal member Henry speaks at Wrongful Conviction Rally outside of NYC City Hall, 11/16/2021

On Tuesday, we joined Families and Friends of the Wrongfully Convicted, VOCAL-NY, and other community groups to demand District Attorneys and newly elected officials address the wrongful conviction crisis in New York. Over the last five years, over $300 million has been spent in payments to 44 victims of wrongful convictions, yet next to nothing has been spent to vacate wrongful convictions and put in place measures to stop them from happening in the first place. Henry, a Katal member, spoke at the rally and shared his story of being incarcerated at Rikers and in state prisons. Here’s his statement from the press conference:

"The Black community knows criminalization, and being wrongfully convicted all too well. My community has been traumatized by the criminal justice system -- there is so much distrust, resentment and anger. The only way to fix this is to reckon with the trends of overcriminalization, especially with those who have been wrongfully convicted. That's why we're standing in solidarity today with the family and friends of the wrongfully convicted, and we are calling to cut the number of people incarcerated and shut jails and prisons.  And we demand District Attorney's end the punitive and illegal practices that have led to so many wrongful convictions and individuals being needlessly incarcerated. As a survivor of overcriminalization and as a survivor of Rikers, I cannot stand by silently while innocent people are being sent to these horrible facilities. I know first hand how our people are treated in prisons and jails. And I will not watch Black people suffer as their innocent loved ones are sentenced for crimes they never committed.”

To hear Henry’s full testimony at the press conference click here.


Katal Quotes of the Week

These are some of the quotes we’re thinking about this week.

"The ability of a powerful group to reward those who agree with it and punish those who don't also distorts the marketplace of ideas. This isn't about corruption - beliefs naturally shift in accord with interests. As Upton Sinclair said, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on not understanding it." The result can be an entire society twisted to serve the interests of its most powerful group." --Guatam Mukunda

"I don't believe in charity. I believe in solidarity. Charity is so vertical. It goes from the top to the bottom. Solidarity is horizontal. It respects the other person. I have a lot to learn from other people."  --Eduardo Galeano

“Never work just for money or for power. They won’t save your soul or help you sleep at night."  --Marian Wright Edelman


Sign up for the Katal Connecticut Update

Interested to receive updates about our work in Connecticut? Click here to sign up for the Katal Connecticut Update!


For printing and distribution, Katal Weekly Update PDF version.

Be safe as possible out there, and get vaccinated as soon as you can. If you want to get involved, learn more about our work, or just connect, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Katal works to strengthen the people, policies, institutions, and movements that advance equity, health, and justice. Join us: web, Twitter, Facebook! Email: [email protected] Phone: 646.875.8822.