Weekly Update - May 14, 2020
In this issue...
Silent Protest at Gov. Lamont’s Mansion: #FreeThemNowCT
New York: One Step Forward?
Silent Protest at Gov. Lamont’s Mansion:
Signs created by Katal members and families of people incarcerated in CT jails and prisons plastered onto the gates of Gov. Lamont’s mansion.
This week, family members of incarcerated individuals and Katal members gathered outside Governor Lamont’s mansion for a silent protest, placing signs on the gates calling for the immediate release of people from Connecticut jails and prisons due to COVID-19. Lamont has failed to take action to protect the lives of incarcerated people in the face of COVID-19, and has refused to meet with family members of incarcerated loved ones to discuss a plan to protect incarcerated people during the pandemic.
Katal members hold up signs demanding immediate action from Gov. Lamont, after being asked by his staff to leave the driveway of his mansion.
As of today, 526 incarcerated people and 366 Department of Corrections staff have tested positive for the coronavirus, and the number of positive COVID-19 cases is growing in jails and prisons across the state. Lamont’s continued inaction in the midst of this public health crisis will result in more preventable deaths if he does not implement a meaningful plan to decarcerate the state to address this crisis.
Your Voice is Important
Your elected officials need to hear your demands. Take action now to demand Gov. Lamont address the health and safety of incarcerated people in Connecticut. Use this link to email and tweet Governor Ned Lamont, Connecticut Corrections, and the Judiciary Branch demanding they urgently release as many people as possible to stop the spread and impact of #COVID19, and save lives.
New York: One Step Forward?
The New York Law Journal is reporting that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo may release up to 1,500 more people from prisons in New York, as a response to COVID-19. The report says the release would be limited in scope, but details are scarce; we hope to learn more in the coming days. If this is true, it’s good news, and is the result of the work of groups across the state, including Katal, who have been organizing to make Cuomo release people to save lives.
But it’s not enough. Throughout this crisis, the Cuomo Administration has effectively ignored the spread of COVID-19 in prison and jails. The virus has rapidly spread and deaths in jails and prisons are on the rise, especially among Black people who are incarcerated. Since the first days of this crisis, Katal and other groups have organized to demand that Cuomo release people from jails and prisons. We scored a victory in late March when Cuomo said he would release from local jails up to 1,100 people who were detained on parole violations; of that group, nearly 900 have been released thus far. That’s great. Releasing another 1,500 is good and needed. But there are more than 48,000 people in state prisons and thousands more in local jails. Thousands are elderly, have underlying health conditions or are already seriously ill and thus more susceptible to COVID-19, or are just months away from being released. More than 5,000 are detained only on technical violations of parole. The state should release these people immediately. But not only has Cuomo resisted releasing people, he has failed to issue any coherent plan to limit the spread of COVID-19 in prisons and jails to save lives.
We will continue our organizing to demand release of people from prisons and jails. Stay tuned.
Take Action to Save Lives
Use our action tool to call, email, and tweet Governor Cuomo and your state legislators now. It's easy and takes just a few minutes to make an impact! Tell them: #FreeThemNOW -- in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, free people from jails and prisons NOW to save lives.
Please be safe out there and take care of each other. Keep practicing social distancing, wash your hands, and check in on your neighbors. If you want to get involved, learn more about our work, or just connect, please don’t hesitate to reach out - we’re online and on socials via @katalcenter.
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