Connecticut Update - May 13, 2021

In this issue...

A #CutShutINVEST Community Conversation

CT Statewide Criminal Justice Reform Call

Ending Prison Gerrymandering in CT

 

A #CutShutINVEST Community Conversation

We had a warm and impactful #CutShutINVEST Community Conversation last night, moderated by Katal members Nikki and Tiffany! At the top of the event, we held a moment of silence for those who had passed away due to COVID-19 while under the custody of the CT Department of Correction, reflecting on our #FreeThemNowCT campaign.

Following our moment of Silence, our members Jason and André shared their differing experience in the system due to systemic racism, while also detailing the negative impacts community supervision has had on them following their arrest:

“We were both around the same age when we were arrested, we were in our forties. We were both educated married professionals. We were working and had families. Up to that point, we had similar experiences, but then they diverged due to race.” - Jason

“I was out of prison for 5 years before I got my first job. For a person, who had gone to school and work and all that, it hurt. Being in that situation hurt.” - André

We then went into smaller, intimate discussions in breakout rooms to discuss the ways in which Connecticut needs to do more to continue to cut the incarcerated population, and cut the number of people on probation and parole.

Join us at our next #CutShutINVEST Community Conversation on Thursday, May 27 from 6:00 - 7:30 pm! During that conversation, we will be focusing on how Connecticut can shut prisons down, especially as the number of incarcerated people in the state continues to decline. Register here! 

And, take action now by signing our petition telling Governor Lamont to permanently shutter the Connecticut Juvenile Training School (CJTS) and #CutShutINVEST!


CT Statewide Criminal Justice Reform Call

We hosted our May CT Statewide Criminal Justice Reform Call last Thursday, with a lot of information on the latest updates from the Capitol. We had a great lineup of speakers including:

  • Bianca Tylek from Worth Rises, with an update on legislation that would provide incarcerated people access to free phone calls;
  • Corrie Betts of the NAACP of Connecticut foreshadowing this week’s passage of the bill to end prison gerrymandering;
  • Asti Jackson and Phil Kent,  Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut (CONECT) on legislation to expunge criminal records in CT with the Clean Slate bill;
  • Taylor Ford of the Katal Center with the latest update on #CutShutINVEST, and our push against the potential reopening of CJTS;
  • And Barbara Fair from Stop Solitary CT on the PROTECT Act.

Our next CT Statewide Criminal Justice Reform Call is on Thursday, June 3 from 11:00 - 12:00 pm. Join us to know what’s happening at the state capitol related to criminal justice policy as this year’s session comes to a close. Register here!

For more information, please contact Kenyatta at [email protected]


Ending Prison Gerrymandering

Yesterday, after years of advocacy and organizing by the ACLU of Connecticut, NAACP Connecticut and others, the Connecticut General Assembly passed legislation to end prison gerrymandering in Connecticut. The vote now brings the legislation to Governor Ned Lamont’s desk, once the bill is signed by him it will make Connecticut the 11th state in the country to end prison gerrymandering. 

This step reverses a practice that, for decades, counted incarcerated people in Connecticut for census purposes and in determining population data for electoral districts as part of the population of the district for where they are incarcerated. 

This meant that incarcerated people were represented as constituents of politicians who represented the areas where prisons are --  leaving them with no meaningful representation in government while also bolstering the populations of the mostly white districts where prisons are. This was done at the expense of Black and Latinx neighborhoods, and suppressed the political power of Black and Brown communities across CT.

Now, after signing the bill, Governor Ned Lamont must send incarcerated people home by cutting correctional populations, shutting down prisons and jails, and then investing in Black and Latinx communities that have been discriminated against and disenfranchised from the electoral process. He must #CutShutINVEST.


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