Weekly Update - April 18, 2019
In this issue...
Connecticut: Youth in Adult Prisons
In Broome County: Building Support for #LessIsMoreNY
In Montgomery County: Harm Reduction Training, 'Meeting People Where They Are'
Connecticut: Youth in Adult Prisons
Participants of the Youth in Adult Prison event, alongside Representative Robyn Porter.
It's been a productive week for our team! On Monday, we sponsored and participated in the Youth in Adult Prison: Why and How Other States Have Already Ended this Practice event put on by the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance. The event highlighted the inhumane conditions young people are kept in when housed in adult prisons in Connecticut and why it is imperative that we put an end to this injustice against our youth–particularly Black children.
We heard from youth leaders of the Justice Advisors, professionals within the child care system, and lawmakers on the need to remove young people from the adult system and improve conditions for young people throughout the juvenile justice system.
"There are approximately 76K youth persecuted as adults nationally .. and Connecticut is in the top 10 of states putting youth in adult prisons,” Justice for Youth's Jeree Thomas told us.
It’s up to us as community members and residents of Connecticut to move our youth out of adult prisons. Support smart legislation and speak up against the injustice affecting our young people.
To learn more about our work in Connecticut and to join us for our next Healthy and Just meeting, Thursday, May 9th, contact our Community Organizer, Kenyatta Thompson at [email protected] or 860.937.6094.
In Broom County:
Building Support for #LessIsMoreNY
Cedric Fulton facilitating last night's #LessIsMoreNY teach-in at United Presbyterian Church in Broome County.
Yesterday, we partnered with Truth Pharm, Justice and Unity for the Southern Tier (JUST), Progressive Leaders of Tomorrow (PLOT), and Citizen Action of NY for a teach-in on our Less Is More bill. The teach-in, facilitated by our Community Organizer Cedric Fulton, educated Broome County residents on the ways in which the parole system is a massive contributor to mass incarceration, and how our bill will dramatically reform this system if enacted.
The majority of the action's participants were directly impacted – with a few currently raising grandchildren due to their children being incarcerated for a parole violation related to substance use. There was a son and his two aunts in attendance that lost their father and brother three weeks ago respectively to death while incarcerated in Broome County Jail for a parole violation.
Unfortunately, this family's story is not one that is rare or unusual as New York's current parole system incentivizes officers to use incarceration to handle slip-ups since there are few other resources at their disposal.
"The resources that we have made available to deal with some of these issues, we have invested in the carceral state, not in the community programs that these folks need," our Co-ED and Co-Founder, gabriel sayegh, told The Appeal in a recently released feature story about Richard Cannon, whose life was upended due to a technical violation of parole.
We cannot allow New York's broken parole system to continue tarnishing the lives of people who are simply just trying their best to successfully return to their communities. We can dramatically overhaul the parole system as we know it in New York – and nationally, if adopted – if we get the Less Is More bill passed. There is not a better time for parole reform than NOW.
Thank you to all who attended this teach-in and to our partners who helped make this event successful! If you would like to hold a Less Is More teach-in in your community, we'll work with you. Contact Cedric Fulton at [email protected].
In Montgomery County:
Harm Reduction Training, 'Meeting People Where They Are'
Keith Brown facilitating the Harm Reduction training at the Montgomery County Emergency Management Department building.
Last Friday, April 12, 2019, our Director of Health and Harm Reduction, Keith Brown – alongside directly impacted people and local harm reduction leaders– had the opportunity to facilitate a day-long harm reduction training for local public safety and public health workers. The session was held at the Montgomery County Emergency Management Department building, organized by the county’s Public Health Department and Catholic Charities of Fulton and Montgomery Counties. The event detailed what harm reduction is, specific strategies to use for it to be successful, how to help individuals and to facilitate positive behavior changes.
“If we start from an understanding that there is a spectrum of where people are at, we can actually help facilitate behavior change in a much different way than we can if we start from a place assuming that everyone should just stop using drugs.” – Keith Brown
Read more about this training here.
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 [email protected]