2020 State of the State - Statement by Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice’s Policy Director, Erin Corbett

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Contact:

Yan Snead, ysnead@katalcenter.org | 518.360.1543

 

2020 State of the State:

Statement by Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice’s Policy Director, Erin Corbett

Governor Must Prioritize Advancing Criminal Justice Reform and Passing the #LessIsMoreNY Bill

 

“For advocates of reform and communities impacted by the war on drugs and mass incarceration, Governor Cuomo’s New York State of the State outlines a few good steps but overall is lacking and concerning.

On the one hand, it’s good to see the Governor’s support of cannabis legalization, and we applaud the steps taken to expand access to Medication-Assisted Treatment in correctional settings. But the Governor is missing in action on critically important criminal justice reform measures to end mass incarceration and mass criminalization in New York. We are dismayed that the Governor did not include in his address a focus on ending reincarceration for technical parole violations through the Less Is More NY bill (#LessIsMoreNY). As it stands, New York imprisons more people for non-criminal, technical violations of parole than any other state in the country except Illinois. Reincarceration for technical violations delays the process to finally shutter Rikers Island, and presents a major obstacle for those reintegrating into their families and communities -- furthering the damage caused by mass incarceration.

To fast-track the closure of the toxic Rikers jail complex and reduce jail and prison populations across New York State, Albany must enact much needed changes to our deeply broken parole system, including passage of the Less Is More: Community Supervision Revocation Reform Act (S.1343B – Benjamin/A.5493A – Mosley). #LessIsMoreNY would enact urgently needed reforms to parole practices related to technical violations, while strengthening public safety and supporting effective re-entry for people coming home from prison.

We will continue to fight to ensure that members of our communities are not stuck in the cycle of incarceration through broken parole policies. We are calling on the Governor to prioritize parole reform in the 2020 legislative session, including passage of #LessIsMoreNY.”

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