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Bill to Increase Jail Oversight Falls Short in the Assembly

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Saturday, June 8, 2024

Contact: Yonah Zeitz, yonah@katalcenter.org • 347-201-2769

Follow on Twitter/X @KatalCenter • #ShutRikers #CutShutInvestNY

Bill to Increase Jail Oversight Through Expanding the State Commission of Correction (A5709A) Falls Short in the Assembly in the Final Hours of Session 

Albany, NY:  Today, the New York State Assembly wrapped up the 2024 legislative session without passing legislation to advance jail oversight and address the ongoing crises at local jails across the state, including the notorious and deadly Rikers Island Jail Complex. Legislation to expand and strengthen the State Commission of Correction A5709A (Gallagher) passed the Assembly’s Correction, Ways and Means, and Rules Committees in the final week of session. On Thursday, the same-as version of the bill in New York State Senate S5877A(Salazar) passed and was delivered to the Assembly

Community groups and impacted community members were in Albany in the final stretch of the session, demanding that Albany do more to address the various crises unfolding in city jails across the state, from Buffalo and the Southern Tier to New York City’s Rikers Island Jail Complex.

Quotes from community groups: 

Statement from Yonah Zeitz, Advocacy Director of the Katal Center for Equity, Health, and Justice:  “The Assembly’s failure to pass this common-sense bipartisan legislation, especially after its passage in the Senate earlier this week, is deeply disappointing. Jails across our state, from Buffalo to New York City, are in crisis, and community groups and directly impacted New Yorkers fought throughout the year and into the final stretch of this legislative session to pass legislation that would strengthen and enhance the State Commission of Correction as a mechanism of accountability. 

We’re grateful to our bill sponsors, Assembly Member Emily Gallagher and State Senator Julia Salazar, our community partners, and our impacted members who pushed until the last minute to advance this much-needed reform. Our members – who have loved ones currently incarcerated in jails and prisons across the state – know better than anyone that lives are at stake. Lawmakers in Albany must step up to address this crisis, and we will not let up the pressure to make that happen.”

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