#FreeThemNowCT Action at Capital
Wednesday, we held a rally at the State Capitol on the last day of the legislative session to demand lawmakers develop and pass a comprehensive and transparent plan to address COVID-19 in jails and prisons in Connecticut. For the third straight year, lawmakers have delayed developing a substantive plan to protect incarcerated people and instead subjected them to heightened risk of illness and death. With COVID cases continuing to spread in correctional facilities in Connecticut, especially with the highly transmissible Omicron BA.2 varian, this is unacceptable. To push back, yesterday’s rally consisted of chants, speakers, a march, and an action inside the Capitol.
During the rally, we heard from our families members of incarcerated individuals, our members, and community groups about the need to #FreeThemNowCT. Speakers discussed how 90% of the CT state jail and prison population have tested positive for COVID-19, totaling almost 8,500 people in state jails and prisons. They also spoke about how their loved one’s don’t have access to quality PPE and social distancing is impossible on the inside. Since the onset of the pandemic, public health experts have repeatedly affirmed that the number one way to protect incarcerated people and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 is further decarceration.
After holding the rally on the East Side of the Capitol, we marched around the Capitol chanting #FreeThemNowCT and we went inside to make our voices heard to lawmakers. Without action from lawmakers, COVID-19 will continue to spread throughout Connecticut jails and prisons, disproportionately impacting Black, brown, and poor people. Ninety-five percent of all incarcerated people in Connecticut jails and prisons will return home, which means that more than 8,400 people in our state correctional institutions will return home after having COVID-19, with some still recovering from long COVID. Lawmakers have a duty to protect incarcerated people and their loved ones, and that begins by getting people home instead of in an unsanitary, congregate setting like a jail or prison.
We ended the rally with an action: we held a 29 second die-in on the 2nd floor of the Capitol – across the House Chambers and Gov. Lamont’s office – to honor the 29 incarcerated people who lost their lives in the Department of Corrections custody due to COVID-19.
Much to our dismay, lawmakers ended the 2022 legislative session without developing a substantive plan to protect incarcerated people. This means the Black and Latinx communities who are disproportionately incarcerated in CT prison and jails will continue to be negatively impacted by the inaction of lawmakers and the Governor and their will likely be more preventable deaths.
For more information about Wednesday’s #FreeThemNowCT rally:
- Check out the press release for the rally
- Read coverage of the rally from NPR’s WSHU and the CT News Junkie
- Watch the Instagram live and check out this Twitter thread.
Even though the session ended Wednesday, it is not too late to take action. Please take our quick online action here to demand Governor Lamont and state legislators protect incarcerated people from COVID-19.
If you have any questions about the #FreeThemNowCT Campaign or would like to get involved, reach out to Kenyatta at email@example.com.
Today’s CT Statewide Criminal Justice Reform Call
Yesterday we held our May CT Statewide Criminal Justice Reform Call. Since the legislative session in Connecticut ended this week, we spent the bulk of the call discussing and processing the end of session. Our lobbyist provided an analysis and summary of the major bills this session and we heard from Stop Solitary CT and Regulate DOC Healthcare Coalition about their recently passed bills. Given the recent news about the potential overturning of Roe v. Wade in the Supreme, we had Planned Parenthood of Southern New England join today’s call to provide updates and action steps for folks on the call. Register here to join us on Thursday, June 2 from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
If you have any questions about the statewide call or would like to be a presenter on the call, please contact Kenyatta at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Katal Quotes of the Week
These are some of the quotes we’re thinking about this week.
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” –Maya Angelou
“Life is not what you alone make it. Life is the input of everyone who touched your life and every experience that entered it. We are all part of one another.” — Yuri Kochiyama
“Integrity has no need of rules.” –Albert Camus
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Be safe as possible out there, and get vaccinated as soon as you can. If you want to get involved, learn more about our work, or just connect, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Katal works to strengthen the people, policies, institutions, and movements that advance health, equity, and justice for everyone. Join us: web, Twitter, Facebook! Email: email@example.com. Phone: 646.875.8822.