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Katal New York Update — May 30, 2024

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NY Assembly Committee on Correction Advances Legislation (A5709A) to Increase Oversight of Jails and Prisons Across the State

Today, the Assembly Committee on Correction voted to favorably advance A.5709A – Gallgher, which expands the number of members on the State Commission of Correction and codifies the manner of confirmation of such members to diversify the commission. This is a necessary step to ensure that New York has an effective independent watchdog for its correctional facilities. The bill is now in the Assembly Ways and Means Committee. 

This timely legislation will strengthen the Commission’s capacity to fulfill its constitutional mandate: to ensure that state prisons and local jails are “safe, stable, and humane.” We’re demanding that Albany do more to address the various crises unfolding in city jails across the state, including the deadly Rikers Island Jail Complex. Here’s an excerpt from today’s press release:

“New York needs and deserves an effective independent watchdog for its jails and prisons. The SCOC was initially established with this mandate, and it’s time to bring it back to fulfilling its purpose. That’s why we are glad to see A5709A pass out of the Assembly Correction Committee today. This is a necessary step to revamp and fix the State Commission of Correction, and we thank the members who voted to advance this legislation. Communities impacted by deadly jails in New York, including our members at Katal, know how urgent the problems are in jails across the state. We urge the Assembly and Senate to pass this proposal immediately and send it to the governor for her signature,” said our New York advocacy director Yonah Zeitz. 

See our full press release featuring quotes from the prime sponsors in the Assembly and Senate, along with Katal members. 

Katal staff and members doing drop-ins in the legislative office building in Albnay, 5.29.24

Yesterday, our team was up in Albany speaking with Assemblymembers and Senators about the need to overhaul the State Commission of Correction. During our legislative drop-ins, we were able to get Assm. Burdick and Assm. Simon to sign on as co-sponsors of A.5709A. 

With only four session days left, we need your support to get this critical legislation across the finish line. Here are some actions steps you can take:

  • Contact your lawmakers, the Speaker, and the Majority to demand that they swiftly pass S.5877A – (Salazar)/ A.5709A – (Gallagher) before the session ends. Click here to take action, this online tool takes less than 5 minutes to complete. 
  • Submit an organizational memo of support for S.5877A/A.5709A. Here is a template memo of support. Please email completed memos of support to Yonah at yonah@katalcenter.org 

For more information about S.5877A/A.5709A or to get involved in our organizing efforts, please email Yonah at yonah@katalcenter.org.


This Saturday 6/1: Cure Violence 6th Annual Community Health and Wellness Fair

Join us this Saturday, June 1, 2024 from 11am to 6pm at the Street Corner Resources (SCR) Cure Violence 6th Annual Community Health and Wellness Fair  (Harry Belafonte 115th Street Library: 205 W. 115th St.). We’ll be talbing at the event and talking to community members about our Shut Rikers campaign. 

Street Corner Resources (SCR) is part of the Cure Violence Network that stops the spread of violence in vulnerable communities by working with the highest risk individuals. They also offer trauma informed counseling, youth employment, job training, intergenerational services, assessments, advocacy, referrals and other critical resources. This event will primarily focus on healthy activities, lifestyle changes, safety, recreation, support services, financial wellness, education and alternatives to violence for the community to tap in with. 

For more information about the tabling event or if you’d like to join us, please reach out to Melanie at melanie@katalcenter.org


Next Wednesday 6/5: Shut Rikers Phone Zap

Join us next Wednesday, June 6, from 12-1 pm for our Shut Rikers Phone Zap via Zoom! Click here to RSVP. We will be calling City Council Members to demand they take immediate action to end the suffering and violence unfolding at Rikers. The City Council must swiftly pass Resolution 183, which calls on the federal courts to immediately appoint an independent receiver to take over Rikers and improve conditions until it is shut down.

 Join us next Wednesday, June 6th from 12-1 pm for our Shut Rikers Phone Zap!

No prior experience is needed. If you know any friends, colleagues, or family members who would like to join this phone zap, please share with them this registration link

Got questions? Reach out to Ricky at ricky@katalcenter.org. 


Katal Quotes of the Week

These are some of the quotes we’re thinking about this week.

“[O]ne of the most vital ways we sustain ourselves is by building communities of resistance, places where we know we are not alone.” – bell hooks

“Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.” – Malcolm X


For printing and distribution,
download the Katal Weekly Update PDF version.

Katal works to strengthen the people, policies, institutions, and movements that advance equity, health, and justice. Join us: web, Twitter, Facebook! Email: info@katalcenter.org Phone: 64 6.875.8822.

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