Katal Opposes Bail Reform Roll Backs in State Budget
On Tuesday, the legislature passed the state budget and last night Governor Hochul signed the budget into law. Inside the $229 billion state budget, the Governor and legislature rolled back bail reform by removing the least restrictive standard, which gives judges even more discretion to incarcerate people pretrial. This further uproots the presumption of innocence and it weakens civil rights protections. This is the second year in arrow that Governor Hochul has rolled back bail reform and it is the third time since the reform was passed in 2019.
Before bail reform was passed in 2019, jails were crowded with people who couldn’t afford to buy their freedom. About 23,000 people were detained in local jails across New York State—and even in early 2020, almost 70 percent of the people detained in New York City jails and nearly half of those in the state’s other jails were pretrial. And we now have a Governor who is working to bring back these unjust and racist policies. This budget will subject even more New Yorkers to the horrific experience of being caged in local jails like Rikers Island, and will particularly impact Black, brown, and low-income people.
Prior to the legislature voting on Tuesday, we put out this statement:
“Like Mayor Adams, Gov. Hochul has made it her singular objective to send more people to jail. She said the quiet part out loud – the reason she’s been pushing for rollbacks to bail reform is because of a series of racist and unhinged articles in rags like the NY Post. Throughout this legislative session, Katal and our members have fought back against Hochul’s proposals to roll back bail reform. We’ve been to Albany repeatedly. We’ve worked to educate lawmakers, with members sharing their harrowing stories of being jailed pretrial. We’ve protested outside the governor’s NYC office. And we’ve continued to demand action to close Rikers Island Jail Complex. And now we call on lawmakers to vote NO on this outrageous proposal to jail more New Yorkers. We call on the Governor and Legislature to pass a budget that decarcerates, closes more prisons and jails, and invests in real safety: housing, health care, education, and jobs. ”
Rally at Foley Square to #CloseRikers
Katal leader Henry Robinson leading the rally to Close Rikers, 4.27.23
Last Thursday, we rallied with people impacted by Rikers, community groups, and elected officials at Foley Square to demand that Mayor Adams shut down Rikers and then we marched to the federal court in support of a federal receiver taking control of Rikers.
At the federal hearing, U.S. District Court Judge Swain stated that “the conditions remain deeply disturbing” in our city jails. Yet, she did not move to appoint a federal receiver to take over the NYC jail system from the Department of Correction. After another federal monitor’s status update outlining how the Adams administration is unable and unwilling to address the abuse and violence in city jails, it is clear that the federal courts must step in to address the crisis. Without action, the violence will continue to skyrocket and more preventable deaths will occur. We will continue the fight to protect people who are currently incarcerated at Rikers and demand that the city shut down the notorious jail complex now.
Rallying in front of the federal courthouse to demand action from the federal courts, 4.27.23
Check out some more details from last week’s rally:
- Press release: Check out the press release from the action.
- News: See our leader Henry Robinson speaking to News12.
- Photos from the day: Check out some very powerful photos and videos from the action. Feel free to share and tag us!
To support the fight to close Rikers, please join us next Tuesday, May 9th for our Close Rikers Phone Banking Session. We’ll be speaking with community members about the crisis at Rikers, the need to shut down the jail complex once and for all, and how to get involved! RSVP for the action here!
To join the fight to close Rikers, please reach out to Melanie Dominguez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Candice Fung Awarded Mentor of the Year
Katal Team at the UAlbany WGSS Spring Celebration with our spring intern Toni Tudor, 5.3.23
Last night, following an advocacy day in Albany for the #TreatmentNotJails campaign, our team attended the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department Spring Celebration at the University of Albany. At the event, our advocacy and communication associate Candice Fund was awarded “Mentor of the Year” for her mentorship of a spring intern placed at Katal this year.
This was truly a full circle moment as Candice came to Katal as an intern in this very program in the spring of 2021. Following graduation, Candice joined Katal as a staff member and has remained a key part of our New York team. Join us in celebrating Candice on this tremendous achievement!
Katal Quotes of the Week
These are some of the quotes we’re thinking about this week.
“Bring it on. Dissent is central to any democracy.”–Harry Belafonte
“Each and every one of you has the power, the will and the capacity to make a difference in the world in which you live in.” –Harry Belafonte
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, Instagram, & Facebook! Email: email@example.com Phone: 646.875.8822.