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statement – 2019 session comes to close in albany with critical transformative justice reform legislation left undone

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June 21, 2019


Yan Snead, | 518. 360.1543


2019 Session Comes to Close in Albany with Critical Transformative Justice Reform Legislation Left Undone


Legislators Fail to Deliver on Crucial Reforms to Justice System Including #LessIsMoreNY Parole Reform, Cannabis Legalization, Overdose Prevention, and More

Fight for passage of reforms to justice system must continue in order to decarcerate NYS and finally shutter Rikers


New York, NY: Early this morning, lawmakers marked the close of the 2019 session in Albany. While lawmakers passed some notable criminal justice reforms earlier this year, they ended the session without completing the job.  Leaders failed to deliver on a number of critically important reforms including our parole reform bill, Less Is More: Community Supervision Revocation Reform Act (S1343b/A5493a). New York reincarcerates more people for parole violations than any other state in the nation except Illinois; #LessIsMoreNY would fix this crisis and help people succeed in returning home from prison – all while saving taxpayers nearly $400 million annually. The #LessIsMoreNY legislation is also critically important to the effort of closing Rikers Island, yet lawmakers let the bill die, potentially prolonging the time it takes to close the notorious facility.

In addition to the #LessIsMoreAct, other criminal justice bills were also left to die – #HALTsolitary, the STAT Act for police accountability, marijuana legalization (MRTA), the decriminalization of sex work, and more.

As a member of the #EndOverdoseNY coalition, we are also deeply disappointed to report that the “MAT in Prisons” bill – a bill that would establish robust treatment programs using methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone in correctional settings – was set for a vote, but lawmakers failed to deliver. Thus, with the exception of New York City and Albany County, people in correctional settings in New York don’t have access to this lifesaving treatment.

While some progress was made earlier this session through the passage of historic pretrial justice reforms – including bail reform –  we are a long way from ending mass incarceration in New York.  We are not giving up. We will continue the work to make sure Albany passes #LessIsMoreNY and the slate of reform bills that will advance the cause of justice and equity in our state. We are doubling down on our organizing, and we will hold state lawmakers accountable in their districts this summer and fall, and back in Albany next session.



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