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weekly update – may 17, 2019

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In this issue…

Making Sense of Bail Reform in New York State (Part 2)

A Dynamic Debate: How Can Public Sentiment Lead to Real System Change?

In Albany: Join Us for a Community Conversation on #LessIsMoreNY

Making Sense of Bail Reform in New York State (Part 2)

February 2019, Katal leaders gathered at the Capitol alongside hundreds from JLUSA, RFK Human Rights, RAPP, NY Senators Brian Benjamin & Jamaal Bailey and more, rallying in support of overhauling pre-trial injustice.

New York just passed historic pretrial justice reforms. Given that the Governor, Senate leaders, and the Assembly speaker made public commitments to end cash bail, why didn’t that happen? And what does it mean?

In a new summary (the 2nd of a 2-part analysis) penned by gabriel sayeghMaking Sense of Bail Reform in New York State, Part 2, we take a deep look into how the new bail law came to be and why it looks the way it does.

New York Senators Brian Benjamin & Jamaal Bailey alongside Kerry Kennedy, JustleadershipUSA CEO DeAnna Hoskins, Katal leaders Nancy Sicardo, Curtis Bell, and Ekeythia Dunston, and Donna Hylton, at a February 2019 rally in support of bail reform. #BailReformNY

Bail reform in New York has long been complicated and challenging—and it remains so today. Despite a range of differences in objectives, strategies, and tactics, community groups have won a historic victory that will significantly reduce pretrial jail detention populations statewide and will help us close jails. But we cannot rest. We have to defend and implement the reforms while building upon them—and continue the momentum toward ending mass incarceration in New York State.

Read Making Sense of Bail Reform in New York State, Part 2 here.

A Dynamic Debate: How Can Public Sentiment Lead to Real System Change?

Lorenzo Jones speaks about issues with Diversion on A Question of Justice Panel, at PEN America’s World Voices Festival. (Photo Cred. Giselle Robledo)

Saturday, May 11, 2019, our Co-ED and Co-Founder, Lorenzo Jones, was a featured panelist at PEN America’s World Voices Festival. The panel, “A Question of Justice” explored how public sentiment can lead to effective systemic changes.

Check out our twitter thread to watch some of the discourse that occurred during this panel, here.

This panel moderated by Andrea J. Ritchie featured seven of PEN America’s Writing For Justice Fellows:Reginald Dwayne Betts,Nadja Eisenberg-Guyot,Keeonna Harris,Priscilla Ocen,David Sanchez,Beth Shelburne,and David Heska Wanbli Weiden, as well as some of our colleagues in New York City-based reform efforts: Kandra ClarkMika’il DeVeauxFred PatrickMarlon Peterson, and Bianca Tylek. The conversation used artist Lois Weaver’s experimental “Long Table” model, which fosters dialog about difficult subjects by combining the comfortable informality of a private dinner party setting with the urgency of public debate.

We thank PEN America for lifting up our work and including our organization in this important conversation.

“The criminal justice system only exists for the purpose of catching all the people the OTHER systems throw away — the education system, the housing system, the healthcare system, the transportation system.”

— Lorenzo Jones

Join us at our next Healthy & Just CT Coalition Meeting, Thursday, June 13 from 11-12:30PM at our Hartford office! For more information and to RSVP, contact Kenyatta Thompson at or at 860.937.6094.

In Albany: Join Us for a Community Conversation on #LessIsMoreNY

Please join us for a community led Community Conversation Tuesday, May 21, 2019, in the Capitol Region for a deep dive into the problems people on parole are dealing with locally, across the region. We will be discussing problems and issues, then prioritizing our solutions and next steps. Some issues on the table to discuss include:

  • #LessIsMoreNY
  • Finding housing
  • Obstacles to education
  • Police accountability and law enforcement transparency
  • Employment, youth services and needed programming

We have been organizing with people across the Region because our needs are important and the changes we want to see need to be heard and responded to. Please bring your voice and energy to this important Capitol Region Community Conversation! Click here to RSVP and for more details.

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