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weekly update – april 12, 2019

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In this issue…

Connecticut: Calling All Youth Justice Advocates

#RockReform10: Rockefeller Drug Law Reforms, 10 Years Later

Connecticut: Calling All Youth Justice Advocates!

If you’re in the Hartford area next Monday, April 15th, join us alongside our youth justice partners in Connecticut as we’ll be holding an event along with state legislators on why and how Connecticut must remove youth under 18 from adult prisons by 2021!

The event will be livestreamed via Facebook from 10am-12pm on the Tow Youth Justice Institute facebook page for those who can’t join in person.

To learn more about this event and our work in Connecticut, contact our Community Organizer, Kenyatta Thompson at or 860.937.6094.

#RockReform10: Rockefeller Drug Laws Reform, 10 Years Later

New Yorkers protest in the streets against the draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws.

Last week— just as we were passing one of the most sweeping pretrial justice reform packages in the nation— another major reform turned ten years old. It was April 2nd, 2009, that New York State rolled back its draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws. As we reflect on on this critical milestone in the fight to end mass incarceration and the drug war, we’ve launched our #RockReform10 project, and invite you to join us!

Learn more about the project here.

What lessons might our movements today learn from the history of the fight against the Rockefeller Drug Laws? In what ways does the fight to repeal these laws affect today’s movements to end mass incarceration and the drug war in New York and nationwide? What was the impact on prison populations? Did the reform fight affect the practices of police, prosecutors, and judges— and if so, how and why? We are marking the 10-year anniversary of a major win, but what can we learn from the mistakes that movement organizations made along the way? In terms of organizing and advocacy, what worked and what didn’t? What was good about the reforms themselves, and what was missing? What remains to be done? How will we know when we have finally ended the drug war and mass incarceration? What would that look like in New York?

Through articles, interviews, artwork, video and more, we’ll answer these questions and highlight the stories of people most affected by the Rockefeller Drug Laws, people who were involved in or touched by campaigns to repeal the laws, and those who continue to work to end mass incarceration and the war on drugs in New York.

By marking and reflecting on a movement victory like this, we hope to uncover and share stories, insights, and tools that will strengthen our collective organizing, so that we can more swiftly and effectively bring an end to mass incarceration and the war on drugs. We hope you’ll join us!

Anthony Papa on the 10-Year Anniversary of Rockefeller Drug Laws Reform

Anthony Papa thanking Governor David A. Paterson for signing reforms to the Rockefeller Drug Laws, 2009.

Our first  contribution comes from Anthony Papa — author, artist, activist and manager of media relations at Drug Policy Alliance. He was sentenced to 15-year-to-life for a first time, nonviolent drug offense under the Rockefeller Drug Laws.

We are grateful to Papa for being the first contributor to this project, with his short video and op-ed featured in the New York Daily News. He marks the 10 year anniversary of the passage in Albany of the reforms to the Rockefeller Drug Laws on April 2nd, 2009.

Read his full contribution here.

If you’d like to contribute your own reflections for the project, or have questions or just want to connect about it, please contact us at We may not be able to publish every contribution, but we will do our best.

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