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weekly update – april 23, 2020

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In-Car Protest at York Prison in CT: #FreeThemNow

Opportunities to Pivot: Advocating for Future Needs After COVID-19

#COVIDBehindBars Update: CT & NY

In-Car Protest at York Prison in CT: #FreeThemNow

Family members of incarcerated women hold up signs while participating in today’s protest and speak out we organized in front of York CI demanding the release of incarcerated women to save lives. 

This morning we organized a 3rd in-car protest, this time at York Correctional Institution, to demand Governor Ned Lamont immediately release incarcerated women due to COVID-19.

“We want the governor to do his job and actually reply back to us, like help us,” said Katal member Jay Griddin, in an interview with Eyewitness News 3 during this morning’s action.

The current COVID-19 plan in CT mandates that incarcerated women who test positive for the virus must stay inside of the facility — putting the lives of hundreds of incarcerated women, and the larger community at risk, especially considering that York CI has a history of providing inadequate health care for incarcerated women.

More than a dozen cars with family members of incarcerated individuals, and constituents, gathered to speak out about the women being forgotten and left behind by Governor Lamont amidst the worst health crisis in the state’s history, and to demand urgent action to save lives.

Follow us on twitter @katalcenter to see videos from today’s action!


Take action now to demand Gov. Lamont address the health and safety of incarcerated people in CT. Use this link to email and tweet Governor Ned Lamont, Connecticut Corrections, and the Judiciary Branch demanding they urgently release as many people as possible to stop the spread and impact of #COVID19.

Opportunities to Pivot: Advocating for Future Needs After COVID-19

COVID-19 has exacerbated inequities that we already knew existed across health and criminal justice systems. Many of the rapid responses to COVID-19 have been the things we’ve been fighting for already — increasing access to housing and healthcare, reducing barriers to medication assisted treatment, expanding telehealth services, releasing people from jails and prisons – and more. Let’s not assume that things should go back to the way they were! COVID-19 is not operating in silos. Like many times before, this is the time to support each other and mobilize around this crisis.

Join us on Friday, May 1, from 4:00-5:30 PM EDT, for a Zoom call, Opportunities to Pivot: Advocating for Future Needs After COVID-19 – where we’ll discuss how and if there is a chance to create lasting change for some of these “rapid responses.”

Register here. We will share speaker details and bios soon!  Additionally, you are welcome to access previously shared resources from our call held Tuesday, April 14, “Intersectional Solidarity: Weathering the COVID-19 Pandemic” here. We hope you’ll join us!

#COVIDBehindBars Update: CT & NY

COVID-19 is spreading rapidly in jails and prisons across CT and NY. We’re pushing Governor Lamont in CT and Governor Cuomo in NY to release people immediately to save lives and mitigate the impact of the virus. Here’s the latest:

In case you missed it: Katal’s Lorenzo Jones was a guest speaker alongside NYS experts and advocates on the #COVID19, Rikers and Technical Parole Violations [virtual panel] hosted by The Fortune Society. Watch the full discussion.

Connecticut | Confirmed DOC cases of COVID-19: 321

‘I feel like I am just sitting here waiting to get sick’: behind bars during COVID-19

New York City | Confirmed DOC cases of COVID-19: 369

Inside Rikers: An Account of the Virus-Stricken Jail from a Man Who Managed to Get Out

New York State | Confirmed DOC cases of COVID-19: 239

State Prison Virus Cases Mounting As Outside Figure Plateau

This is a hard, complicated time for so many. Please be safe out there and  take care of each other. Keep practicing social distancing, wash your hands, and check in on your neighbors. If you want to get involved, learn more about our work, or just connect, please don’t hesitate to reach out – we’re online and on socials via @katalcenter.

Katal Weekly Update, PDF Version for printing and distribution.

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