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weekly update – march 14, 2019

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In this issue…

New York: Victory at the Capitol for Survivors of Domestic Violence

Building Bridges: Decarceration from the Community’s Perspective

New York: Victory at the Capitol for Survivors of Domestic Violence


Our Director of the Women & Girl’s Project, Donna Hylton, alongside Anne Paterson (STEPS to End Family Violence), Miriam Goodman (WPA), Tamar Kraft-Stolar (Women & Justice Project), and Assemblyman David Weprin at the Capitol in Albany.


We are excited to share news of a huge victory for gender equity and decriminalization. After a 10-year fight for passage by survivors and advocates, the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act (DVSJA) — written by women inside and outside of prisons, including our Director of the Women & Girl’s Project, Donna Hylton — has passed yesterday in both the New York State Senate and Assembly. 

The DVSJA allows judges in New York to sentence male and female victims of domestic violence who are convicted of a crime to lesser prison time — determinate or indeterminate — if the defendant was largely influenced by their abuse at the time of the offense. It also adds the option of community-based alternative-to incarceration programs and gives eligible survivors currently in prison the opportunity to apply for re-sentencing.

Read the full release from bill sponsor Senator Persaud here.

Read our DVSJA fact sheet here.

Thank you to long time bill sponsor Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry and bill sponsor, Senator Roxanne Persaud for introducing this bill for survivors of domestic violence. Now it is on Governor Cuomo’s desk to sign into law!


Donna Hylton alongside bill sponsor and Senator Roxanne Persaud, and the Coalition for Women Prisoners.


To learn more about this bill, contact our Director of the Women & Girl’s Project, Donna Hylton, at or 424.272.1724.


Building Bridges: Decarceration from the Community’s Perspective


Our Community Organizer, Kenyatta Thompson, speaking alongside Gus Marks-Hamilton (ACLU-Smart Justice), Corrie Betts (NAACP – Hartford); and Rob Hebert (CT Reentry Collaborative).


Yesterday our Community Organizer Kenyatta Muzzanni spoke on a panel about how to decarcerate, from the community’s perspective, at the Building Bridges: Decarceration and the Community Conference put together by the Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy. The panel covered the ways in which advocates and community members are working together to impact decarceration and ensure successful reentry.

Taking place at Central Connecticut State University, Kenyatta discussed our work and our Connecticut Criminal Justice Field Scan — highlighting the 5 themes we found and how they show up in our monthly meetings— our collaborative table, Healthy and Just CT, and our monthly Connecticut Criminal Justice Reform Calls.

“The Criminal Justice system is working fine, it’s just racist,” stated Kenyatta, which unsurprisingly induced a gasp from the audience. In reflecting upon this reaction, she says, “I felt like Hannibal Buress. ‘Why are you booing me? I’m right.'”

Join our next Connecticut Statewide Criminal Justice Reform call on Thursday, March 28, from 11:00am to 12pm. 

Click here to learn more and RSVP.

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