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weekly update – may 28, 2020

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In this issue…

Update: #LessIsMoreNY

Lamont Fails Incarcerated People & Their Families

#COVIDBehindBars Update

Update: #LessIsMoreNY 

As coronavirus-related deaths of incarcerated people are rising in jails and prisons in NY, not only have the Governor and Legislative leaders failed to pass legislation to release more people due to COVID-19, but Cuomo’s Department of Corrections and Community Supervision continues to incarcerate people for technical violations of parole. Yesterday, the Columbia Justice lab released a report assessing the Governor’s announcement on March 27th that he would release up to 1,100 individuals incarcerated in local jails for technical parole violations. The report reveals that not only has Gov. Cuomo failed to release the full group of 1,100, but now more than 150 people have been sent to Rikers for technical violations of parole since the March 27th announcement — and during the COVID-19 crisis. This is outrageous.

The #LessIsMoreNY Act would fix this, freeing thousands of people and prevent thousands more from being incarcerated for technical violations of parole. As the Columbia report makes clear, in the midst of this awful pandemic, the need to pass #LessIsMoreNY is more urgent than ever.

Next Thursday June 4, from 2 – 3 p.m., join Katal, A Little Piece of Light and Unchained for our next #LessIsMoreNY campaign call. We’ll share updates about the #LessIsMoreNY Act and campaign, discuss next steps in the fight to pass this legislation, and provide details about how to get involved. Please join us!

Register for this meeting being held on zoom at this link.

For more information about #LessIsMoreNY, check out our fact sheet and sign on letter

If you have any questions, please contact Yonah Zeitz at

Lamont Fails Incarcerated People & Their Families 

Katal member holds a sign for our May 12 protest at Gov. Lamont’s mansion.

Since the onset of the pandemic, groups including Katal have been organizing in person and online actions demanding Lamont take meaningful and urgent action to release as many incarcerated people as possible to save lives amid the COVID-19 public health crisis. But Lamont has refused to develop a robust plan to save lives and limit the spread of COVID-19 in jail and prisons. Even more, the Governor has refused to meet with family members of people who are incarcerated in Connecticut jails and prisons — the majority of whom are Black and Latinx.

Yesterday during a press conference, long time Katal ally Barbara Fair of Stop Solitary CT confronted Lamont about his inaction and disregard for the lives of his incarcerated constituents.

“Why are their lives disposable? We have begged you, we have written to you, we have protested, we have done everything to ask you to please come up with a plan. People are DYING!” 

And Lamont displayed his now-familiar disregard of the lives of people incarcerated in CT jails and prisons, even when confronted by family members begging him to take action. Watch the full video of Ms. Fair confronting Lamont at this link.

If you live in CT, TAKE ACTION NOW to demand Gov. Lamont address the health and safety of incarcerated people in the state. Use this link to email Governor Ned Lamont to demand the urgent release of as many people as possible to stop the spread and impact of #COVID19, and save lives. We cannot leave people behind during this crisis. Join us in telling elected officials: the time to decarcerate is NOW.

#COVIDBehindBars Update: CT & NY

We’ve been periodically sharing publicly available data and articles about COVID-19 behind bars in CT and NY. Here’s the latest:

Connecticut | Reported DOC cases of COVID-19: 843

Seventh Incarcerated Person in CT Dies From Covid-19

New York City | Reported DOC cases of COVID-19: 348

Juvenile Detention Population Climbs After COVID Releases

New York State | Reported DOC cases of COVID-19: 493

Nearly 240 technical parole violators remain locked up, two months after Cuomo release plan

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.

For printing and distribution, Katal Weekly Newsletter PDF version.

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