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weekly update – may 31, 2019

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In this issue…

In Hartford: Advocating for Social Justice

The #LessIsMoreNY Coalition Applauds New York City Council for Passing Resolution 829

Katal Opposed a Drug War Response to Fentanyl

In Hartford: Advocating for Social Justice

Community Organizers Dajuan Wiggins and Kenyatta Thompson alongside our members at yesterday’s Healthy & Just CT Coalition action.

Families and communities in Connecticut are impacted by mass incarceration, lack of affordable housing, rising healthcare costs, the broken education system, and more. Yesterday, May 29, members of our Healthy & Just CT Coalition convened at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, to hold lawmakers accountable and demand they take action for a healthier, more just Connecticut.

We heard from a number of different groups across the state about their issues and our collective priorities. Groups included: BG2G; Blue Hills Civic Association; Citywide Youth Coalition; Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance; CT Legal Rights Project; Favor Inc.; Greater Hartford Harm Reduction Coalition; HALT Solitary; Hearing Youth Voices; Latinos for Community Service; One Standard of Justice; Reentry Roundtables; Single Mothers on the Move; and Unlock the Vote.

Watch presentations by Healthy & Just CT Coalition members in our thread from yesterday’s action here.

Community Organizer, Kenyatta Thompson, and One Standard of Justice’s, Cindy Prizio, close out the Healthy & Just CT Coaltion advocacy day with final sentiments.

We thank all members of our community who were in attendance and all who contributed their voices to make this a powerful and successful event. Be sure to read our Connecticut Criminal Justice Reform Field Scan released earlier this year, here. We hope the ideas coming out of this – the result of engaging with many actors across the field – will, over the next number of years, serve to inform the next phase of advocacy to end mass incarceration in Connecticut.

Join us for our next Healthy & Just CT Coalition meeting, Thursday, June 13, from 11 am- 12:30 pm. Contact Kenyatta Thompson for more details or at (860) 937-6094. Click here to RSVP.

The #LessIsMoreNY Coalition Applauds New York City Council for Passing Resolution 829

Katal and Unchained members and leaders rallying at the Capitol during a #LessIsMoreNY Lobby Day, May 8, 2019.

We are excited to share that our team was in attendance for the vote on passing Resolution 829 at City Hall this week, and the New York City Council has passed it. Resolution 829, sponsored by Council Member Keith Powers, which calls on Albany to pass the Less is More: Community Supervision Revocation Reform Act (S.1343B – Benjamin / A.5493A – Mosley). Our team applauds Council Member Powers and the City Council for demonstrating leadership on the issue of New York’s deeply broken parole system. Now we are steadily focused on Albany to pass this bill.

Learn more about #LessIsMoreNY and take action, here.

Passage of #LessIsMoreNY is essential to reducing the population on Rikers and making closure real, as outlined in an op-ed by Council Member Keith Powers released earlier this week. Through the passage of our bill the state can ensure that the detention population shrinks in New York City and the future detention footprint in the City is much smaller. It can also address the scandal in the parole system: as recently reported by Gothamist, administrative law judges are being instructed by superiors to incarcerate people on technical violations of parole even when doing so does not serve public safety.

The City is taking action on parole reform through the “Fix the System” initiatives proposed by New York City Speaker Corey Johnson, and now even further, through the passage of Resolution 829, but there is only so much that the City is capable of doing in the effort to decarcerate people detained on parole violations. It is now time for Albany to pass the Less is More Act.

Read our full release here.

Katal Opposed a Drug War Response to Fentanyl

Connecticut has a lengthy history of progressive legislation related to ending the drug war and mass incarceration. While other states in the United States were expanding on mandatory minimums and hyper enforcement, Connecticut has worked to make syringes and naloxone accessible, increase access to drug treatment, and expand public health strategies including pre-arrest diversion and harm reduction across the state.

That’s why it’s alarming to see Connecticut making a bad turn back toward the drug war with HB 5524, a bill that would expand criminalization in response to fentanyl. The Katal Center opposes House Bill 5524 – Increasing the Penalty for the Sale of Fentanyl. The Legislature should reject HB 5524, and instead invest resources in harm reduction and proven treatment options, and advance decriminalization. HB 5524 represents a failed drug war approach. That is the wrong direction. We need real health-based solutions, not failed criminalization. Check out our memo of opposition to HB 5524, and stay tuned as we work to kill this bad bill.

Read our full memo of opposition here.

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