Prioritized Platform

2018 PRIORITIZED PLATFORM FOR CHALLENGING INCARCERATION IN NY

TO ENDORSE THIS PLATFORM AND BECOME PART OF THIS COLLECTIVE, EMAILchallengingincarceration@gmail.com

We aim to:
1) End mass incarceration;
2) Promote community empowerment, education, reconstruction, and control; 3) End state violence and torture and shift away from the punishment paradigm; and
4) End structural racism, ensure a focus on women, LGBTI people and gender non-conforming people, and protect the human rights of all people.

While we support a fuller platform of policy changes that would be important steps within each of these categories (which can be found on our “Home” page), this year we call upon New York policy-makers to enact and effectively implement all of the following prioritized measures in 2018:

END MASS INCARCERATION: 

reduce number of prisons/jails, people incarcerated & lengths incarcerated: 2018 Priorities:

Parole Reform: require Parole Board to make decisions based on applicants’ current risk, readiness, and personal transformation, with presumptive release for people reappearing before the Board, A.7546, and “second look” parole consideration for all people who are 55 or older and have spent 15 years incarcerated. Strengthen and expand geriatric/medical parole and ensure no one is excluded based on crime of conviction.

Raise the Age: raise the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to at least 18 for all children and all crimes, and keep all children out of adult jails and prisons. As a start, NY must fully implement and expand the enacted 2017 raise the age law.

Pre-Trial Justice: adopt bold speedy trial, S.7006B, bail, S.3579A, and discovery law reform, S.7722; stop indiscriminate and coerced use of plea bargains that terminate defendants’ rights; and expand funding for legal representation, in order to ensure fairness, dramatically reduce the number of people in jail and prison, stop jail expansion, end pre-trial detention in almost all cases, end poverty-based detention, and refrain from using risk assessment instruments or other approaches that claim to predict dangerousness and reinforce existing inequalities.

Revamp all sentencing: end life without parole, reduce all prison sentences, stop re-incarceration on technical violations, and expand alternatives to incarceration, diversion, Supervised Injection Facilities, other community resources, and restorative and transformative justice for all people, including people with mental health needs, people who use drugs, and people convicted of the most violent offenses.

PROMOTE COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT, EDUCATION, RECONSTRUCTION, AND CONTROL:

Voting Rights for All: provide right to vote for all people incarcerated in prisons and jails, and who are on parole.

Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) restoration: A. 3995 / S. 3735, restore financial aid eligibility of incarcerated people for college.

Enhance Visits & Family/Community Ties:  Restore 7-day visiting at medium security prisons and codify the right to visits in state law, A. 7241 / S. 6725; restore free visiting bus program, A. 7016 / S. 5693; permanently end all package restrictions & expand opportunities for people to receive packages, fresh food, books, materials; & ensure incarcerated people are assigned to prisons closer to their children, loved ones, and community.

END STATE VIOLENCE AND TORTURE, AND SHIFT AWAY FROM THE PUNISHMENT PARADIGM:

HALT Solitary Confinement ActA. 3080B / S. 4784A: end the torture of solitary confinement for all people and create more humane and effective alternatives.

Close Rikers and Attica: close this abusive jail and prison immediately and permanently, and stop systemic brutality, racism, and abuse in all jails and prisons.

END STRUCTURAL RACISM, ENSURE A FOCUS ON WOMEN AND LGBTI PEOPLE, AND PROTECT THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF ALL PEOPLE –INCLUDING GROUPS DISPROPORTIONATELY HARMED BY THE PUNISHMENT SYSTEM:

Racial Justice: establish Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission, and reparations, for the harms of mass incarceration, policing, segregation, and slavery, including A. 7274A / S. 5624A; and utilize racial and ethnic impact statements to prohibit any justice policy that would exacerbate racial disparities, A. 7519 / S. 5921 and A. 5851.

Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act (DVSJA)A. 3110 / S. 5116: grant judges discretion to sentence DV survivors convicted of offenses caused by that violence to shorter sentences or alternative-to-incarceration program