Women Speak Out About Criminal Justice Policies
On March 6, formerly incarcerated women and other advocates braved sub-zero temperatures to participate in the Coalition for Women Prisoners’ 13th annual Advocacy Day, coordinated by the CA’s Women in Prison Project. Over 300 people attended the Albany event, making it the Coalition’s largest Advocacy Day yet.
The day began with welcoming remarks by Assemblymember Jeffrion Aubry, sponsor of the Coalition’s Advocacy Day and Chair of the Committee on Corrections, followed by the presentation of six Advocate for Justice awards. The Coalition presented these awards to Denise Dunkley, Carole Eady, Sherri M., Lorrayne Patterson, Anisah Thompson, and Stacey Thompson in recognition of their dedication and commitment to working on behalf of currently and formerly incarcerated women and to making change in their communities.
In the afternoon, 35 lobbying teams met with 140 legislators to discuss the Coalition’s policy reform priorities:
- Increased funding for visiting and reunification programs that help keep families connected when a mother is in prison.
Requiring New York State to suspend–rather than terminate–Medicaid for people entering prison and jail with prior coverage.
- Requiring the Department of Health to oversee and monitor HIV and Hepatitis C care in state correctional facilities.
- Allowing merit time and the ability to earn early release from prison for domestic violence survivors incarcerated for committing crimes as a result of abuse.
Repeal of the Rockefeller Drug Laws and increased funding for drug treatment and alternatives to incarceration for women.
Stacey Thompson, the Women in Prison Project’s Community Outreach Coordinator, called the day “very successful,” especially regarding the merit time legislation. “I think domestic violence survivors in prison may finally get a little piece of the justice they deserve.”
CA Applauds Commitment to Raise the Age in Governor Cuomo’s State of the State Address, Laments No Mention of Racism, Violence, and Abuse in NYS Prisons
(January 9, 2016) New York, NY: The Correctional Association of New York roundly applauds the continued commitment of Governor Andrew Cuomo to raising the age of criminal responsibility in New York, ending the prosecution and incarceration of 16- and 17-year-olds as adults. It is now up to the members of both parties in the NYS Legislature to do their duty to make this a reality. In spite of the Governor’s assertion that the "nation looks to NY to find a way up," we actually fall behind 48 other states, along with North Carolina, by continuing to treat children as adults in the criminal legal system. New York must Raise the Age of criminal responsibility this legislative session. Read More
For decades, domestic violence survivors have been criminalized, prosecuted, and imprisoned for acts carried out by their abusive partners. In January, 30-year-old Noor Zahi Salman was arrested in connection with the 2016 Pulse nightclub massacre that left 49 people dead and many more injured and traumatized. Salman’s name had, until then, been largely unfamiliar to [...]Read More
Under unique statutory authority granted to the CA in 1846, WIPP monitors conditions in women’s prisons in New York, a role played by no other group in the country. WIPP coordinates the Coalition for Women Prisoners, a statewide alliance of more than 1,800 people, and carries out advocacy campaigns to reform harmful criminal justice policies. [...]Read More
Watch the Correctional Association’s video about the barbaric – and illegal – shackling of incarcerated women during childbirth. In 2009 New York enacted a statute restricting the use of shackles on women during childbirth. The law bans outright the use of restraints on women throughout labor, delivery and recovery “after giving birth,” which is meant [...]Read More