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.”
As a follow up to the Correctional Association of New York's statement last month critical of reported plans by New York to severely limit the number of visits by family members to incarcerated loved ones in NY state prisons, in early March the CA wrote directly to Governor Andrew Cuomo to express its opposition to the plan.Read More
Victor Pate spent almost two years in solitary confinement in New York prisons, off and on. Once, he said, he was isolated for 90 days for having too many bed sheets in his room. Only two sheets were allowed per prisoner, but Pate was at his prison job when laundry pickup came, he said, so [...]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