Local Citizens Meeting with Legislators to Promote Prison Downsizing and Community Reinvestment

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Communications Department
Correctional Association
212-254-5700
media[at]correctionalassociation.org

NEW YORK: On Friday, September 24, in neighborhoods in the city and state that are heavily impacted by incarceration, teams of community members will meet with local legislators to advocate for reducing the use of incarceration in New York. In these meetings, Drop the Rock volunteers will make the case for closing prisons; reforming work release, parole, and merit time; fully repealing the Rockefeller Drug Laws; and, reinvesting in communities.

WHO: Volunteers from the Correctional Association’s Drop the Rock Campaign including young people, individuals who have been in prison, families, and faith leaders.

WHAT: The Drop the Rock Campaign is organizing District Day to build political power in neighborhoods that are directly affected by NY’s imprisonment policies. Through lobbying and petitioning, volunteers will seek to hold elected officials accountable to low-income communities of color.

WHERE: Neighborhoods include:

Harlem

Jamaica, Queens

Flushing, Queens

Howard Beach, Queens

Boston Road, Bronx

Fordham Road, Bronx

Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn

Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn

Richmond Terrace, Staten Island

Central Islip, Long Island

Brentwood, Long Island

Rockville Centre, Long Island

Long Beach, Long Island

Port Chester – Westchester Cty

Brewster – Putnam Cty

Rensselaer/Albany

WHY: New York is facing a budget deficit of about $35 billion over the next three years. The state is likely facing severe reductions to services like education, healthcare, housing and job development. Meanwhile, the state is wasting millions of dollars on failed incarceration policies and empty prison beds. In fact, in the last 10 years New York’s prison population has declined by over 14,500 people, and the crime rate has dropped by over 28%. To save money, further reduce crime, and build healthy communities, state leaders should enact constructive criminal justice reforms including the expansion of work release, the full repeal of the Rockefeller Drug Laws, and the closure of underutilized prisons.

“We look to state policymakers to exercise leadership aimed at reducing our prison population and saving the state money, while investing in approaches that cut recidivism rates and restore the well-being of our people and communities,” says Robert Gangi, Executive Director of the Correctional Association of NY. “Our question to state leaders is simple: At a time of fiscal crisis, how can you overlook the hundreds of millions of dollars in savings achievable by closing empty prisons?”

“Crime has dropped dramatically in the past 10 years, and the prison population has declined by over 14,500 people,” states Drop the Rock Campaign Coordinator Denise Thomas. “District Day will focus on communities which have been most negatively affected by the state’s imprisonment policies. Leaders in these areas agree that NY can no longer base the economies of rural districts on the warehousing of low-income people of color.”