The need for oversight of prisons is as urgent today as it was 175 years ago

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CANY is the only independent organization in New York with authority under state law to monitor prisons. Our access creates a platform for those most affected by incarceration to shape the public debate.

 
 

CANY at 175: Oversight for Reform

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Since 1844…

the Correctional Association of New York has been dedicated to one essential function: independent oversight of prisons in New York State. In 2019 CANY is more relevant than ever.

Please join us at NeueHouse on June 27, 7-9pm for a celebration of CANY's 175th anniversary with Nym, Dirty Art Club, and other special guests. Tickets include hors d'oeuvres and open beer & wine bar.

 

Featured Work

 

FACT SHEET

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Women in New York prisons have histories of trauma and violence, profound physical and mental health needs, and experience significant challenges while incarcerated. Read more.

ISSUE BRIEF

The number of people incarcerated in New York is declining, but those in prison are staying for much longer periods of time. Read more.

FACT SHEET

On an average day, around 2,600 people are in solitary confinement in New York’s prisons. Read more.

FACT SHEET

A significant portion of those eligible for parole are being denied – some multiple times. Read more.

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Today, 48,000 people are incarcerated in New York's 54 prisons – the sixth largest prison system in the country. Our work is informed by the experiences of people in prison – focused on dignity, health, and legitimacy.

 
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Who we are

CANY plays a critical and unique role in criminal justice reform. We provide independent oversight of New York’s prisons by conducting in-person monitoring visits, during which we speak extensively with incarcerated people and corrections staff, and by confidentially communicating with incarcerated people about their experiences through the mail, one-on-one interviews, and collect phone calls.

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What we are working toward

We urge the public to fundamentally rethink the nature and purpose of incarceration. In our vision for the future, the criminal justice system no longer targets African Americans and other people of color through mass incarceration. Far fewer people are incarcerated and for shorter periods of time. Read more about our vision here.

Learn more →

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How we get there

Our goal is to use our unique access to promote true transparency and accountability. We create a platform for those most affected to directly share their experiences; we document and disseminate information about system trends; and we advocate for reform  at individual prisons and at the system level. 

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Our strategic focus

Our oversight pays close attention to the issues people in prison report to us.

Specifically, we are currently conducting projects on:

  • Dignity: The arbitrary over-denial of parole applications, which is keeping thousands of people in prison beyond their minimum sentences.

  • Legitimacy: The pervasive misuse of isolation and lock-up throughout prisons, including but extending beyond the use of solitary confinement

  • Health: Acute needs and barriers to effective care

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