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Four lawmakers explain why they introduced legislation to finally end felony disenfranchisement in New York.
Julia Salazar, Zellnor Myrie, Harvey Epstein, and Latrice Walker
New restrictions have made it harder to send food to incarcerated people. Advocates say the policy is doing disproportionate harm inside women's prisons, and to women on the outside who often serve as caretakers.
New York’s landmark solitary confinement reform law created a new, “rehabilitative” type of isolation unit. State prisons aren’t on board with the changes.
Prison officials allegedly used solitary confinement to get the plaintiff to submit to an invasive examination prohibited under federal law.
The ban had helped the Broome County Sheriff rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits from detainee video and phone call fees.
Advocates of assisted outpatient treatment say it could reduce homelessness and mass shootings. Critics call it incarceration by another name.
Personal narratives can help the public understand the benefits of bail reform, but telling these success stories presents its own share of challenges.
I wanted to have a better diet in prison. But when you’ve been stripped of your freedom, it can be impossible to make the “right” decisions.
The probe will assess whether the SVD engages in a “pattern or practice of gender-biased policing," according to the DOJ.
More than two years into the pandemic, the Broome County Sheriff’s Office is still prohibiting all jail visits. The policy helped them take in more than a half-million dollars in 2021.
Advocates say the policy, aimed at eliminating contraband, will harm prisoners and their loved ones by making it much harder to send fresh food and other essentials into prisons.
As politicians look to build public support for homeless encampment sweeps, they’re using tactics popularized in LA—the site of one of the nation’s most intense battles over the unhoused.
In the raucous debate over bail reform, simple facts have fallen out of sight.
One incarcerated author used skills from an HIV/AIDS group to push imprisoned people and prison guards to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
But if he loses his appeal and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul declines to grant him clemency, he will likely be sent back to prison.
After the state rolled back a progressive bail law, data from the Vera Institute of Justice suggests judges are ordering more people be held in jails, amid continued worry over COVID-19.
Reginald Randolph is currently serving a two to four year sentence in state prison for stealing cold medicine
Citing years of police brutality and racial disparities in arrests, activists are pushing candidates to embrace reforms ahead of next week’s Democratic primaries.
Several states, including Maryland, are considering bills to protect minors from abusive police interrogations.
Survivors’ needs and opinions vary—and many have not found justice when they turn to the criminal legal system.
Getting convicted of a “minor offense” inflicts serious, long-term harm. The state can and must divert more people to counseling, group meetings, or other interventions.
After organizing to repeal the “walking while trans” ban, advocates in the state—and around the country—are looking ahead to the next fight.
In a forum with people experiencing homelessness, Democratic candidates criticized the mayor’s affordable housing plans, embraced a ‘right to housing,’ and rejected police intervention on homelessness calls.
The New York governor has released a plan to legalize marijuana, months after voters in the Garden State approved legalization in November. Advocates say the pressure could have ripple effects regionally.
On his first day in office, George Gascón said prosecutors will not seek bail starting Jan. 1, a win for criminal justice reformers.
In addition to the releases he has already ordered, the New York governor can grant commutations to free more incarcerated people to protect them from the disease. He has issued only three since the pandemic began.
The governor has rolled back bail reform, not released enough prisoners during the pandemic, and failed to rein in police abuses, advocates and prisoners say.
Progressive lawmakers and activists say Cuomo has failed to adequately protect those who are out of work, at risk of losing their homes, or living behind bars, where the virus has spread rapidly.
Tara Francis Chan,
Jones has vowed to support expansion of the Supreme Court, back the Green New Deal, and push for criminal justice reform.
Bowman has also advocated for an eviction moratorium and for rental payments to be cancelled for the duration of the pandemic.
The party's national director tells The Appeal about candidates in New York, Washington, D.C., and New Mexico that the WFP would like to see oust the establishment.
After defeating long-time incumbents in Democratic primaries, progressive candidates are championing cancelling rent and banning evictions.
Jones, who is running in New York’s 17th District, says fighting systemic racism and hyperpartisanship are top priorities.
States like California, New York, and Arizona have relied on prisoners to continue working, with little pay and in precarious conditions, during the coronavirus pandemic.
Although the new law took effect in January, state data showing how courts are applying it won’t be available until July 2021. And without funding, courts in small towns and villages may never collect the data.
Nikki Addimando, convicted of second-degree murder for the death of her boyfriend, whom she said abused her, petitioned to have her sentence reduced under the 2019 law. But a judge ruled against her. If that ruling is affirmed, state legislators say, it will be ‘insurmountably difficult’ for survivors to ever benefit from the law.
Body camera video shows that Daniel Prude was complying with police when they knelt on his back and pushed his face to the ground for so long that he stopped breathing.
Administrative subpoenas—which do not require a judge’s approval—are typically used for the department’s internal investigations, but The Appeal has learned that they are being used in criminal cases.
Although there’s a diversity of views about law enforcement in Brownsville, Brooklyn, there’s widespread agreement that the community is still fighting to obtain all the resources it needs to thrive and police itself.
The advocates describe the reopening as unsafe and unnecessary amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
New data obtained through a Freedom of Information Law request paint a dire picture of New York City COVID-19 testing in its jails.
Seth J. Prins,
Memos obtained by The Appeal and anecdotes from public defenders reveal how, for a week during protests over police brutality, the NYPD stalled cases by directing officers not to testify in court.
Lawmakers are targeting a statute that has been used as a cudgel to bat away almost any inquiries into police misconduct.
State Assembly members, senators, and city council members have said they will decline and donate funds from police and corrections officers as New Yorkers fill the streets to protest recent violence by law enforcement.
Coronavirus infections climb at the state’s only maximum-security facility for women, and those held there fear for their safety.
Lyra Walsh Fuchs
The governor’s requirements for release are too narrow in light of the threat from COVID-19, they say.
‘I would go to the hospital very often and they wouldn’t do anything for me.’
Their proposals move beyond Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 90-day eviction moratorium and call for suspending or forgiving rent payments longer term.
Local budget cuts enacted a decade ago left states and cities dangerously unprepared for COVID-19. We shouldn’t make those same mistakes again.
FCI Ray Brook was slow to respond to the spread of coronavirus among correctional officers. Now the outbreak has reached prisoners.
Powerful interests exploited Katrina to enrich themselves and transform the city. As a reporter who covered the fallout explains, our government’s lax oversight means the same could happen now, leaving those who most need help behind.
Men in Unit B-2 at the Shawangunk Correctional Facility say staff members have harassed and abused them since they possibly came into contact with an infected officer.
Sheriffs wield enormous power, and they can direct it in ways that will help contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect incarcerated people.
Experts say evictions cause a ‘downward spiral’ of health problems for renters, and that housing security is necessary to slow the spread of the pandemic.
Andrew Cuomo, who recently announced the state would employ prisoners to make hand sanitizer, must prepare for the particular vulnerabilities of the state’s prison population to COVID-19, advocates say.
Dennis Sica struggled with substance use disorder and sold small amounts of heroin that prosecutors connected to overdose deaths. Because of an 1980s-era federal law, he was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
Advocates, formerly incarcerated people, and lawmakers warned against overhauling the New York law before it has a chance to prove itself.
The Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act allows judges to consider shorter sentences, as well as non-prison sentences, if abuse factored significantly in the crime.
A civil suit claims that an officer who shot a 46-year-old stagehand in Midtown Manhattan should have de-escalated the encounter.
A year after Alfonzo Riley returned from prison, he’s helping to vet innocence claims.
The debate around bail reform focused predominantly on New York City's Rikers Island, but the bigger impact may be upstate, where almost two-thirds of the state’s jail capacity is located.
Despite dire-sounding headlines, the state’s cash bail reforms are having a positive impact on the people they are meant to help.
The death of 27-year-old India Cummings in 2016 garnered national media attention and a renewed push by local activists over conditions of confinement in the New York county’s jails. But the deaths haven’t stopped.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal purports to take sexual violence seriously, but it aggressively ignores reality in favor of lazy solutions.
Melinda Katz, who was inaugurated Monday, is facing criticism over what some say is a broken campaign promise.
Misconduct complaints against officers in the NYPD’s 34th Precinct have risen for three years straight. In 2018, 15 officers had complaints against them substantiated, the most of any precinct in New York City.
A City Council Committee considers a bill on NYPD surveillance today.
Two bills, awaiting Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signature, would help reduce the punitive impact of the child welfare system on kids and their families, including formerly incarcerated parents.
State law must change to stop judges from using jail time to force the poor into paying penalties they can’t afford, says one advocacy group.
The results of record-sealing legislation enacted in 2017 shows the need for automatic expungement, advocates say.
The Brooklyn Community Bail Fund said it doesn’t want to ‘prop up an unjust system.’
With Miriam Mack and Elizabeth Tuttle Newman of The Bronx Defenders
Adam H. Johnson
Richard Rivera served more than 38 years in prison after killing an off-duty NYPD officer during a botched armed robbery. He was released in July after being denied parole five times.
With Appeal contributor Guy Hamilton-Smith and Elizabeth Letourneau of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Even in states where use is decriminalized, child welfare systems continue to treat it as a sign of neglectful parenting, particularly among families of color.
Elizabeth Tuttle Newman
16-year-olds won’t have to reappear in adult criminal court if they’re arrested when youth court isn’t in session.
Police and prosecutors claimed facial recognition technology wasn’t at the center of a shoplifting case, but defense attorneys say it was the sole basis for probable cause to arrest.
Current and former mayors were questioned about how they managed their police departments.
Recent legal victories have spurred counties and states to provide medication-assisted treatment to prisoners struggling with substance use.
Establishment candidate Melinda Katz declared a narrow victory in the New York City borough’s district attorney primary, but progressive Tiffany Cabán pushed the race to the left on issues like marijuana and sex work.
Three Bronx friends recount their 2012 arrests in the NYPD’s ‘Operation Crew Cut,’ along with their experiences with the court system and incarceration, and reflect on their lives seven years later.
For far too long, the press has leaned on wrong-headed tough-on-crime officials like the former NYPD commissioner when reporting on the criminal legal system.
Court challenges and a sweeping reform bill are offering hope to men trapped in isolation for decades.
Prisoners can shave time off their sentences by participating in shock incarceration programs. More than a dozen former shock prisoners say that comes at a steep cost.
Instead of building ‘humane jails’ to replace Rikers Island, let’s push the NYPD to cut down on arrests.
New York City just paid Jose LaSalle of the Copwatch Patrol Unit nearly $900,000 over claims of false arrest related to the 2016 incident, but his fight for justice is far from over.
Rashad McNulty entered a guilty plea in a series of federal gang indictments in New York that have been criticized as racist and overly punitive. But before McNulty was even sentenced, he died in jail. Now, his family is seeking justice.
New NYPD data show that in 2018 the department closed nearly 500 rape cases due to an alleged lack of participation from victims and had a declining clearance rate for rape, raising questions over its handling of sexual assault.
Banishing people from the subway will only marginalize them without addressing the problem.
Activists suspect the investigation was tainted by the close relationship between the police and prosecutors.
Federal defenders say the shutdown is hurting poor people stuck in jail.
She is suing the Division of Human Rights for saying it’s not authorized to investigate her complaint.
The miniseries depicting a New York prison escape fails to show what happened to the men left behind.
Katie Rose Quandt
Prosecutors denounce bail reform efforts when people miss court dates, but ‘failure to appear’ rates obscure the fact that many who miss court aren’t on the run.
Prisoners in the state’s Regional Medical Units allege that they are being denied access to essential programs and services like law libraries.
Reports detail suicides and care for one woman that was ‘so grossly incompetent and inadequate as to shock the conscience.’
Advocates say victims are being pressured to sign ‘withdrawal’ forms to quickly close investigations and protect the department from legal liability.
Under Raise the Age, ‘there are kids similarly situated who are being treated totally differently.’
Decision-making by prosecutors in such cases, says one attorney, ‘compounds, entrenches, and ultimately authorizes the initial act of violence by prosecuting the victim.’
As Thursday's election approaches, confusion reigns.
State Senate candidate Julia Salazar explains how sex workers’ rights is a key part of reforming criminal justice in New York.
Melissa Gira Grant
Jacqueline Smalls was sentenced to 15 years in prison for killing a boyfriend whose ‘hands were his weapons.’ She now joins the ranks of criminalized survivors seeking clemency from Governor Cuomo.
From policing to parole, this election could be pivotal for reform.
Grassroots group VOCAL-NY is teaching people with substance use disorder how to avoid getting ensnared in the criminal justice system.
With journalist Bryce Covert.
A teenage girl spent weeks in jail, and her mother is still locked up on a $150,000 bond.
New York's Democratic governor has granted only a trickle of commutations, fewer than many of his Democratic and Republican predecessors.
Walliris Velez thought the worst was behind her after she was slashed in a subway car, but then came an arrest and an attempted murder charge by the Bronx DA.
Brian Solano spent over two years on Rikers Island before a potentially exonerating NYPD video interview was disclosed to his defense attorney. But that video is now being excluded from his June trial.
Zachary A. Siegel
Her former partner assaulted her in her home. When the police arrived, she was arrested and he walked free.
Melissa Gira Grant,
Melissa Gira Grant
A new app seeks to liberate people from more than “liberal malaise.”
Josie Duffy Rice
Dispatches is our series from organizers, attorneys, officials, and others working at the frontlines of local criminal justice reform.
A law that results in disproportionate arrests and prosecutions of black and Latino New Yorkers will stand.
U.S. Attorney says the evidence against him is “overwhelming”
A movement to oust Cyrus Vance gains steam.
Andrew Guthrie Ferguson
Vote in a Brooklyn District Attorney that Represents Your Values for the Future of Criminal Justice.