Grassroots Effort to Reform NYC Jails Launches with Protest outside BOC Meeting

09 Jul Grassroots Effort to Reform NYC Jails Launches with Protest outside BOC Meeting

Grassroots Effort to Reform NYC Jails to Launch Monday with Protest outside Board of Correction Meeting

 NYC Has One of the Highest Rates of Solitary Confinement in U.S.;

By 2013, NYC Department of Correction (DOC) Intends To Increase

Solitary Confinement Cells By 69%

Culture of Brutality Rampant at DOC: As Lawsuits against Correction Officers Cost City Millions, Funding for Officer Training Down 40%

New York, NY – A grassroots effort to reform New York City jails will launch today with a protest outside a meeting of the Board of Correction, where NYC Department of Correction (DOC) Commissioner Dora Schriro will appear. The protest marks the first public action of the New York City Jails Action Coalition, a collection of activists working to improve conditions, stop the use of solitary confinement, and increase transparency and accountability at the DOC.

WHAT: Grassroots Effort To Reform NYC Jails, The NYC Jails Action Coalition, Launches With Protest Outside Board Of Correction Meeting Where DOC Commissioner Schriro Will Speak

WHO: Members of the NYC Jails Action Coalition, including activists, formerly incarcerated people, family members of incarcerated people, and other community members

WHEN: TODAY, July 9 at 8:30 a.m.

WHERE: 51 Chambers Street, Manhattan

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VISUALS: As the Commissioner and Board Members enter the building, activists will hold signs calling out the Department of Correction’s most brutal officers

ABOUT THE NEW YORK CITY JAILS ACTION COALITION:

The New York City Jails Action Coalition is a grassroots collection of activists, including the formerly incarcerated, currently incarcerated, family members and other community members, working to promote human rights, dignity and safety for people in New York City jails. Our goals include: Increasing transparency in Department of Correction (DOC) policies in NYC jails and accountability for DOC practices and abuses; ending the use of solitary confinement (punitive segregation, SHU, the Box, the Bing) in NYC jails and opposing the DOC’s planned increase in punitive segregation cells; addressing the medical and mental health needs of people in NYC jails and ensuring access to continuing care in the community upon release; advocating for more rehabilitative services in NYC jails to promote reintegration; and fighting against the racist and discriminatory policies leading to mass incarceration.

More than 40 people marched in front of 51 Chambers Street from 8:30 to 9:00 a.m.  Then we held a speak out at which the following individuals talked about solitary confinement and DOC brutality:  Sister Marion Defeis, Luke Schram, Leah Gitter, Dilcio Acosta, Bruce, Rick Sawyer, Lee Sinovoi, and Dave Harri

Before the meeting and protest Commissioner Schriro has agreed to meet with JAC.  Also, Board of Correction (BOC) Members acknowledged JAC as they walked into the building, and the BOC Chair noted the protest at the beginning of the meeting.  The Commissioner apparently believed that she had to justify the expansion of the Bing – she had a handout for the BOC and talked about the need for the Bing expansion to clear the backlog of people who had been sentenced on infractions but not placed in the Bing.  She also stated that she intended to reduced the number of Bing cells now that the backlog has been reduced but that the plan is on hold while they address changes in the way people with mental illness sentenced to Bing time are handled.