ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The military veterans playing cards in the Albany County jail wear the same orange uniforms as everyone else, with “INMATE” printed down the legs. But their service offers one distinct privilege: a special cellblock where they can work through problems they often share, such as substance use and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Governor Andrew Cuomo is delivering his State of the State Address tomorrow (Wednesday, January 3rd) at 1 pm. (They usually live-stream the speech here: https://www.governor.ny.gov/). The governor’s office has indicated that, as part of his speech, he may announce his plans for bail reform.
The 8th annual Beyond the Bars Conference of the Center for Justice at Columbia University seeks to contribute to the growing movement to close jails and prisons as a part of the larger struggle to end mass incarceration. In particular, we will focus on elevating the efforts led by grassroots organizers that include formerly incarcerated and directly impacted people.
Prison and jail closings have been taking place unevenly throughout the United States over the past decade. However, campaigns like the ones in New York, Los Angeles, and Milwaukee have helped to usher in a new phase, one that highlights the role of grassroots organizing and directly impacted leadership, and that has begun to put forth a more transformative vision of how to close jails and prisons and what comes in their place. Momentum for lasting change is building. Organizers, activists and scholars have been grappling with many of the deeply seeded issues related to incarceration and criminalization. From the movement to close youth prisons entirely, to centering the fight for racial justice, to highlighting the ways that women and lgbtq community are impacted, to focusing on the elderly inside prisons with long sentences that are about punishment not safety, to interrogating the effectiveness of punishment in reducing violence, we are at a moment where we are able to make concrete advances in reducing the carceral footprint.
It is our hope that this conference will bolster these efforts in the following ways:
Convene and support a national network of people and organizations working to close jails and prisons across the country
Help articulate a vision and analysis for closing jails and prisons and what comes in its place
Address and examine some of the difficult issues and questions that arise in the efforts to close jails and prison
Further catalyze university involvement in the struggle to end mass incarceration
Homicides in the U.S. rose about 9% last year, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation- “Wall Street Journal”
Murder in America: What Makes Cities Safer. Killings fell in Los Angeles and Washington when police established closer ties with people living in the most violent neighborhoods; gentrification also played a role in Washington.
“New York City Set to Have Fewer Murders This Year Than Any Year Since the City Began Keeping Track” Just days from the end of 2017, New York City is set to tally a record low number of murders for the year, and serious crime, more generally, will have declined for the 27th straight year.