Free The People WNY

STATE WORKING GROUP

The Free The People State Working Group unites organizers, advocates, and activists working on state-level campaigns that promote basic human dignity and ensure equity and harm reduction for our communities. The cohort uplifts decarceration through racial justice lens and works across issue areas – justice system, housing, climate, and more – with an awareness the fight for anti-racist systems in intersectional.

The Free The People State Working Group works alongside Justice Roadmap, a network of individuals and organizations working on bills that address harm caused by criminal and immigrant systems, and supports statewide efforts through collective work.

STATE LEVEL DEMANDS

Protect The Dignity Of Incarcerated People

  • Halt solitary confinement
  • Provide protections against Covid-19
  • Reform prison labor

Fix The Unjust Parole System

  • End the culture of punishment
  • Pass Elder Parole and Fair and Timely Parole

Support the Climate & Community Investment Act

  • End racial disparities in the justice system by investing in green jobs, not jails.

Protect The Dignity Of Incarcerated People

  • Halt solitary confinement
  • Provide protections against Covid-19
  • Reform prison labor

Fix The Unjust Parole System

  • End the culture of punishment
  • Pass Elder Parole and Fair and Timely Parole

Support the Climate & Community Investment Act

  • End racial disparities in the justice system by investing in green jobs, not jails.

Prevent A Mass Housing Crisis

  • Pass sensible housing protections that take urgent measures to address evictions, foreclosures, and homelessness

Protect Immigrant Communities

  • Pass the New York for All bill that requires state and local law enforcement resources are not used to help ICE and federal immigration authorities separate immigrant families and sow fear in our communities

End Unjust Marijuana Enforcement

  • Support the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) to address the impacts of marijuana prohibition through responsible regulation that
    supports directly impacted communities.

Decriminalize Syringes & Low-level Possession

  • Decriminalize the possession of syringes
  • Remove the Expanded Syringe Access Program (ESAP) limit
  • End low-level drug arrests through harm reduction practices to address
    recidivism

WHAT WE ARE
WORKING ON

Protect The Dignity Of
Incarcerated People

Halt Solitary Confinement | PASSED!

#HALTSOLITARY CAMPAIGN | 

Bill Numbers: S2836 A2277

End the torturous use of solitary confinement — protecting the most vulnerable groups (youth, pregnant women, elderly, persons with disabilities — in New York jails and prisons. Limit solitary, in all cases, to 15 days, with diversion beyond the limit to residential rehabilitation units that provide harm reduction interventions while separating persons presenting safety threats from the general population.

 

 

Reform Prison Labor

RAPP CAMPAIGN |

End forced labor, raise incarcerated workers’ salaries, and provide educational and workforce development opportunities. Prohibit entities from capitalizing on (or exploiting) prison labor.

 

Provide Protections Against COVID-19

RAPP CAMPAIGN |

Establish stronger safeguards to protect incarcerated people from COVID-19, utilizing social distancing measures that do not rely on solitary confinement, and provide personal protective equipment (PPE). Increase access to medical care, flu shots, and COVID-19 tests.

See: Jerome Wright’s Testimony before the New York State Senate and Assembly on behalf of the NYCAIC #HALTsolitary CAMPAIGN regarding the Impact of COVID-19 on Prisons & Jails

 

Fix The Unjust Parole System

Elder Parole

RAPP CAMPAIGN |

Bill Numbers: S15 A3475

End death by incarceration by allowing incarcerated individuals ages 55 and older — who have served 15 or more years in prison — the chance to go before the Parole Board.

 

Fair and Timely Parole

RAPP CAMPAIGN |

End the culture of punishment by mandating fair and timely parole to all eligible individuals, unless a person poses a clear and unreasonable risk to society.

 

Transition To Renewable Energy Economy

Support the Climate and Community Investment Act

NYRENEWS |

Create good, green jobs that are accessible to the masses, especially frontline populations — such as formerly incarcerated individuals. Build up the infrastructure to establish an impacted worker fund, direct grants to support community-led planning (frontline communities hit first and worst by climate disaster) reduce local emissions, and establish an energy rebate fund to provide assistance to reduce the burden of energy costs to low- and moderate-income families. Hold polluters accountable by charging $35 for each ton of pollution put into the air, with an estimated $7 billion (collectively) annually.

 

Jobs Not Jails

NYRENEWS |

End racial disparities in the justice system by investing in green jobs and training, re-entry initiatives, and community-focused programs.

 

Prevent A Mass Housing
Crisis In New York

Pass "Good Cause" Eviction Protection

HOUSING JUSTICE FOR ALL |

Pass sensible housing protections that take urgent measures to address evictions, foreclosures, and homelessness. Pass “Good Cause” eviction protection to ensure residents can stay in their homes. Add more stringent penalties for bad and absentee landlords who allow their properties to fall into disrepair and harm tenants. Create mortgage forgiveness protections for homeowners behind on payments.

 

Protect Immigrant Communities
Across New York

New York For All Bill

NYCLU |

Bill Numbers: S3076 A2328

Immigrant residents should not have to fear that a minor brush with local law enforcement could lead to being torn away from their families. Pass the New York for All bill that requires our state and local law enforcement resources are not used to help ICE and federal immigration authorities separate immigrant families and sow fear in our communities.

 

End The War On Drugs

Pass the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) | PASSED

Evergreen Health | 

Bill Numbers: S854 A1248

Address the impacts of marijuana prohibition — and communities disproportionately harmed by the War on Drugs — while creating tax revenue for the social good with the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA). Expunge prior criminal records and expand reclassification and resentencing of crimes for people previously convicted. Protect youth from criminalization through reduced accessibility and comprehensive education. Focus on family farmers, community, and small business marijuana participation — not large corporations.

 

Decriminalize Syringes & Remove the ESAP Limit

Evergreen Health | 

Bill Numbers: S2523 A868

Access to sterile syringes has proven to be an effective public health intervention that prevents and reduces the spread of Hepatitis C, HIV, and other infections. Current Expanded Syringe Access Program (ESAP) law creates barriers through an arbitrary limit on syringes that can be purchased at participating pharmacies. Decriminalizing syringes and removing the ESAP limit would increase the number of participants able to access Syringe Exchange Programs and reduce disease rates and the number of syringes discarded in our communities.

 

Decriminalize Low-Level Drug Possession

Evergreen Health | 

Data on low-level drug possession arrests from municipalities reveals alarming racial disparities. Decriminalizing low-level drug possession (and paraphernalia) recognizes trauma and stigma that contribute to substance use. Arrests have proven to be an ineffective response that does not strengthen public health or safety. Decriminalizing low-level drugs and paraphernalia can remove roadblocks for people to access help through trauma-informed, community-based interventions.

 

WHAT WE ARE WORKING ON

Protect The Dignity Of Incarcerated People

Halt Solitary Confinement | PASSED!

#HALTSOLITARY CAMPAIGN | 

Bill Numbers: S2836 A2277

End the torturous use of solitary confinement — protecting the most vulnerable groups (youth, pregnant women, elderly, persons with disabilities — in New York jails and prisons. Limit solitary, in all cases, to 15 days, with diversion beyond the limit to residential rehabilitation units that provide harm reduction interventions while separating persons presenting safety threats from the general population.

Reform Prison Labor

RAPP CAMPAIGN |

End forced labor, raise incarcerated workers’ salaries, and provide educational and workforce development opportunities. Prohibit entities from capitalizing on (or exploiting) prison labor.

Provide Protections Against COVID-19

RAPP CAMPAIGN |

Establish stronger safeguards to protect incarcerated people from COVID-19, utilizing social distancing measures that do not rely on solitary confinement, and provide personal protective equipment (PPE). Increase access to medical care, flu shots, and COVID-19 tests.

See: Jerome Wright’s Testimony before the New York State Senate and Assembly on behalf of the NYCAIC #HALTsolitary CAMPAIGN regarding the Impact of COVID-19 on Prisons & Jails

 

Fix The Unjust Parole System

Elder Parole

RAPP CAMPAIGN |

Bill Numbers: S15 A3475

End death by incarceration by allowing incarcerated individuals ages 55 and older — who have served 15 or more years in prison — the chance to go before the Parole Board.

 

Fair and Timely Parole

RAPP CAMPAIGN |

End the culture of punishment by mandating fair and timely parole to all eligible individuals, unless a person poses a clear and unreasonable risk to society.

 

Transition To Renewable Energy Economy

Support the Climate and Community Investment Act

NYRENEWS |

Create good, green jobs that are accessible to the masses, especially frontline populations — such as formerly incarcerated individuals. Build up the infrastructure to establish an impacted worker fund, direct grants to support community-led planning (frontline communities hit first and worst by climate disaster) reduce local emissions, and establish an energy rebate fund to provide assistance to reduce the burden of energy costs to low- and moderate-income families. Hold polluters accountable by charging $35 for each ton of pollution put into the air, with an estimated $7 billion (collectively) annually.

 

 

Jobs Not Jails

NYRENEWS |

End racial disparities in the justice system by investing in green jobs and training, re-entry initiatives, and community-focused programs.

Prevent A Mass Housing
Crisis In New York

Protect Immigrant Communities
Across New York

Pass "Good Cause" Eviction Protection

HOUSING JUSTICE FOR ALL |

Pass sensible housing protections that take urgent measures to address evictions, foreclosures, and homelessness. Pass “Good Cause” eviction protection to ensure residents can stay in their homes. Add more stringent penalties for bad and absentee landlords who allow their properties to fall into disrepair and harm tenants. Create mortgage forgiveness protections for homeowners behind on payments.

New York For All Bill

NYCLU |

Bill Numbers: S3076 A2328

Immigrant residents should not have to fear that a minor brush with local law enforcement could lead to being torn away from their families. Pass the New York for All bill that requires our state and local law enforcement resources are not used to help ICE and federal immigration authorities separate immigrant families and sow fear in our communities.

 

WHAT WE ARE WORKING ON

Protect The Dignity Of Incarcerated People

Halt Solitary Confinement | PASSED!

#HALTSOLITARY CAMPAIGN | 

Bill Numbers: S2836 A2277

End the torturous use of solitary confinement — protecting the most vulnerable groups (youth, pregnant women, elderly, persons with disabilities — in New York jails and prisons. Limit solitary, in all cases, to 15 days, with diversion beyond the limit to residential rehabilitation units that provide harm reduction interventions while separating persons presenting safety threats from the general population.

 

 

Reform Prison Labor

RAPP CAMPAIGN |

End forced labor, raise incarcerated workers’ salaries, and provide educational and workforce development opportunities. Prohibit entities from capitalizing on (or exploiting) prison labor.

Provide Protections Against COVID-19

RAPP CAMPAIGN |

Establish stronger safeguards to protect incarcerated people from COVID-19, utilizing social distancing measures that do not rely on solitary confinement, and provide personal protective equipment (PPE). Increase access to medical care, flu shots, and COVID-19 tests.

See: Jerome Wright’s Testimony before the New York State Senate and Assembly on behalf of the NYCAIC #HALTsolitary CAMPAIGN regarding the Impact of COVID-19 on Prisons & Jails

 

 

Fix The Unjust Parole System

Elder Parole

RAPP CAMPAIGN |

Bill Numbers: S15 A3475

End death by incarceration by allowing incarcerated individuals ages 55 and older — who have served 15 or more years in prison — the chance to go before the Parole Board.

 

Fair and Timely Parole

RAPP CAMPAIGN |

End the culture of punishment by mandating fair and timely parole to all eligible individuals, unless a person poses a clear and unreasonable risk to society.

 

Transition To Renewable Energy Economy

Support the Climate and Community Investment Act

NYRENEWS |

Create good, green jobs that are accessible to the masses, especially frontline populations — such as formerly incarcerated individuals. Build up the infrastructure to establish an impacted worker fund, direct grants to support community-led planning (frontline communities hit first and worst by climate disaster) reduce local emissions, and establish an energy rebate fund to provide assistance to reduce the burden of energy costs to low- and moderate-income families. Hold polluters accountable by charging $35 for each ton of pollution put into the air, with an estimated $7 billion (collectively) annually.

 

Jobs Not Jails

NYRENEWS |

End racial disparities in the justice system by investing in green jobs and training, re-entry initiatives, and community-focused programs.

Prevent A Mass Housing
Crisis In New York

Pass "Good Cause" Eviction Protection

HOUSING JUSTICE FOR ALL |

Pass sensible housing protections that take urgent measures to address evictions, foreclosures, and homelessness. Pass “Good Cause” eviction protection to ensure residents can stay in their homes. Add more stringent penalties for bad and absentee landlords who allow their properties to fall into disrepair and harm tenants. Create mortgage forgiveness protections for homeowners behind on payments.

Protect Immigrant Communities
Across New York

New York For All Bill

NYCLU |

Bill Numbers: S3076 A2328

Immigrant residents should not have to fear that a minor brush with local law enforcement could lead to being torn away from their families. Pass the New York for All bill that requires our state and local law enforcement resources are not used to help ICE and federal immigration authorities separate immigrant families and sow fear in our communities.

 

End The War On Drugs

Pass the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) | PASSED

Evergreen Health | 

Bill Numbers: S854 A1248

Address the impacts of marijuana prohibition — and communities disproportionately harmed by the War on Drugs — while creating tax revenue for the social good with the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA). Expunge prior criminal records and expand reclassification and resentencing of crimes for people previously convicted. Protect youth from criminalization through reduced accessibility and comprehensive education. Focus on family farmers, community, and small business marijuana participation — not large corporations.

 

Decriminalize Syringes & Remove the ESAP Limit

Evergreen Health | 

Bill Numbers: S2523 A868

Access to sterile syringes has proven to be an effective public health intervention that prevents and reduces the spread of Hepatitis C, HIV, and other infections. Current Expanded Syringe Access Program (ESAP) law creates barriers through an arbitrary limit on syringes that can be purchased at participating pharmacies. Decriminalizing syringes and removing the ESAP limit would increase the number of participants able to access Syringe Exchange Programs and reduce disease rates and the number of syringes discarded in our communities.

Decriminalize Low-Level Drug Possession

Evergreen Health | 

Data on low-level drug possession arrests from municipalities reveals alarming racial disparities. Decriminalizing low-level drug possession (and paraphernalia) recognizes trauma and stigma that contribute to substance use. Arrests have proven to be an ineffective response that does not strengthen public health or safety. Decriminalizing low-level drugs and paraphernalia can remove roadblocks for people to access help through trauma-informed, community-based interventions.

 

End The War On Drugs

Pass the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) | PASSED

Evergreen Health | 

Bill Numbers: S854 A1248

Address the impacts of marijuana prohibition — and communities disproportionately harmed by the War on Drugs — while creating tax revenue for the social good with the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA). Expunge prior criminal records and expand reclassification and resentencing of crimes for people previously convicted. Protect youth from criminalization through reduced accessibility and comprehensive education. Focus on family farmers, community, and small business marijuana participation — not large corporations.

 

Decriminalize Syringes & Remove the ESAP Limit

Evergreen Health | 

Bill Numbers: S2523 A868

Access to sterile syringes has proven to be an effective public health intervention that prevents and reduces the spread of Hepatitis C, HIV, and other infections. Current Expanded Syringe Access Program (ESAP) law creates barriers through an arbitrary limit on syringes that can be purchased at participating pharmacies. Decriminalizing syringes and removing the ESAP limit would increase the number of participants able to access Syringe Exchange Programs and reduce disease rates and the number of syringes discarded in our communities.

Decriminalize Low-Level Drug Possession

Evergreen Health | 

Data on low-level drug possession arrests from municipalities reveals alarming racial disparities. Decriminalizing low-level drug possession (and paraphernalia) recognizes trauma and stigma that contribute to substance use. Arrests have proven to be an ineffective response that does not strengthen public health or safety. Decriminalizing low-level drugs and paraphernalia can remove roadblocks for people to access help through trauma-informed, community-based interventions.