As we near the approval of a state budget, the New York State Council of Churches calls for transparency in budget negotiations so that the public canparticipate in the debate about critical priorities and spending. Democracy requires open conversation even as budget deadlines loom.
In this spirit, New York State Council of Churches is holding a virtual town hall for a conversation about the Governor’s proposed rollbacks on the state’s bail, Raise the Age and Discovery laws. The forum will be held on Wednesday, March 23 from 7:00 to 8:30.
Founded in the late 19th century, The Council, representing 7,500congregations across the state, has been involved in advocating for criminaljustice reforms in their formulation, approval and implementation. We are keenly concerned about a rise in crime and gun violence in our communities. Webelieve, however, that rollbacks are not the answer to address these concerns and distracts the public from focusing on effective solutions including betterfunding to ensure these laws are properly implemented.
We are well-aware of the historical temptation of politicians of both political parties to seek advantage by promoting policies which are “tough on crime”.These efforts, however, too often lead to increases in incarceration and needless suffering for members of the public while actually worsening public safety. We resist policies and political posturing which are more revenge based. Our faith leads us to advocate for laws, policies and budgets which place the emphasis on equal justice, prevention, and restoration.
The public can participate in this town hall featuring a variety of advocates and top policy experts as we take a close look at these current laws and discuss the Governor’s proposals to change them by April 1. We will also explore alternatives to these proposals to discuss more effective approaches to addressing public safety.
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March 23 at 7 PM - Virtual Briefing on Bail Reform, Discovery, Raise the Age, Clean Slate and Other Criminal Justice Provisions in the NYS Budget.
We have invited a distinguished panel of experts to this town-hall while leaving plenty of space for questions from our audience. Join us!
Theological Reflections on Rollbacks
The Reverend Peter Cook, Executive Director, New York State Council of Churches and The Reverend Jim, Ketcham, Member, Executive Committee,New York State Council of Churches
Jose Saldana, Executive Director, RAPP and Anthony Dixon,Director of Community Engagement, Parole Preparation Project
The Importance of Bail Laws
Marie Ndiaye, Supervising Attorney, Decarceration Project, LegalAid
The Importance of Raise the Age
Brad Hansen, Public Policy Director, Families Together in New York State, Inc.
Kate Rubin, Youth Represent
Julia Davis, Children's Defense Fund
Outcomes of Current Laws including Discussion on Discovery
Zachary Katznelson, Executive Director, Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration
Jullian Harris-Calvin, Program Director, Greater Justice Network, Vera Institute of Justice
Roni Minter, Freedom Unshackled
You can also read the New York State Council of Churches 2022 Legislative Ask on Criminal Justice Reform and view the accompanying seminar here
For more information contact The Reverend Peter Cook, Executive Director, New York State Council of Churches at Pcook@nyscoc.org or 508-380-8289