Sunday, February 26, 2017
Assemblyman David Weprin, Elected Officials and Major Advocacy Coalition to Stand Together To Oppose Proposed Visitation Cuts at Maximum Security Prisons
NEW YORK – On Sunday, February 26th at 12:00PM on the steps of New York City Hall; Assemblyman David Weprin, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Corrections, will be joined by the Osborne Association, the Fortune Society, the Prison Visiting Project, the New York Civil Liberties Union, the Legal Aid Society, Council for Unity, the Correctional Association of NY, the Challenging Incarceration Coalition, the Women & Justice Project, Mental Health Alternatives to Solitary Confinement, and other advocacy groups, religious leaders, and union representatives to rally against the executive proposal to reduce visitation days for inmates at New York State’s maximum-security prisons.
Included in the 2017 executive budget proposal is a plan to reduce the number of days in which visits are allowed at maximum-security state prisons from seven days a week to three days a week. The proposal would allow the state to save $2.6 million by eliminating 39 positions. Weprin has previously spoken out against the proposed cuts - “I don't think it is the humane thing to do,” said Weprin. “It’s really penalizing the families of inmates.” If passed, this measure will cause suffering and separation for thousands of incarcerated people and their loved ones.
Restricting visits is regressive, counterproductive, and cruel. Family visits are often the only ways that people in prison can maintain connections with children, spouses, parents, grandparents and other loved ones. These ties are crucial for loved ones on the outside, as well as for people who are incarcerated. Evidence has long shown that enhancing family and community connections is not only extremely valuable for incarcerated people and their loved ones, but also increases safety in prisons and and the outside community.
It is already incredibly difficult for families and friends to visit their loved ones in NYS prisons. Reducing the number of days people can visit will compound existing difficulties by both restricting peoples' ability to visit and imposing unnecessary burdens on weekend visit days. For these reasons and more, Governor Cuomo must withdraw this proposal, and instead take steps to further expand visiting access for incarcerated people and their loved ones.
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