VOCAL-NY’s Civil Rights Union is working to end mass incarceration by ending discriminatory and abusive policing practices and removing barriers to jobs, housing & voting for people with conviction histories. Far too many New Yorkers are incarcerated because our criminal justice system is disproportionately harsh on communities of color, particularly those who are poor, living with mental illness, drug users, and the homeless.
We are committed to dramatically reducing the incarcerated population in New York, and ending the unjust policies and practices that criminalize and stigmatize too many. Our VOCAL-NY Civil Rights Union is led by people who are formerly incarcerated so that the solutions we devise are coming directly from those most impacted.
Our accomplishments include:
- Passed the NYC Fair Chance Act – the most progressive fair chance hiring policy in the country that gives people with criminal records a fair chance to find work.
- Dramatically reduced marijuana arrests in NYC by exposing the racially biased enforcement of marijuana laws which overly criminalized black & Latino youth.
- Supporting the campaign to #CLOSErikers – the NYC jail complex that is notorious for violence, corruption, and needless incarceration.
- Trained hundreds of New Yorkers on their rights and responsibilities during police encounters, so that individuals can remain safe while also holding law enforcement accountable.
- Helping to build the movement for police accountability in New York by being active members of Communities United for Police Reform (CPR).
Main image: Press conference at NYPD headquarters after unlawful arrests of Black Lives Matter protesters.