Unsplash. Photo taken by Larry Farr

A NYC group that advocates for alternatives to incarceration is launching a Communities Not Cages campaign with a digital teach-in on Nov. 10 and statewide rallies on Nov. 17.

The Center for Community Alternatives’ Nov. 10 online event at 6 pm will feature currently and formerly incarcerated individuals talking about the impact that New York’s sentencing laws have had on their lives and that of their families.

That will be followed by Communities Not Cages rallies on Nov. 17 in New York City, Rochester, Buffalo, Ithaca, Syracuse and Long Island, the group said.

The organization provides community services such as youth mentoring and court advocacy, and has led efforts to reform the criminal legal system and end mass incarceration in the state.   

More than 30,000 people are currently incarcerated in New York’s prisons, nearly 75% of whom are Black or brown, according to the advocacy group.

“New York’s sentencing laws are fundamentally racist and harmful – and a relic of the past,” the group said in announcing its new campaign. “In the 1970s, New York passed the Rockefeller Drug Laws. These laws created harsh prison sentences for drug crimes, but they also introduced mandatory minimums and dramatically increased prison sentences – a sentencing regime that persists today.”

The Nov. 6 webinar will be held on Zoom and those who would like to participate can RSVP here.

Additional information about the Nov. 10 rallies and registration for them can be found here.

“Now is the time for change,” the nonprofit said in its announcement.  “It is time to decarcerate state prisons, reduce the power of prosecutors to coerce pleas and dictate sentences, and address the harms of the carceral sentencing laws passed in the 1970s and 1990s that have metastasized into our current crisis of mass incarceration.”

About Post Author