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CORRECTIONAL ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK's Fundraiser:

Campaign to Eliminate Violence and Abuse in New York Prisons

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THE STORY:

The CA respectfully requests financial support of $250,000 to strengthen our campaign to end a prison-industrial culture that is undergirded and fueled by a history of violence, repression, staff impunity, overuse of force, and a lack of educational opportunities.

Over the last six months, the work of the CA has been highlighted by Vanity Fair Magazine and at least a half dozen front page articles in the New York Times. The CA is responsible for exposing egregious accounts of violence and abuse in New York Prisons.

The CA's monitoring efforts have shown that New Yorkers with less than fortunate circumstances -- due to their age, race, poverty, mental health conditions, or their inability to speak English -- are especially targeted for abuse by Correctional Officers. For the first time in years, the public eye is sharply focused on the brutal and inhumane treatment meted out behind prison walls.

With your help, the Correctional Association sheds light into the darkest corners of New York's prisons, and exposes the truth about human rights abuses taking place right here in the Empire State. However, we must shine our light more powerfully, before another life is lost.

The CA's Prison Visiting Project recently completed in-depth investigations into three prisons (Attica, Clinton, and Greene), which have systemic problems of staff violence and abuse. We advocate for the creation of effective accountability for abuses, and the fundamental transformation of the culture of punishment.

As concerned New Yorkers who believe in dignity, justice and humanity, the CA asks that you stand with us so we can protect the vulnerable New Yorkers whose voices have been silenced.

We must end stories like that of Samuel Harrell. Samuel was an incarcerated individual suffering from mental health issues. His fatal beating at the hands of officers was described by a witness in an August 18th New York Times article as “like a trampoline...they were jumping on him.” (Prison Guard ‘Beat Up Squad’ Is Blamed in New York Inmate’s Death).

After the ambulance was finally called, officers falsely reported to medical staff that Samuel had overdosed on drugs.

The Correctional Association, long aware of similar incidents of violence, was cited by the NYT for its monitoring reports detailing abuses at Fishkill dating back several years. The information in our reports, if acted upon sooner by state and prison officials, may well have stopped the abuse at Fishkill and saved Samuel Harrell’s life. Instead, his fate was sealed by violence, as officers’ irresponsible attitudes toward the safety of incarcerated people crossed the ultimate line.

How this project will make a difference: Your support enables us to gather first-hand accounts by collecting surveys and other data from people in prison, on which we base and conduct rigorous analysis and report our findings to the public. It helps us to protect the vulnerable New Yorkers whose voices have been silenced. With support from concerned citizens like you will continue to pull the curtain back and shed light on what is happening and we can be done to end systematic human rights violations that take place every day throughout New York State.

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