Free Virtual Visits during COVID-19 Pandemic & #BringBackTheBuses

Free Virtual Visits during COVID-19 Pandemic & #BringBackTheBuses

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Jonelle Butler started this petition to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, prisons have banned visitation in attempt to contain the spread of the virus in the prison system. This decision prioritizes the health of incarcerated individuals, prison staff, and all of their families. Thank you for that. Since in-person visits are banned, New York state prisons have provided inmates with five free stamps, two free 30-minute phone calls, and two free messages per week. I ask that free video visiting three times per week is also made available to inmates. This pandemic increases the isolation that inmates already experience, and is can be a traumatic experience. The love and support of their friends and family is needed now more than ever. 

When the pandemic is over, I am pushing for New York State to reinstate its free bus visitation program as well. Here is some information about this: The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) previously provided a free bus transportation program that transported visitors to all state prisons in New York. However, budget cuts led to the 2011 elimination of the longstanding program, and now many children are unable to visit their incarcerated parents. The lack of this program is a barrier for communication, engagement and relationship building between incarcerated parents and their children, a punishment that children of the incarcerated did not earn. 

I am asking that you sign this petition so incarcerated individuals in New York State will also be able to video call their loved ones three times a week, at no cost, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your signature also supports New York State's passing of the Visiting Bus Bill, A5942/S731A which would reinstate its’ state-funded visiting bus program for families of incarcerated individuals. Closely related to the Visiting Bus Bill is the Proximity Bill, which would mandate DOCCS to place incarcerated parents in prisons closest to their children’s homes. These two bills combined would greatly facilitate relationship building between incarcerated parents and their children, increasing the likelihood of positive outcomes for both the parents and the children.

Check out these links to learn more.

https://brooklyneagle.com/articles/2019/12/20/invest-in-us-invest-in-the-bus-children-of-the-incarcerated-call-for-return-of-prison-visitation-program/

https://brooklyneagle.com/articles/2019/10/11/family-visitation-bus/

http://www.osborneny.org/about/osborne-center-for-justice-across-generations/ocjag-2019-policy-priorities/

 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 100!
At 100 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!