Community First Coalition Stands Against Legislative Proposals That Threaten Criminal Justice Reform
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 14, 2022
CONTACT Mercy Quaye Mercy@narrative-project.com 203.913.5008
HARTFORD, CT - The Community First Coalition (CFC), and its members will be addressing the Judiciary Committee today on several pieces of legislation that plan to either repeal legislation protecting children from over-policing, perpetuate the trauma of children being detained or incarcerated in jails or prisons, or increases the likelihood children will be pushed into the adult criminal justice system. The CFC recognizes that communities must be safe first and work together to directly address the negative impacts that police and policing has had on these communities. Over the last 18 months, false narratives and political rhetoric that crime committed by children is on the rise and the best way to address it is to arrest, detain, and incarcerate them has dragged us into a crisis where the myth of the superpredator is now on full display in our legislature. “State agencies, law enforcement and public safety personnel as well as legislators continue to emphasize narratives on crime and violence that disproportionately target young people of color, black youth and families, and marginalized people," said Sarana Carter, Director, CT Black and Brown Student Union. "We will continue to demand solutions that create the conditions for community health, intact families, and living wages so that our communities have access to the quality of life we deserve.” The CFC deems these narratives unacceptable and will combat them by providing alternatives for public safety. Public safety has never been created nor sustained by police, policing or prisons. However, public safety is possible when there are robust anti-poverty measures, racial equity is mandated in schools, and social services are culturally, as well as, socially responsive to the people they serve. The CFC is steadfastly dedicated to the work of community organizing and creating alternatives to policing and prisons. “Many of the recommended changes and new policies being raised are bad policy recommendations that will only create more adversities for children and families, specifically those in under-resourced, diverse communities," Iliana Pujols, Policy Director for Connecticut Justice Alliance, said. "Instead of focusing on incarcerating our way out of problems, we need to focus on addressing the root causes that are funneling young people into the legal system." Finally, CFC is demanding that the Judiciary Committee members and Co-Chairs request a racial and ethnic impact statement (REIS) be prepared for bills H.B. No. 5417, 5418, and S.B. No. 16, and S.B. 365 and/or amendments for those bills so that the legislators and the public know exactly who these bills will impact the most. “Communities of color can no longer be made invisible and we will not stand for the continued use of our children as pawns in political games,” said Diana Martinez of the Middletown Racial Justice Coalition. “CFC understands that real public safety does not come by way of incarcerating young people, but by making true and continued investments in racially equitable education, affordable housing, accessible healthcare, and in measures to end poverty.”
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About The Community First Coalition (CFC) The CFC is a coalition of grassroots, youth-led, and justice-centered organizations fighting to reimagine public safety without police or policing in our communities. Community First Coalition Organizations: Blue Hills Civic Association, Citywide Youth Coalition, CT BBSU, CT Justice Alliance, CT Students for A Dream, Connecticut Voices for Children, Hearing Youth Voices, Middletown Racial Justice Coalition, New Britain Racial Justice Coalition, R.A.C.C.E.