On a recent Saturday night, I wrote a bunch of letters to politicians in New York, starting with this one to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. I received a form letter reply from the governor’s office about two weeks later.
16 March 2013
The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
Dear Governor Cuomo:
Though we moved to New York in July of 2011, I still consider myself to be a brand new New Yorker. I am proud of the leadership you showed getting marriage equality for New Yorkers, and admire your ability to get the budget passed with bi-partisan cooperation.
I recently read the story of William Blake, a prisoner in administrative segregation at Elmira Correctional Facility who has been in solitary confinement for nearly 26 years.
I am terribly sad to learn that William Blake is but one of many prisoners in extreme isolation in New York State; a cruel and de-humanizing practice, extended periods of solitary confinement exacts physical and psychological harm on prisoners, prison staff and their families (according to investigations by the New York Civil Liberties Union). I have also learned that prisoners are locked up for 23 hours a day and separated from meaningful human contact or mental stimulation for breaking minor prison rules.
I sincerely hope you join me in supporting reforms to end the common use of this inhumane practice. New York needs to establish strict criteria to ensure that inmates are separate only in limited and legitimate circumstances for the briefest period and under humane conditions and perform an audit of the current population in isolation.
Effective and fair criminal justice maintains public safety and honors our state’s commitment to basic human dignity. Please, help restore New York’s reputation as a progressive leader for the nation. Please, make me proud to be the brand new New Yorker.
|Form letter from Gov. Cuomo|