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News & Press Releases

Dec
19
2014
NYCLU: With Reforms, Rikers Housing Unit Can Improve Prison Conditions

At a New York City Board of Correction hearing, the New York Civil Liberties Union today submitted testimony in support of comprehensive reforms to the use of punitive segregation and solitary confinement. The Board is considering a proposal for a new housing unit, “enhanced supervision housing,” for incarcerated people who are deemed to pose a serious threat to safety.

Dec
12
2014
NYCLU Releases Police Reform Platform for New York State

The New York Civil Liberties Union today sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio proposing a platform for statewide and citywide police reform focusing on de-escalation of policing practices and meaningful accountability for police wrongdoing.

Dec
3
2014
NYCLU Sues to Allow Families to Visit the Gravesites of their Loved Ones on Hart Island

The New York Civil Liberties Union today filed a class-action lawsuit to allow family members to visit the graves of their loved ones buried in New York City’s potter’s field, Hart Island – the final resting place for some 1 million people and the largest mass grave in the United States. Current restrictive policies by the Department of Corrections (DOC), which uses prison labor to bury poor or unknown people and oversees all operations on the island, bar people from visiting the graves of their loved ones.

Oct
21
2014
Settlement Begins Historic Reformation of Public Defense in New York State

The New York Civil Liberties Union and the law firm of Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP today announced a historic settlement that overhauls public defense in five counties and lays the foundation for statewide reform of New York’s broken public defense system. By entering into the agreement, the state is taking responsibility for providing public defense for the first time in the more than 50 years since the Supreme Court held that it is a state obligation.

Oct
9
2014
NYCLU: School Safety Officers Violated Journalist’s First Amendment Rights

Last night education journalist Lindsey Christ from NY 1 News reported that in two separate incidents on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, NYPD school safety officers interfered with her reporting on city schools and filming on city sidewalks. On Tuesday in Park Slope, a school safety officer reportedly confronted Christ as her news team was trying to interview a student across the street from a school and broke the lens guard off their camera, wrongly claiming that they could not film NYPD officers.

Oct
8
2014
NYCLU: Poor Education is Part of Widespread Mistreatment of Youth at Rikers Island

At a City Council hearing about the treatment of adolescents in New York City jails, the New York Civil Liberties Union will today testify about ways to improve the brutal conditions suffered by minors incarcerated at Rikers Island, particularly those in solitary confinement, and the need for educational services critical for rehabilitation.

Oct
2
2014
NYCLU Applauds City Council Bill Stopping NYC from Unlawfully Jailing Immigrants

The New York Civil Liberties Union this morning applauded New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s announcement that she would introduce legislation that would end the imprisonment of people without a judicial warrant at Rikers Island just so federal agencies can investigate them for immigration purposes. The legislation also expels Immigration and Customs Enforcement from its office in the jail, and ensures that the Department of Corrections cannot expend resources on enforcing immigration laws.

Sep
25
2014
Justice Department Issues Landmark Support for Public Defense Suit

The Justice Department today submitted a “statement of interest” in a case filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union and the law firm of Schulte, Roth and Zabel LLP aimed at overhauling the state’s public defense system and slated to go to trial on Oct. 7. This is the first time that the Department of Justice has weighed in on public defense in a state court proceeding in the more than 50 years since the U.S. Supreme Court held that states must provide the right to counsel to poor people accused of crimes.

Sep
18
2014
Top Court Hears Challenge to Queens DA's Unlawful Interrogation Practices

The New York Court of Appeals heard arguments today in three cases challenging a Queens District Attorney’s office’s program of diverting people accused of crimes into an interrogation room before they are arraigned or have seen an attorney. In a friend-of-the-court brief filed in January, the New York Civil Liberties Union contends that the program, which overwhelmingly affects low-income people of color, unconstitutionally denies the right to counsel and the right to a prompt court appearance after arrest.

Sep
17
2014
NYCLU Report Exposes NY’s Failure to Provide Public Defense to Poor in Violation of Constitution

The New York Civil Liberties Union today released a report revealing grim new data regarding New York State’s abject failure to provide public defense services to poor people accused of crimes, a violation of the U.S. Constitution, state constitution and the laws of New York. The new report also features testimonials from New Yorkers across the state whose families, homes and livelihoods were devastated by the broken public defense system.

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