Decrim NY supports No New Jails
Decrim NY seeks to decriminalize, decarcerate, and destigmatize the sex trades in New York City and State — and work toward real safety for all people who trade sex by choice, circumstance, or coercion. We recognize that the same communities most severely impacted by criminalization of sex trade-related offenses are the same communities most severely impacted by criminalization and incarceration overall: People who are Black, brown, trans, queer, disabled, undocumented, and experiencing poverty and homelessness. Our communities need more resources, not more policing and not more incarceration.
Criminalization and incarceration are ineffective strategies for improving community safety. In fact, by pushing the sex trade underground and making it dangerous for those trading sex to access support and resources, criminalization and incarceration exacerbate trafficking and exploitation in the sex trades. Further, criminalization creates barriers to housing and alternative forms of employment. In and of themselves, jails and prisons are not safe. Neither are court-tied diversion services, as Layleen Polanco's case has shown us. Her diversion into the Human Trafficking Intervention Courts ultimately resulted in her death when bail was set on the original sex work-related charge she received after she missed a court date. And while sex trade-related charges in NYC do not account for the entire Rikers population, for a significant number of our community members, law enforcement use sex work as an excuse to stop-and-frisk, harass, and arrest people frequently profiled as sex workers, often resulting in other charges that lead to incarceration.
A current proposal before the New York City Council would build four new "borough-based" jails without any guaranteed commitment to close Rikers Island. This proposal fails to address the needs of communities most severely impacted by violence and criminalization.
Decrim NY urges the City Council to listen to the demands of the No New Jails movement to stop the construction of new jails in New York City and redirect $11 billion in public funding away from jail construction and toward resources that build real community safety. Decrim NY urges the City Council to vote “No” on the proposal for a borough-based jail system in NYC.