Statewide rallies held in New York call for better conditions in state prisons
A demonstration was held Monday outside of Nassau Courthouse in Mineola to call for better conditions at state prisons.
The demonstration was part of the simultaneous rallies held across New York state.
The demonstrators call the conditions in New York state inhumane and say people will die if they do not change.
Pamela Neely says she was in and out of the criminal justice system for decades and says she suffered constant verbal abuse from guards.
“They play a lot of head games, like oh you’re going to come right back,” says Neely. “You’re no good. You’re never going to amount to nothing.”
The Huntington woman took part in several of the simultaneous rallies including in Albany and New York City.
The protesters say cruel practices like solitary confinement should end and criticized a new rule they say restricts inmates to two care packages per year from family.
“This is really bad for those who are incarcerated,” says Skyler Johnson of New Hour for Women & Children. “We work with a lot of people who are in prison and these packages were their only source of joy sometimes for months at a time.”
New Hour for Women and & Children is a Brentwood based group that helps formerly incarcerated women adjust to life on the outside.
“New York state needs to act. We have a humanitarian crisis behind bars. If we don’t do something more people will die,” says Johnson.
Johnson says fixing the state’s prisons is a matter of life and death.
“I’m not saying jail is supposed to be a luxury,” says Neely. “But it shouldn’t be where a person takes their life.
Neely has gone back to college to study criminal justice and hopes to become a paralegal one day.