Jones, NYUJ Push For Criminal Justice Reform In NY

Originally published in WAMC on February 13, 2019.

Activist and CNN commentator Van Jones met with New York state lawmakers in Albany Tuesday to push for changes to state criminal law.

Jones was influential in promoting last year’s bipartisan First Step Act in Congress, which provided for the reduction of some federal prison sentences. Standing outside the state Senate lobby with leaders of New Yorkers United for Justice, Jones lamented the state’s lack of action compared to states like Texas.

“There is no reason in the world that New York state can’t be leading the country in a better direction. Washington D.C. came together last year, you had Donald Trump and Nancy Pelosi supporting the same bill," Jones said. "How can Washington D.C. outperform New York?”


Jones, Sam, and Cumberbatch spent the day meeting with state lawmakers, including Democratic State Senators Jamaal Bailey, Brian Benjamin, and Zellnor Myrie of New York City. State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, also a Democrat, vowed action now that her party controls both chambers.    

“You should know that we intend to be introducing a series of bills sponsored by these young men and myself, to address some of the issues that have been raised by Mr. Jones today," announced Montgomery.

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