People over profits.
In New York City, communities directly impacted by incarceration are exploited by the private corporations and their public agency partners who use them as a revenue source.
Directly impacted community members, the majority of whom are working class black and brown people, experience exploitation at every point of contact with the criminal legal system. Private companies, for example, charge exorbitant rates for sub-par commissary items in New York City jails and still the city charges markups to generate revenue. And without the opportunity to earn wages, most must rely on their families and communities outside for financial support.
The extent of exploitation is deep and the list of abuses goes on. Recognizing this, the Zero Profits coalition convened to address the financial exploitation of the predominately black and brown communities targeted by policing and the criminal legal system in New York City.
We work to challenge city and state policies and contracts that directly extract wealth and resources from impacted communities through charging diversion program fees, mandatory surcharges, disciplinary ticket fees, monthly probation fees, money transfers, and more.
Our work is the culmination of the labor of many individuals, grassroots efforts, and non-profit organizations over years who have paved the way for campaigns like our landmark victory making phone calls free from New York City jails.
Still, there’s more work to do, and we hope to continue to build on the work of those who came before us as we protect New York City residents from egregious exploitation resulting from contact with the criminal legal system.