Families, lawmakers gather in support of bills for incarcerated loved ones
Three bills being considered in the state Legislature are aiming to make it easier for families to visit loved ones who are incarcerated.
The bills would require the state Department of Corrections to place incarcerated parents in the facility closest to their children. They would also ensure that video calls cannot replace the right to in-person visits, and it will restore free shuttles to prisons for visitors from cities across the state.
"Incarceration has been a part of my life since basically since birth," said Martin Garcia. Garcia says he has spent the last eight years of his life behind bars serving time for assault.
He says when he was growing up, his father served 17 years in prison.
Isabel Coronado says he went months without seeing her mother when she was incarcerated for more than two hours from where she lived in Oregon. Now, she says she is advocating for these reforms and throughout the country.
"It wouldn't have been as traumatic, I mean of course this entire experience is going to have some kind of impact, but it makes it a little bit easier to deal with," said Coronado.
Families gathered Friday alongside lawmakers and advocates on the steps of the Bronx Supreme Court to share their stories. They wanted to show why they say these bills should be signed into law.
The three bills are currently being reviewed in committee in Albany. News 12 reached out to the state Department of Corrections and the governor's office for comment and has not heard back yet.