ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Across the state, New Yorkers held several rallies Wednesday to show their support for “Communities not Cages,” including one right here in Rochester.

Communities not Cages is the name for a package of sentencing reform bills aimed at reducing mass incarceration rates in New York.

Supporters want the elimination of mandatory minimums, judicial review of excessive sentences, and greater rehabilitative opportunities for incarcerated people.

“Our goal is to try to get society as well as New York state criminal justice system to start investing in our communities and not cages,” Thomas Gant, a community leader, said. “We need to bring our families home.”

In total, seven rallies took place across the state, aiming to urge Governor Kathy Hochul and the state legislature to pass the package in 2023.

“These bills sat on tables of legislators forever,” Gant said. “I just continued to be productive and it was long overdue. So now that I’m out, I said I was going to make the fight, and try to help my brothers and sisters who got left behind.”

Advocates launched “Communities Not Cages” in 2021. They add that of the 30,000 people currently in prison, 75% are Black or brown.