ALBANY, NY – FWD.us New York State Director for Criminal Justice Reform Rodney Holcombe issued the following statement today in response to New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s 2022 State of State address:
“Hearing Governor Hochul publicly commit to improving public safety, fully staffing the parole board, and approving policies that will decrease employment and other stifling barriers and expand reentry services for formerly incarcerated people in New York is very encouraging. There’s so much to be done to continue to advance safety and justice in New York. Even with important recent criminal justice reforms, New York still struggles with an incarceration crisis that sends far too many people to jails and prisons and keeps them there for unnecessarily long periods of time.
One of the many ways we can further address this crisis is by passing Elder Parole and Fair & Timely Parole. Right now, thousands of parole-eligible New Yorkers are repeatedly denied release and thousands more aren’t eligible for a parole hearing at all. These restrictive parole policies extend already long sentences, disproportionately impact Black and Latinx people, and have contributed to an alarming increase in the number of older people in state prisons, many of whom will die behind bars without reform.
It also remains critical that the Governor and state lawmakers protect the recently enacted and historic bail reform law that is protecting thousands of New Yorkers from unnecessary pretrial jailing amid an ongoing pandemic. While confusion and misinformation continues to spread about the new law the truth is that it is making all New Yorkers safer. Unnecessary jailing increases community instability and recidivism, pulls critical public resources away from public health and violence prevention, and puts thousands at risk behind bars – where death in custody rates are chillingly high.
State leaders must help combat continued misinformation, and follow the facts, which make clear that bail reform makes us safer and should be protected in the 2022 session and beyond.”