ALBANY, NY – FWD.us New York State Director Alana Sivin issued the following statement today on the beginning of the 2024 New York legislative session:
“As a new legislative session begins, thousands of New Yorkers remain languishing behind bars and locked out of their communities due to extremely long sentences that do not make our communities safer. Our elected leaders must prioritize passing critically needed sentencing reforms to bring more New Yorkers home to their families, strengthen our communities, and boost our economy.
“This session, our leaders have an opportunity to pass the Earned Time Act (S774/A1128), the Second Look Act (S321/A531), and the Eliminating Mandatory Minimums Act (S6471/A2036A). These commonsense policies would help people return home and rejoin the workforce without compromising public safety.
“FWD.us is proud to be part of the broad coalition supporting sentencing reform, and we are especially heartened to see growing support for the Earned Time Act from advocates, formerly incarcerated people, business leaders, former corrections officials, and labor unions.
“People across sectors know: Passing the Earned Time Act will make New Yorkers safer both inside and outside of prisons, save taxpayers millions of dollars, and significantly strengthen the workforce and reduce recidivism – a proven benefit observed by other states that have expanded their earned time policies.
“During this legislative session, we urge our elected leaders to advance sentencing reforms that will make all communities in New York stronger and safer.”
The Earned Time Act would expand opportunities for people in prison to earn time off their sentences by following prison rules and participating in educational, vocational, and rehabilitation programs.
The Second Look Act would allow judges to review and reconsider excessive sentences, giving people who are incarcerated the opportunity to receive a reduction in their sentence when it is in the interest of justice.
The Eliminating Mandatory Minimums Act would eliminate mandatory minimum sentencing and restore judges’ ability to consider individual factors in every case when deciding on an appropriate sentence.