ALBANY, NY – FWD.us New York State Director for Criminal Justice Reform Rodney Holcombe issued the following statement today after the New York State Legislature finished session without passing Elder Parole and Fair & Timely Parole:
“The New York State Legislature failed to pass Elder Parole and Fair & Timely Parole this session, despite strong support from more than 300 organizations, endorsements from Members of Congress, the NAACP, and victims and survivors groups, and overwhelming evidence that these bills would save lives. It is deeply disappointing that legislative leadership failed to act when the majority of Democratic lawmakers were signed on as co-sponsors to these critically-needed reforms. Together, the two bills would have created meaningful pathways for release for incarcerated New Yorkers, and would have chipped away at a well-documented history of racial bias in parole release decisions. Unfortunately, the Legislature’s failure to pass these bills means thousands of New Yorkers will be left to wonder whether their loved one has a real chance at making it home alive.
“We are relieved that the Legislature began to address the State’s parole revocation problem this session to curb the troublingly high reincarceration rate for technical violations. However, this reform does nothing to address the parole release problem in New York. Thousands of people are routinely denied parole release based solely on their crime of conviction, the one thing they cannot change. Thousands more are serving what amounts to a life sentence, and will not live to see their parole eligibility date. Simply put, full parole justice was not achieved this session, and more lives will be lost as a result.
“We are more determined than ever to push for Elder Parole and Fair & Timely Parole, and we urge lawmakers to address the aging crisis in prisons by passing these long overdue reforms as soon as possible. Thousands of people are depending on it.”