August 14, 2018: Along with the Parole Preparation Project, RAPP today released our latest report, The New York State Parole Board: Failures in Staffing and Performance.
“No one can appreciate the importance of sitting in those rooms making liberty decisions except those who sit on either side of the table. I applaud your work. Staff shortages result in applicants seeing see the same commissioners again and again, and they never get a date.” —Barbara Treen, former commissioner, NYS Board of Parole
Over the past two years, RAPP and other advocates and community members have succeeded in winning some changes in the practices of the New York State Parole Board, so that some decisions are now based in rehabilitation and transformation—who a person is today, as opposed to who they were decades ago when their crime was committed. This has begun to bring the Board into line with the law and best practices advocated by criminal justice experts.
But these advances continue to be undercut by other trends in the Board, including understaffing and the presence of several commissioners who continue to resist practices based in rehabilitation. These commissioners enable powerful, reactionary law enforcement forces to interfere in release decisions, illegally turning parole-eligible sentences into de facto life without parole.
Our new report exposes the horrific practices of the New York State Parole Board and their impact on incarcerated people across New York State.