Release Aging People in Prison (RAPP) is a grassroots advocacy campaign created and led by formerly incarcerated people. We work to end the racist law-and-order policies that have more than doubled the number of elders behind bars over the past 20 years, to expand the use of parole, compassionate release, and clemency, and to end life imprisonment. By advocating to free incarcerated elders—women and men who have served decades in prison for crimes including those of violence; who have taken responsibility, transformed their lives, developed profound skills and abilities, and who pose little if any public safety risk—we strike at the system of endless punishment that fuels mass incarceration and damages Black and other communities of color.
Release Aging People in Prison: A Campaign to End Elder Incarceration and Promote Racial Justice
The Release Aging People in Prison/RAPP Campaign is a grassroots advocacy organization created and led by formerly incarcerated people and family members of people in prison. We work to end mass incarceration and promote racial justice through the release of aging people in prison and those serving long sentences. We work to dismantle the racist policies of mass incarceration by expanding the use of parole, compassionate release, clemency, and other forms of release in New York State. We work with other organizations across the country to end life imprisonment in the United States. By organizing community power to free incarcerated elders, we work to uproot a system of endless punishment that fuels mass incarceration and damages Black and other communities of color.
Since our founding, we’ve helped to lead several successful campaigns to change the regulations and personnel associated with the New York State Parole Board as a means of promoting the release of more people from prison. At the time of our founding, the population of older people in New York State prisons exceeded more than 10,000, and while the overall prison population in the state had fallen by 23% since 2000, the population of older people serving long sentences had doubled. Today, partly as a result of our work, there are just under 8,300 incarcerated older New Yorkers in prison. While we’ve made great strides since our founding, we still have a long way to go before all New Yorkers have a real opportunity for freedom and justice.