The People’s Campaign for Parole Justice (ParoleJusticeNY) is calling on New York State lawmakers and Governor Hochul to pass a package of comprehensive reforms that promote justice and safe communities:
- Elder Parole (S.15A/A.8855A): Provides incarcerated people aged 55 and older who have already served 15 or more years an opportunity for parole release consideration. This includes some of the state’s oldest and sickest incarcerated people.
- Fair and Timely Parole (S.7514/A.4231): Provides a more meaningful parole review process for incarcerated people who are already parole-eligible, and ensures that people are evaluated for release based on who they are today, including their rehabilitation, personal transformation and their current risk of violating the law.
- A Fully Staffed Parole Board with Commissioners who Share our Core Values: The Parole Board must be staffed with 19 commissioners as the law allows, and should be comprised of people who share our values of redemption, transformation and mercy. Commissioners must reflect the identities of incarcerated people and come from professional and clinical backgrounds including social work, nursing, reentry services, and other fields that allow them to evaluate incarcerated people for who they are today.
More than 300 organizations across New York State have endorsed #ParoleJusticeNY. Add your organization by signing on here.
RAPP initiated and helps to lead Hochul Bring Them Home!
Another path to release for incarcerated New Yorkers, especially elders, is executive clemency. During the administration of former governor Andrew Cuomo, #CuomoLetThemGo, was a project urging the governor to grant clemency to thousands of older incarcerated New Yorkers who have transformed their lives, taken full responsibility for the damage their crimes caused, and pose little if any risk to public safety. Now that NYS has a new governor, we have launched #HochulBringThemHome and the website New Yorkers for Clemency to press Governor Hochul to grant clemencies with transparency, frequency, and inclusiveness.
There are nearly 9,000 people serving life sentences in New York State prisons. Many more men and women are serving sentences so long that they will surely die in prison before they are ever even eligible for parole. We offer just a few stories of these individuals and demand that they be granted clemency now.
Many people entered prison when they were teenagers, some as young as 16. Many have already served decades of their sentence, with decades left until release if they survive that long. In this time they have amassed incredible achievements and transformed the value systems that led to their incarceration.
Many have become respected individuals who mentor younger people inside and outside the prison walls and encourage them to realize their full potential. Their transformation as human beings is clear and inspiring. Many are elderly. Many are very ill. Most are Black. 
The New York State Constitution specifically gives the Governor the absolute power to release any person, at any time, for any reason. This power that Governor Hochul has is called clemency–specifically a sentence commutation. It is designed for individuals who have transformed themselves over the course of their incarceration and can safely re-enter society. 
With families and community members waiting for their return, the continued incarceration of individuals who have met these requirements is a detriment to us all, and especially to Black and Brown communities.
In his years as governor, Andrew Cuomo granted precious few clemencies—fewer than almost all governors across the country. 
Now, Governor Kathy Hochul has a chance to correct this brutal record—especially with new variants making COVID-19 again a threat to NYS and especially to those in the state prisons.
We are calling on Governor Hochul to show her respect for Black lives, including those behind bars.
Governor Hochul, bring them home.
 Though only 16% of the New York State population, Black people make up 53% of state prisons. https://www.prisonpolicy.org/profiles/NY.html. Black men are especially likely to be given life sentences — they are regularly given longer sentences for the same crime than white men. https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/black-men-sentenced-time-white-men-crime-study/story?id=51203491
 In contrast, last year Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed off on commutations of 527 non-violent sentences, the largest single-day commutations in history. Two months before Stitt’s historic action, California Gov. Gavin Newsom commuted the sentences of 21 people convicted of murder and attempted murder. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf commuted the life sentences of eight people, and outgoing Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin commuted the sentences of several people serving time for violent crime, including homicide.