Readers Write: Support parole reform

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New York has a moral and fiscal crisis of people aging and dying in prisons due to decades of extremely harsh sentencing and a racially-based parole system that values endless punishment above redemption and personal transformation.

For those serving long sentences, the Parole Board repeatedly denies parole based on one unchangeable factor, the nature of a person’s crime, not a person’s age, many accomplishments in prison, personal transformation, support network and less than 1 percent risk to the public for this age group.

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Two bills that must be passed this legislative session would begin to end death-by-incarceration due to old age, reunite families and reduce the cost of complex health care for elderly persons.

Elder Parole (S15/A3475) will allow for a parole hearing for people aged 55 (considered elderly by the Dept. of Corrections) and older who have served at least 15 consecutive years in prison.

Fair and Timely Parole (S1415/A4231) will ensure that parole consideration is based on who people are today, their many accomplishments in prison and very low risk for recidivism.

Please Contact state Sen. Anna Kaplan and urge her to support these bills. Kaplan@nysenate.gov before June 12th.

Shelley Sherman
Great Neck

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