May 10 Day of Advocacy for Parole and Prison Justice
On Wednesday May 10, advocates from COS joined over 300 New Yorkers in support of the Albany Day of Advocacy for Parole and Prison Justice. Organized by Challenging Incarceration and Parole Justice New York, hundreds of people marched on the state capitol. Over 70 meetings were held between state legislators and advocacy teams to increase support for parole reform in New York State.
There were two main asks of the day. The first was support of the Safe and Fair Evaluations (S.A.F.E.) Parole Act A. 4353 / S. 3095A. The passage of this act will ensure that when someone is up for a parole in New York he or she is given a fair in person meeting based on dynamic factors such as good conduct, preparedness for reentry and reintegration, and not based on the nature of the crime. This act also requires the Parole Board to provide each person who is denied the specific actions that he or she can take in order to qualify for parole release.
The second ask was for a restructuring of the NYS Parole Board. Currently there are 19 commissioner positions but only 12 of those seats are filled, and 5 seats on the board are up for reappointment this coming June and July. The state senators were asked to reject those reappointments and offer support to fill those, along with the 7 currently vacant seats, with commissioners who have a background in social work, public defense and/or reentry.
For more information on the May 10 Day of Action or how to get involved, please contact Lisa: Lisa@circlesofsupport.org