Parole reform bill puts age and number of years served as criteria for eligibility

Supporters say it's a matter of racial equality, arguing that the percentage of white prisoners who are granted parole is much higher than Black or brown inmates.

News 12 Staff

Apr 12, 2021, 7:32 PM

Updated 1,098 days ago

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Reform advocates are calling on state legislators to pass a bill that would make anyone who is over 55 years of age or older and served at least 15 years in prison eligible for parole.
Supporters say it's a matter of racial equality, arguing that the percentage of white prisoners who are granted parole is much higher than Black or brown inmates.
"This is about racial justice and whether we're a just and moral society," says Sochie Nnaemeka, of NY Working Families Party. "We know that Black and brown New Yorkers are significantly less likely than their white counterparts to be released on parole."
Nawanna Tucker, the wife of an inmate, says when people aren't granted parole when they deserve it, they die in prison. "You have now become a murderer yourself," says Tucker.
Opponents, including families of crime victims, are not happy about the proposal. Some say the parole system is already too lenient.
"I don't believe that 55 or 45 or 65 or 85 -- there's no number," says Steven Klerk, whose cousin Lisa Weaver was strangled by her husband. "You should be looking at each individual and putting in your time and due diligence into feeling good about the release of this person."
Weaver's family objected to Solomon getting released, but he was granted parole two years ago.
Assembly members Chuck Lavine and Phil Ramos are co-sponsors of the bill.
"We know today that there are more people who are elderly and in jail," says Lavine. "Other states have employed this system, the federal government has a version of this system. It's a simple, reasonable way of approaching the subject."
Some lawmakers say the bill has little chance of passing despite a lot of support for it in the city.


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