Statewide campaign calls for reform to parole system in 2021 legislative session

Jan 21, 2021

A bipartisan criminal justice coalition is launching a statewide public education campaign on parole reform. New Yorkers United for Justice are pushing the state legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to make parole reform a top priority for the 2021 legislative session.

Calling the current system of parole broken, costly and unjust, the coalition favors reforms which establishes a more comprehensive and rehabilitative approach to community supervision.

NYUJ Chair Norman Reimer lamented the problems of due process within the state parole system.

“It is that lack of due process,” he said. “That makes the parole system an engine for re-incarceration and continued incarceration. Right from the very beginning of the parole process, which is the appearance in front of the parole board, there is no ‘right to counsel.’”

Reimer said having that counsel is critical in a system where getting approved for parole is no guarantee. Parole approvals among whites is 40%, while for Black and Brown is 34% and 33%, respectively.

“The fact that even at the high end, only 41% are getting paroled,” Reimer said. “It tells you that there’s something wrong. The whole point of putting someone in a correction facility is to get them ready to go back out.”

Read more about NYUJ’s parole reform campaign here.