LWVNYS asks you to help bring criminal justice reform

LWVNYS is advocating for the passage of three criminal justice reform bills. Please consider contacting your NYS Senators and Assembly members to urge passage of these bills NOW, before March 1st, when all focus will be on the budget. Advocacy Days in January and February had big turnouts and were received favorably. There is momentum.
These local legislators are already co-sponsors of all 3 bills: Senators Cooney and Brouk and Assembly members Bronson, Clark, and Meeks. Please ask them to push for the bills to be brought to the floor for votes. Other legislators should be asked to vote for the bills. Please advocate in your own name. Individuals are not authorized to speak on behalf of the League.
Summary of the Bills

Elder Parole (S.2423-Hoylman/A.2035-Davila) – provides incarcerated individuals 55 years or older that have served at least 15 years of their sentence the opportunity for a parole board hearing. Such a hearing would not automatically release anyone. If parole is denied, the bill provides for reconsideration within 2 years. People of this age who have served this much time simply want to go home to their families, get needed medical treatment, and never set foot in prison again.

Fair and Timely Parole (S.307-Salazar/A.162-Weprin) – The Fair & Timely Parole bill sets the standard to be used by the NY State Board of Parole in their review of parole-eligible incarcerated persons. It would require considering the individual’s merit and rehabilitation during their already-served minimum sentence and assessing their readiness to start anew on release. While the original crime would be considered, it could no longer be the only factor. The Fair & Timely bill gives the opportunity for a meaningful parole board review and determination rather than one solely focused on continued punishment. The bill does not mean release would be automatic, the discretionary decision would still be in the hands of the parole board.

Clean Slate Act (S.211/A.1029) – would seal conviction records for civil purposes, and thereby remove barriers to housing, jobs, and education for eligible formerly-incarceration individuals. A person would be eligible to have records sealed 3 years after serving a misdemeanor sentence or 7-years waiting after serving a felony sentence. Any probation or parole must be completed, and they must have no pending charges in NY. Sex offenses are not eligible for sealing. Clean Slate will not limit background checks by law enforcement, criminal courts, and some licensing and clearance agencies. This bill has received endorsements from major labor unions, business leaders, local legislatures, and Chambers of Congress (including Rochester). It is expected to boost economic growth, expand the state’s workforce and help businesses hire employees.
Find more information at: https://www.cleanslateny.org/
For your convenience, here are the contacts for our local legislators:
Cosponsors of the Bills (please ask them to push for the bills to come to the floor for a vote):
Senator Samra G. Brouk: brouk@nysenate.gov, (585) 223-1800
Senator Jeremy Cooney: cooney@nysenate.gov, (585) 225-3650
Assemblyman Harry Bronson: bronsonh@nyassembly.gov, (585) 244-5255
Assemblywoman Sarah Clark: clarks@nyassembly.gov, (585)467-0410
Assemblyman Demond Meeks, meeksd@nyassembly.gov, (585)454-3670
Nonsponsors (please ask them to vote for the bills)
Assemblywoman Marjorie Byrnes, byrnesm@nyassembly.gov, (585) 218-0038
Assemblyman Josh Jenson, jensonj@nyassembly.gov, (585)225-4190
Assemblyman Stephen Hawley, hawleys@nyassembly.gov, (585)589-5780
Assemblywoman Jen Lunsford: lunsfordj@nyassembly.gov, (585)223-9130
If you are not sure who represents you, search for your address here for the Assembly and here for the Senate.
Thank you for taking the time to advocate on matters important to the League.
In League,
Judy Sternberg, member, LWVNYS Criminal Justice Committee
Barbara Grosh, President, LWV-RMA