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LAS Demands Albany Enact Comprehensive Parole Reform

The Legal Aid Society pressed Albany lawmakers to pass a package of parole reform bills before the New York State Legislature adjourns for the year later this week, as reported by Patch.

The bills include The Elder Parole Act, which would grant parole interviews for people over the age of 55 who have served at least 15 years of their sentence; and the Fair and Timely Parole Act, which would provide more fair parole reviews for parole-eligible incarcerated people – two changes that would ameliorate the number of incarcerated elders that has surged 282% between 1995 and 2010.

Advocates pushing for parole reform say that permanently locking up elderly New Yorkers, especially for crimes that they were convicted of as young people, is a form of punishment, not rehabilitation.

“A criminal conviction should not amount to a life sentence of imprisonment, nor should it amount to perpetual punishment after someone has paid their debt to society,” said Tina Luongo, Attorney-in-Charge of the Criminal Defense Practice at The Legal Aid Society, who is one of the many advocates calling on the state legislature to pass these parole reform bills.