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Watch: Faith & Community Leaders Join Call for Clemency for Reggie Randolph

More than 230 faith and community leaders have signed a letter to Governor Kathy Hochul supporting a clemency petition on behalf of The Legal Aid Society’s client Reginald “Reggie” Randolph, as reported by the PIX11 News.

Mr. Randolph was arrested for stealing NyQuil from a Duane Reade and despite the non-violent nature of his offense was incarcerated at Rikers Island for over 850 days before being transferred to state prison where he currently serving a 2-4 year sentence.

“The problem is that the punishment, in proportion to the crime, is completely out of balance,” said the Reverend Peter Cook, executive director of the New York State Council of Churches.

Reggie’s case is a tragic example of New York’s criminalization of mental illness, substance use disorders, and poverty, and highlights the disturbing reality that the criminal legal system has become desensitized to peoples’ humanity. Mr. Randloph, who was homeless at the time of his arrest, suffers from a range of mental and serious physical health issues, as well as substance use challenges. The trauma of Reggie’s current lengthy incarceration is ​significantly compounded by his almost total blindness where he must vulnerably traverse the prison walls with his hands in front of him to avoid falling or injury.

Rather than receive treatment and support during his lifetime, Reggie has tragically become stuck in a cycle of incarceration and ineffective court-ordered rehabilitation programs.

“This isn’t about not having him be accountable,” Cook continued. “It’s asking what’s the best place that he can be held accountable so that he can rehabilitate and return to society.”

The previous Manhattan District Attorney was on record as not opposing the commutation of Reggie’s’ sentence and newly elected Alvin Bragg concurs, going so far as to infer that there is no justifiable reason to punish him further for stealing NyQuil.

“This is not a system built around safety and fairness,” he said. “No one I’ve met is sitting around their kitchen table talking about some bottles of NyQuil being stolen. We need to give people services so that we can stop these incidents from occurring.”

Mr. Randolph has already been approved by local supportive housing and community treatment programs which are ready to take him the moment he is released.

Watch the full segment below.