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LAS: Transition All Parole Matters to Video or Face Litigation

The Legal Aid Society, in a recently issued demand letter, called on the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) and the New York State Board of Parole to immediately transition to video hearings for all parole matters or face imminent litigation, reports the Politico New York Playbook.

The current telephonic model implemented and managed by DOCCS falls woefully short for these critical parole appearances – preliminary hearings, arraignments, and contested final hearings – where clients face months or possible years of incarceration. A hearing with no video component presents a serious, ongoing, and long-term abridgment of Legal Aid clients’  due process rights. During these proceedings, hearing officers and administrative law judges make constitutionally deficient factual determinations based on evidence that parole clients cannot see, at hearings in which they cannot meaningfully participate. 

“A hearing with no video component, during a crucial stage of the parole violation process, presents a serious, ongoing, and long-term abridgment of our clients’ due process rights. Due process demands that parolees receive a fair hearing at every stage of the parole revocation process,” wrote Legal Aid in its demand letter to DOCCS and the Parole Board.