NYSCASA Joins Lawmakers and Advocates in Support of the People’s Campaign for Parole Justice

On January 14, NYSCASA participated in a virtual press conference hosted by a coalition of more than 25 New York lawmakers and 250 of the state’s criminal and social justice reform groups to announce the launch of a project called the People’s Campaign for Parole Justice. Click here to watch a recording of the press conference.

The campaign will work to pass Elder Parole, a bill that would require the parole board to hold hearings for incarcerated people over the age of 55 who have been behind bars more than 15 years, and the Fair and Timely Parole Act, which would shift the focus of commissioners during a parole hearing away from the original crime that someone committed. The campaign is also calling for the governor to fill the three vacant spots on the parole board.

“The New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault supports efforts for meaningful parole reform. Each of us is more than the worst action we have committed in our lives. We call on the legislature to pass Elder Parole and the Fair and Timely Parole Act,” shared Chrys Ballerano, Senior Director of Collaboration and Training.

On January 27, NYSCASA also participated in the People’s Campaign for Parole Justice virtual press conference and legislative advocacy day. Click here to watch the recording of the press conference.

“Meaningful parole reform could provide an important opportunity for incarcerated and criminalized survivors to access healing justice and community supports that are not available to them in New York’s prisons. We believe that each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve done. We also believe that we are all capable of meaningful accountability and profound transformation when our humanity is recognized and we have access to hope, resources, and community support. We urge state legislators to support substantial parole reform by de-policitizing and fully staffing the New York State Parole Board, and passing both Elder Parole and Fair and Timely Parole,” shared Chel Miller, Communications Director.

NYSCASA believes that prison justice is survivor justice. Every year, 200,000 people experience sexual violence while incarcerated. Further, the vast majority of people incarcerated in prisons and jails designated for women have been victims of violence prior to their incarceration, including sexual violence, intimate partner violence, and child abuse.

In 2020, NYSCASA urged state legislators to support and pass both the Elder Parole bill and the Fair and Timely Parole Act. We continue to assert that as an organization that seeks to protect, heal, empower, and advocate for victims and survivors of crime, we oppose efforts to reject Elder Parole on behalf of victims.

We believe and know that each of us is more than the worst action we’ve committed in our lives. Incarcerated people should have every opportunity to be paroled if they have demonstrated personal transformation and no longer pose a threat of committing further harm. This is particularly of urgent concern when considering elderly individuals currently locked within our state prisons, whose sentences may preclude them from parole eligibility. Locking people up until they grow old, infirm, or die does not keep victims, or any of us, safe and certainly does not deter crime or promote well-being of survivors. Such individuals deserve a chance to state their case before the parole board.

We urge state legislators to support substantial parole reform by passing both Elder Parole (S.15) and Fair and Timely Parole (S.1415), and to fully staff the New York State Parole Board.

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About NYSCASA

The New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault is a private, non-profit coalition of community-based rape crisis programs located throughout New York State. NYSCASA’s mission is to end all forms of sexual violence and exploitation, and to address the impacts of sexual assault.

Get Assistance

If you are in need of assistance, call on experienced and caring professionals in your community.

  • Call the New York State Hotline for Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence for 24/7, free, and confidential support: 1-800-942-6906
    • Has your loved one experienced sexual violence while incarcerated in New York State? The statewide hotline is also available to them. The “777” direct-dial number is available every day, in English, Spanish and other languages, at all 54 facilities operated by the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS).
  • Text or chat with a professional at the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence. New Yorkers seeking help can text 1-844-997-2121 or chat on OPDV’s new confidential website at www.opdv.ny.gov.
  • Find culturally appropriate domestic violence and sexual assault support services:
    • Black survivors can contact Black Women’s Blueprint: 1-347-533-9102
    • Deaf and hard-of-hearing survivors can contact IGNITE: [email protected] or 1-585-286-2713
    • Latina/o, Latinx. and Spanish-speaking survivors can contact Casa de Esperanza: 1-651-772-1611
    • LGBTQ and HIV-affected survivors can contact the Anti-Violence Project: 1-212-714-1141
    • Native survivors can contact the StrongHearts Native Helpline by calling 1-844-7NATIVE (1-844-762-8483), or Seven Dancers Coalition: www.sevendancerscoalition.com/resources-in-nys
    • Transgender and gender non-conforming survivors can contact the Trans Lifeline Peer Support Hotline: 1-877-565-8860
    • Survivors whose primary language is not English can call Womankind’s 24-hour multilingual helpline: 1-888-888-7702
  • Find parenting support in your community by calling 1-800-CHILDREN (1-800-244-5373) or find COVID-specific parenting resources on PCANY’s website: www.preventchildabuseny.org/covid-19-resources-and-response
  • Individuals concerned for the safety of a child and/or worried about their own thoughts and behaviors can call the Stop It Now Helpline at 1-888-PREVENT (1-888-773-8368).
  • To report suspected child abuse or maltreatment, call the New York Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment, commonly known as the Child Abuse Hotline, at 1-800-342-3720.