Advocates pressed near the Capitol until the last minute for proposed changes to the Parole system.
Photo: People Campaign / Courtesy
Until the closing of this edition, the approval of a package of draft reforms that would change the way in which administers and enforces criminal justice in New York, kept hundreds of organizations and advocates in “suspense” when the last day of sessions in the State Legislature was held.
According to some versions, not confirmed, the Democratic majority of the Legislature had reached a certain agreement to pass the so-called law ‘Smear and New Account’ (Clean Slate Act) that would end perpetual punishment for millions of New Yorkers who have history of criminal convictions.
The draft establishes a unique two-step process: automatically seal and then erase criminal records once a person has completed his sentence.
In the agony of the session, spokespersons for the Center for Community Alternatives (CCA), one of the coalitions promoting the approval of this legal text, urged the leaders of the Assembly and the Senate through social media to give the green light to this reform.
On your twitter account, Tony Bibbs, CCA Leader, shared that he is now 63 years old and sadly has a track record of three decades and still cannot find a regular job.
“Right now, I’m digging holes for a living. Pass this law. No to perpetual punishment!He cried.
The promoters of this law assure that if the barrier that criminal records represent is eliminated, it would open the possibility that at least 1.4 million New Yorkers, can access essential life services such as employment and housing.
Doubts and hopes
Legislature spokespersons told The newspaper that other preliminary drafts of the judicial reform were until late in the afternoon entered by technical issues and disagreements, but that members of the Democratic caucus fought him to the end. It is about the three draft probation and the New York for All proposal, which proposes limiting the cooperation of local and state agencies with ‘Immigration’.
Other versions pointed out that of this package, only one change in the procedural benefit of parole would be approved, but one reduced and limited version which addresses only “technical” parole violations.
Spokesmen for hundreds of coalitions linked to “racial justice” campaigns, rejected the possibility that the normative texts to address the Senior Probation and Fair and Timely Probation.
Among the innumerable sequence of reactions of doubts and hopes, Jose Saldaña, Director of the Campaign for the Release of the Elderly in Prison, said that “when we launched this campaign, we knew on the last day of the session that two things would happen: Either we would win or we would continue fighting. We will never acknowledge defeat. Forever we will continue fighting and we will pass these bills. “
More than 300 organizations agreed in their demonstrations throughout the state, that there is a crisis of aging and death for New Yorkers in prison and their families, due to decades of extreme sentences by a Board of Parole that they claimed is marked by “racial prejudice.”
For example, Janette colon, leader of the group “Free the elderly from prisons” (RAPP) who is the wife of one of the many people in prisons in New York, wondered: “When will my daughter have the opportunity to be with her father? We don’t give up on our loved ones. We never give up”.
Likewise, the assembly member of the circuit Jackson Heights – Corona, in Queens, Jessica Gonzalez Rojas wrote on her twitter account, hours before the end of the legislative period: “I am ready to vote against the perpetual punishment. I am in favor of the draft of Probation and the Slate and New Account ”.