Community groups rally for passage of parole justice, clean slate and New York for All legislation

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KINGSTON – Formerly incarcerated people, families and community organizations rallied in Kingston, Newburgh and Yonkers on Wednesday, calling on the state legislature to adopt a package of bills before the session ends in one month.

The groups said the four bills would reunite families, end perpetual punishment and address the criminalization of black, brown and immigrant communities.

In Kingston, Rise Up Kingston, Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson and other groups gathered to urge Senator Michelle Hinchey to support the legislation, said Rise Up Kingston Executive Director Callie Jayne.

“We are also encouraging people to call Andrea Stewart-Cousins (Senate Majority Leader), and Carl Heastie (Assembly Speaker) to make sure they bring this to a vote before the end of legislative session this year,” she said.

The Elder parole bill would allow people in state prison over the age of 55 who have served at least 15 years to appear before the parole board for consideration of potential parole release.

The Fair and Timely Parole bill would change the factors considered by the parole board to prioritize rehabilitation and current risk to public safety.

The Clean Slate measure would seal and expunge old conviction records to address the barriers to housing and jobs facing the 2.3 million New Yorkers with conviction records.

The New York for All bill would end collaboration between local law enforcement and ICE to address the criminalization of immigrants.