Parole reform advocates call for change, parole consideration for aging prisoners
Protesters gathered in Hastings on Hudson Saturday to call for parole reform, and for the release of aging people from behind bars.
Several groups, including People's Campaign for Parole Justice, led the charge advocating for two parole bills.
Rally organizers say 1 in 4 incarcerated New Yorkers are at least 50 years old, most being people of color.
Rep. Jamaal Bowman, whose districts include southern Westchester County, added his political weight to the demands.
"There are people who made mistakes, they paid their debt to society. Now let's bring them home, let's give them housing, jobs and opportunity to contribute as they age gracefully and with dignity," he said.
Jeffrey Deskovic, an attorney, was exonerated by DNA evidence after serving 16 years in prison.
"We're saying that anybody who's 55 and who's served 15 years should be considered for a parole hearing," Deskovic said. "Not guaranteed release, but just be considered for release on parole."
Organizers are asking all New Yorkers to contact state lawmakers to ensure passage of both parole bills.