Manhattan DA Candidates Vote on Latest Elder Parole Study for Elderly Inmates


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The top two candidates seeking to become Manhattan’s next prosecutor spoke out on a new report detailing the huge death toll in New York State’s prison system.

On October 12, the Columbia University Center for Justice released a report finding that more people have died in the New York State prison system in the past decade than the total sum of executions in the 300 years of capital punishment.

Entitled “New York State’s New Death Penalty,” this study found that since 1976, 7,504 people have died while in the custody of the Department of Corrections. Although New York City last executed an inmate in 1963 and the death penalty was eventually banned in 2007, researchers found it did not slow death from aging, disease, and others. problems.

In addition, 56% of deaths over the past decade were in people aged 55 and over. Researchers as well as lawmakers, Congressman Jerry Nadler and his family have recommended the passage of senior parole – allowing those 55 and over who have already served 15 years an opportunity for parole – parole fair and timely.

In response to that report, Democratic candidate for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg told amNewYork Metro exclusively that he believes it is essential that the two bills – Elder Liberation and Fair and Timely Parole – be adopted to lighten the prison system while protecting those inside.

“As a longtime New Yorker, civil rights lawyer and district attorney candidate, I am appalled by the findings of this report. We cannot just say that we are against the death penalty, while allowing people to die in prison who pose no security risk – the vast majority blacks and Latinos. We must pass the Elderly Parole Bill and the Fair and Timely Parole Bill and expand the use of clemency to end the death crisis in state prisons. New York. More importantly, these common sense reforms will save lives and reunite families, and they will also save hundreds of millions of dollars a year that should be reallocated to support the safety and well-being of the community.

Republican district attorney candidate Thomas Kenniff also weighed in, saying the number of prison deaths does not give the big picture as there are those who are serving life sentences and have committed terrible crimes who will eventually die of natural causes; However, it is alarming to see the deaths due to negligent care and violence.

“The fact that there are more deaths in prison than executions is not at first glance a complete statistic. New York State has not carried out any executions for almost 50 years. However, many people have received life sentences for heinous crimes such as premeditated murder. One would expect that many of these people would end up dying in prison from natural causes, ”said Kenniff,“ What is alarming is any circumstance in which a person dies in prison as a result of unsuccessful causes. natural, be it abuse or neglect. care. Regardless of the crime, we cannot tolerate punishment that is unduly cruel or inconsistent with our values ​​as Americans. “

As candidates and elected officials have expressed their views on the policies and state of Rikers Island, families continue to be caught in the middle.

“It is simply ruthless to say that anyone should languish and die alone in prison because of archaic and racist policies. My own father was sentenced to 22 years of life and, like the vast majority of people who have matured behind bars, he is fully rehabilitated. It would crush our family if he were continually denied parole and died there, as has happened to countless other fathers, mothers and grandparents, ”said TeAna Taylor, Co-Director of Policy and Communications at the People’s Campaign for Parole Justice.

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