Parole advocates pack NYS Capitol pressing lawmakers to pass reform


ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — More than a hundred people packing the Million-Dollar Staircase end-to-end Wednesday afternoon, hoping their voices will echo up to lawmakers.

“We was written off, right? But we demonstrated that we have the ability to transform and evolve in astounding ways,” says Michael Love, who was among a group of formerly incarcerated people receiving honors.

The gathered parole justice advocates and NYS assembly members recognizing community contributions from formerly incarcerated persons by presenting them with official proclamations and citations. From volunteer work to educating others to building affordable housing for those freshly released from the system, these honorees say they’re committed to giving others the same chance at freedom.

“One thing I said, when I get home, I’m not gon’ forget the ones behind,” says honoree Curtis Tucker.

“We should not have had to do this again, but here we are,” exclaimed Rep. Zohran Mamdani.

Assembly members also calling on their colleagues to pass two bills, the first being Elder Parole designed to give people 55 or older who’ve served at least 15 years of their sentence increased chances at release. Meanwhile, the Fair & Timely Parole bill aims to amend Board of Parole requirements when making their reviews.

Those gathered at the Capitol say they hope the people of New York will see what good those behind bars can still do.

“Not only to celebrate the agents of change that we know are all around us when people get freed from incarceration, but to call on our colleagues to also recognize that we have to re-center rehabilitation,” says Rep. Amanda Septimo.

“I am doing the work, I am part of the movement, and I’m remembering that when I was incarcerated, someone did this for me, and so now I stand in the gap supporting those that I have left behind,” says Sharon Richardson, another honoree.

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