Parole reform advocates call for lawmakers to hold special session

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Parole reform measures including Fair & Timely Parole, and Elder Parole didn’t make it to the finish line during New York State’s legislative session. But, advocates continue to call on lawmakers to return to pass those bills. 

One of those advocates is TeAna Taylor whose father 47-year-old Leroy Taylor has been incarcerated since 2005. “I was always very close with my father, but because of the traumas in his life and what actually happened to be a drug induced psychosis, he committed a very violent crime,” TeAna Taylor said.

Leroy Taylor was sentenced to 22 years to life after he was convicted of 2nd degree murder and reckless endangerment in the 1st degree. But, since then TeAna says he has worked on himself and earned multiple college degrees. “He decided that his crime wasn’t going to define him, he was going to do everything in his power to rehabilitate himself to find out why this happened and to make sure other families don’t go through this violence and trauma that he caused,” she said.

She’s now fighting for Elder Parole, which would give incarcerated New Yorkers over the age of 55 who have served at least 15 years of their sentence an automatic parole hearing. And, she wants Fair & Timely Parole. Under that proposal a parole board would focus more on someone’s rehabilitation, and risk to society than their original crime. 

Chel Miller with the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault also supports the legislation. “We come to understand that many survivors themselves really just want to stop cycles of violence, and they want accountability. And we see endless incarceration and punishment as a systemic barrier,” Miller said.

But, Republicans and the District Attorneys Association of The State Of New York have spoken out against the bills. DAASNY’s president has said if these bills were approved, “a violent offender or a convicted murderer will be released after serving 15 years of their sentence and being 55 years of age unless the Parole Board determines that the offender poses a current and unreasonable risk to society.”

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