NY Parole Bill can Drive Down Crime by Providing Recently Released Prisoners with more Support, Training
by Yehudit Garmaise
Mayor Bill de Blasio has been saying for months that New York’s parole system, which provides no training or support for those who are leaving prison, is partially to blame for New York City’s currently high crime rate.
Now the mayor is urging the support of legislators and elected officials to support a bill that could help keep all New Yorkers safer by providing health care, mental health services, housing, transitional jobs, and discharge planning for prisoners who are leaving prison.
“The fact is that parolees coming back from prison are four times more likely to be either a victim or a perpetrator of gun violence than other folks who have had connections to the criminal justice system,” said Mayor de Blasio this morning at his press conference. “The way to prevent that is to give them the support and services that point them toward a better life, that point them toward redemption.”
“We have to change the way that state parole is handled to help make sure that folks who come back from prison into our communities, actually get support to be reintegrated into our society.”
The mayor has been asking for support for the new parole bill not just of legislators, who have expressed enthusiasm about the bill, but by reaching out to mayoral candidates, who should “weigh in on this important matter today before the legislature in Albany,” he said.
So far, however, only Eric Adams and Maya Wiley have come out in support of the legislation.
“I am urging a show of unity to help New York City to move forward and help us get fairness from the state of New York,” said the mayor. “The New York state legislature now has the opportunity to do something historic to make sure the state of New York holds the same standard that the city does right now for ensuring that folks coming out of incarceration, returning citizens, get the support they need.
“There has been an amazing support in Albany, a lot of energy to get this done, and this [parole bill] will be historic reform [that creates more public safety].”
Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.