NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A2035
TITLE OF BILL:
An act to amend the executive law, in relation to parole eligibility for
certain incarcerated persons aged fifty-five or older
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1 of the bill adds new subdivisions 18 and 19 to section 259-c
of the Executive Law ("State board of parole; functions, powers and
-Sub. 18: provides that a person 55 or older who has served at least 15
years of a sentence shall have an interview with the Board of Parole to
determine whether they should be released to community supervision with-
in 60 days of their 55th birthday or the last day of the 15th year of
their sentence, whichever is later. If release is not granted, the
person shall have a subsequent interview no more than 24 months later.
-Sub. 19: requires the Board of Parole to report quarterly to the Gover-
nor, Legislature and public about the outcomes of elder parole.
Section 2 of the bill is the effective date.
After decades of harsh sentencing practices, New York State holds the
shameful distinction of having the third-largest population of people
serving terms of life imprisonment in the country. Hundreds of incarcer-
ated New Yorkers - parents, grandparents and great-grandparents - may
never live to have an. individualized release assessment, no matter how
much they have changed in the years and decades since their conviction.
People serving life sentences are disproportionately Black and Latinx,
and they are aging rapidly behind bars.
The perpetual confinement of aging and elderly people is particularly
immoral as studies show that rearrest rates for older adults released
from prison are vanishingly small, particularly for those originally
convicted of serious crimes. However, even as New York's prison popu-
lation declined in the last two decades, the number of elders behind
bars grew substantially. New York has the second-largest prison budget
in the nation, spending between $100,000 and $240,000 annually for each
incarcerated older adult, which the New York State Department of
Correction and Community Supervision (DOCCS) defines as adults 55 years
of age or older, due to the accelerated aging people experience while in
There is a growing consensus among people across the political spectrum
that mass incarceration is ineffective, flawed, and racially biased. It
harms, rather than improves, community health and safety. Elder parole
would ensure that older adults serving long sentences have an opportu-
nity before the Parole Board to demonstrate their transformation. It
would not require anyone, regardless of their age; to be released. Rath-
er, it would empower the Parole Board to use its discretion by individ-
ually evaluating a person based on the factors established in Section
259-1 of the Executive Law.
This legislation would bring hope to incarcerated people who have worked
hard to change, as well as their families. It would allow people the
chance to safely return to their communities and save the state hundreds
of millions of dollars that could be reinvested to meet critical commu-
To be determined.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
A. 8855 of 2021-22 (Davila) Died in Correction
S.2144 of 2019-2020 (Hoylman): Died in Crime Victims, Crime, and
A.9040 of 2009-2020 (De La Rosa): Died in Correction
S.8581 of 2017-2018 (Hoylman): Died in Crime Victims, Crime and
A.6354-A of 2017-2018 (Weprin): Died in Codes
This act shall take effect immediately; provided that all persons who
meet the eligibility requirements established by section one of this act
upon the effective date of this act shall be interviewed within sixty
days of such date.