A09040 Summary:

COSPNSRCarroll, Aubry, Mosley, Cruz, Lentol, Lavine, Perry, Kim, Ortiz, Gottfried, Blake, O'Donnell, Simon, Epstein, Simotas, Barron, Reyes, Rodriguez, Walker, Rosenthal D, Cook, Rozic, Pichardo, Taylor, Dickens, Joyner, Rosenthal L, Niou, Wright, Fahy, Darling, Hyndman, Vanel
MLTSPNSRFrontus, Hevesi, Quart
Amd 259-c, Exec L
Relates to parole eligibility for certain inmates age fifty-five or older.
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A09040 Actions:

01/10/2020referred to correction
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A09040 Memo:

submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
SPONSOR: De La Rosa (MS)
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the executive law, in relation to parole eligibility for certain inmates aged fifty-five or older   PURPOSE: To create a process to evaluate older prisoners to determine whether they pose a significant public safety risk.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 adds a new subdivision 18 to section 259-c of the executive law. Section 2 provides an effective date.   JUSTIFICATION: New York's disproportionate use of long and life prison sentences has led to a steep rise in the population of older people in the State's Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS). Nearly 1 in 5 people in DOCCS is serving a life or virtual life sentence (with a maximum sentence of 50 years or more)-a total of 9,229 people. Of this group, 1,207 are serving a life without parole or virtual life without parole sentence (a minimum sentence of 50 years or more) and are effec- tively sentenced to die in prison without any individualized review or public safety assessment. Even as the total DOCCS population has fallen by more than 30 percent since the year 2000, the number of older people in prison has more than doubled during the same time period as a result of these long sentences and more time served. There are currently 10,239 people aged 50 and older and 5,767 peopled aged 55 and older in DOCCS custody. People aged 50 and older now represent more than 20 percent of all people in DOCCS custody. Decades of research from corrections experts across the country shows that people in prison age at an accelerated rate and have a physiolog- ical age 1015 years older than their actual age because of the adverse and unhealthy environments of prisons and jails. Incarcerated people aged 55 are commonly known by experts in the field to be more like 65 or 70 years old. The Federal Bureau of Prisons and most state prison systems define incarcerated people as "older" beginning at age 50. The Acting Commissioner of DOCCS and DOCCS Medical Director classify incar- cerated people as older once they reach 55 years of age. The steady growth of older people in prison has led DOCCS to open prison hospice units, units for the cognitively impacted, and other older adult facilities for people with dementia, diabetes, heart disease, and other physical and cognitive disabilities relating to old age. In addition to the toll that long-term incarceration, aging, and dying in prison takes on people, families, and communities across New York State, it costs taxpayers $100,000 to $240,000 per year to incarcerate one older adult in DOCCS custody. The total cost to incarcerate all older adults in DOCCS is conservatively estimated at roughly $1 billion per year. Years of evidence, including decades of DOCCS own data, shows that people `age out of crime,' and that older people pose the lowest risk of recidivism when released. DOCCS has often credited incarcerated older people with developing the most effective therapeutic in-prison programs that have helped thousands of younger incarcerated people transform their lives. When released at an age when they can still be productive, many formerly incarcerated older people continue to be of service to their home communities and enhance community safety. This bill permits the Board of Parole to evaluate all incarcerated people over the age of 55 who have served at least 15 years in prison for possible parole release. It does not mandate release, but allows the Board to make an individualized public safety assessment to determine whether an individual is safe to be released to parole supervision even if he or she has not completed his or her minimum sentence. After making such an assessment, the Board has the discretion to grant such release.   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: This bill will save the state money if it results in an increase in the release rate of older prisoners who might otherwise need expensive medical care and specialized housing within the prison system.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the one hundred and eightieth day after it shall have become a law.
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A09040 Text:

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                    January 10, 2020
        Introduced  by  M.  of  A.  DE LA ROSA -- Multi-Sponsored by -- M. of A.
          QUART -- read once and referred to the Committee on Correction
        AN ACT to amend the executive law, in relation to parole eligibility for
          certain inmates aged fifty-five or older
          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:

     1    Section  1.  Section 259-c of the executive law is amended by adding a
     2  new subdivision 18 to read as follows:
     3    18. notwithstanding any other section of the law, where a person serv-
     4  ing a sentence of incarceration has served at least fifteen years  of  a
     5  determinate  or indeterminate sentence and has reached the age of fifty-
     6  five or greater, the board shall conduct  a  hearing  pursuant  to  this
     7  section  and  section two hundred fifty nine-i of this article to deter-
     8  mine whether such person should be released to community supervision. If
     9  the board determines that there is a  reasonable  probability  that,  if
    10  such person is released, he or she will live and remain at liberty with-
    11  out  violating  the  law and that his or her release is not incompatible
    12  with the welfare of society, then the board shall release the person  to
    13  community  supervision  even  if  the  person has not served the minimum
    14  sentence imposed by the judge. If release to  community  supervision  is
    15  not granted, the inmate shall be informed in writing within two weeks of
    16  such  appearance  of  the  factors  and  reasons  for the denial of such
    17  release and the board shall specify a date  not  more  than  twenty-four
    18  months  from  such determination for reconsideration, and the procedures
    19  to be followed upon reconsideration shall be the  same.  If  release  to
    20  community supervision is granted, the board shall set release conditions
    21  and  the  provisions of this section shall otherwise apply as though the
    22  inmate was released after the completion of his or her minimum sentence.
    23    § 2. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after
    24  it shall have become a law.
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
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