ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – It’s been a busy day for advocates rallying to get various bills passed before New York State’s legislative session ends on Thursday.
With a deadline looming, progressive advocates say the time is now to pass Clean Slate legislation. It would seal old conviction records for New Yorkers who have already served their time. Formerly incarcerated New Yorkers say it would help them secure employment.
“I’m 71-years-old. I’m not ready to sit down and wait for a Social Security check. I want to work. I got a lot to give,” said Gregory Pierce with the Center for Community Alternatives.
Activists are also supporting parole reforms like Elder Parole. People over 55 who have served at least 15 years of their sentence would get an automatic parole hearing. Tomb stone signs were put up in West Capitol Park to symbolize New Yorkers who have died while incarcerated.
“At 21-years-old I came home from prison. The woman I left behind there whose name is Linda made a birthday cake for my 21st birthday. That was over 20 years ago. She’s still there languishing, over 70 years old,” said New Hour Executive Director Serena Ligouri.
Republican lawmakers have spoken out against these policies, instead wanting reforms to bail reform laws. The Senate and Assembly both have democratic supermajorities.
“We just see it as a continued step in the wrong direction. It seems amazing to me that while we have this spike in crime they’re talking about more soft-on-criminal legislation,” Assembly Republican Leader Will Barclay said Monday.