ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — Today marks the first day of National Crime Victims Week. With just 19 days left this legislative session lawmakers and advocates for crime victims are pushing for three bills they say will end the cycle of violence in many communities: Elder Parole, Fair & Timely Parole and Victim Compensation.
According to the US Department of Justice, only four percent of victims of violence receive compensation. The proposed bill would expand eligibility for victims and survivors of crime to access these funds.
The Fair & Timely bill would require that parole is offered to incarcerated people who are eligible unless they pose a risk that cant be handled by parole supervision.
Donna Hylton, CEO of A Little Piece of Light, was first a victim of sexual assault before she spent 27 years in prison. She recommends looking at individuals on a case by case basis. “Just start looking at peoples humanity and saying ‘okay, what happened to the person?’ Look at the individual as a whole person and lets see what we can do differently. And passing Fair & Timely and also Elder Parole will allow that to happen,” said Hylton.
And when it comes to Elder Parole, Senator Cordell Cleare says the elderly have paid their price and it’s time to get them out. “Because these people become very vulnerable, some are very ill, some are dying with terminal illnesses and it is really inhumane and a form of torture in some ways to even leave them in those circumstances. We know that the Department of Corrections is often the Department of Incorrections and rehabilitation is not occurring in that space,” said Cleare.
The Elder Parole Bill would give parole consideration to inmates 55 and older, after having served 15 years of their sentence.