Local prison reform advocates recognized, call for passage of reform bills in state senate

By Thomas O’Neil-White

On November 15, 2023

Thomas O’Neil-White/WBFO News
Jerome Wright and Donna Robinson of Release Aging People in Prison (RAPP)

Local and statewide prison reform advocates rallied at Niagara Square Thursday in support of two bills currently making their way through the state legislature.

The Elder Parole bill would grant an automatic parole hearing to an incarcerated person 55 years and older who has served 15 years of their sentence.

The Fair and Timely Parole bill would amend state law and allow for an incarcerated person to receive parole unless the parole board can prove that person is likely to commit another crime after they are released.

Numerous prison reform groups in including HALT Solitary Confinement and Release Aging People in Prison say these incarcerated elders are needed back in communities hit hardest by mass incarceration to help the younger generations steer clear of paths which lead to incarceration.

The rally also recognized Jerome Wright, Director of the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term Solitary Confinement campaign, his wife Susan and Donna Robinson, an organizer for Release Aging People from Prison for their crime reduction work in their communities. Jerome Wright was previously incarcerated for 30 years.

This piece was republished from WBFO NPR.

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