Senator Anthony Palumbo (R,C-New Suffolk), ranking member of the Senate Codes Committee and member of the Judiciary Committee today raised several concerns over proposed parole legislation S.15A – Elder Parole and S. 7514 – Fair and Timely Parole at a Senate hearing in Albany.
“As a former prosecutor and attorney, I understand that reforms are needed to improve New York’s criminal justice and parole systems. However, I fear that the bills before us today will make the state more dangerous and push the rights and needs of crime victims and law-abiding citizens to the backburner,” said Senator Palumbo. “These radical provisions not only weaken the voice of crime victims, but they also remove lifetime sentencing without parole for the state’s most heinous crimes.”
Senator Anthony Palumbo noted that the United States Department of Justice statistics reveal that individuals paroled between the ages of 55 and 64, re-offend at a rate of 56%--those released at the ages of 65 and over at a rate of 40.1%. Therefore, in the interest of public safety, any changes to parole eligibility must include exceptions for serial killers, terrorist, cop killers and other serious offenses. Additionally, the testimony of crime victims and their families must not be weakened when determining parole.
“These bills in their current form are flawed as they technically re-sentence defendants, who already received the benefit of mitigation and fairness at the time of their original sentence. This is just a continuation of Albany weakening judicial discretion at a time when we need more of it,” remarked Palumbo. “Together, Elder Parole and Fair and Timely parole would result in the release of far too many dangerous individuals, worsening skyrocketing crime rates and making the state a more dangerous place for all New Yorkers.”