Senator Jordan and Senate Republican Colleagues Unveil Parole Reform Package

Proposals Would Protect Victims Against Pro-Criminal Policies of One-Party Rule, Fix the Governor’s Out-of-Control Parole Board & Keep New York’s Most Dangerous Criminals Behind Bars

ALBANY, NY -- Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt, Senator Daphne Jordan, along with members of the Senate Republican Conference today unveiled a Parole Reform package designed to protect crime victims by fixing the Governor’s out-of-control Parole Board and keeping violent criminals behind bars. As Democrats in Albany continue to advance policies that could release New York’s most dangerous criminals, Senate Republicans stood unified in their latest, ongoing push to restore common sense and public safety throughout the state.

Herman Bell. Anthony Bottom. Richard Rivera. The list of cop-killers released by Andrew Cuomo’s out-of-control Parole Board in the past few years goes on and on. As if that weren’t bad enough, radicals in the One-Party-ruled Legislature are now planning to spring New York’s most dangerous criminals loose with their latest “reforms.” Spree killers. Serial killers. Child killers. Even the Son of Sam and Mark David Chapman could be eligible to be released under Democrats’ dangerous proposals. To be clear, their proposals aren’t reform -- they are utter madness, especially at a time when crime rates in major metro areas all across the state are on the rise. It’s time for our colleagues on the other side of the aisle to reject this unsafe path, and join us in our efforts to restore common sense and public safety in New York,” said Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt.

“Governor Cuomo’s Parole Board is an unmitigated disaster and a public safety threat to all New Yorkers. By considering cop killers, serial killers, child killers, and notorious, remorseless killers like the Son of Sam and Mark David Chapman to be eligible for release, the Parole Board would further Cuomo and the Albany Democrats’ reckless, disturbing, and insane policy of coddling criminals and giving early release to the worst of the worst. We need top-to-bottom reform of NY's broken Parole Board that will tip the scales of justice back in favor of victims, law enforcement, and society. The constant shootings and assaults in New York City prove that stupid Democratic policies of defunding the police and empowering criminals are an abysmal failure that have cost lives and made our state less safe,” said Senator Daphne Jordan.

Keynotes of the Republican Parole Reform Package include:

S.6249 (Jordan) - Requires unanimous agreement by the parole board to release an inmate on parole.

S.2046 (Tedisco) - Requires that all victim impact statements in New York State be video recorded; requires that the members of the parole board review all relevant victim impact statements prior to the conduct of a parole hearing.

S.2261 (Gallivan) - Provides that any person interested in the grant or denial of discretionary release shall have the right to submit a written statement of views in support of or in opposition to the granting of discretionary release, which the parole board may consider.

S.2663 (Ritchie) - Requires that all comments and testimony made by a third party either in support or opposition in a parole hearing shall be considered when coming to a decision; adds provisions relating to confidentiality of victim statements.

S.3716 (Ortt) - Allows for the removal of members of the state board of parole by a majority vote in the senate and the assembly, requires three or more members of such board personally interview potential parolees; requires that the determination to parole an inmate be unanimous.

S.4197 (Griffo) - Authorizes the state board of parole to require a violent felony offender to serve his or her maximum term, if, by clear and convincing evidence, release would pose an imminent threat to society; authorizes the withholding of good behavior allowances of violent felony offenders by the state board of parole upon such a finding.

S.4649 (Akshar) - Requires that the parole board provide for the making of a verbatim record of each parole release interview and each preliminary or final revocation hearing within forty-five days after such interview or hearing; removes certain exceptions.

S.5175 (Palumbo) - Enacts “Lorraine's Law” -  increases from twenty-four to sixty months, the time for which reconsideration for parole for a violent felony offense shall be determined.

Since 2017, the state Parole Board has released at least 20 cop-killers, according to the Police Benevolent Association of New York. Under Democratic proposals such as so-called “Elder Parole” and the “Fair and Timely Parole Act,” even more notorious cop-killers would be eligible for release.

Furthermore, under Democrats’ proposals, New York’s most dangerous criminals could automatically be eligible for parole, regardless of the severity of the crime or prior sentencing. Some of these names include:

  • David Berkowitz, aka the “Son of Sam” - murdered six people and wounded seven others in a spree of shootings that occurred in 1976 and 1977 in New York City - sentenced 25 years to life.
  • Mark David Chapman - murdered John Lennon in 1980 - sentenced 20 years to life. Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono has previously urged the Parole Board to keep Chapman in prison.
  • Colin Ferguson - murdered six people and wounded 19 others in a shooting rampage on the Long Island Railroad in December 1993 - sentenced to 315 years to life in prison.
  • ​​Joel Rifkin - murdered at least nine women in New York City and Long Island, but is suspected of killing 17 women total between 1989 and 1993 - sentenced to 203 years to life in prison.