President Greenberg Discusses Parole Reform on the Capitol Pressroom

By Brandon Vogel

Hank Greenberg Headshot

A report from Columbia University’s Justice Lab found that the parole system in New York disproportionately impacts the Black and Latinx communities. President Greenberg appeared on the Capitol Pressroom to discuss the report and NYSBA’s efforts to tackle the issue.

He began by explaining what parole is. “(It) is typically to address circumstances where a person is released on conditional terms into the community to see if they can make their way and reintegrate in the community. Parole is a measure that tempers lengthy terms of imprisonment, in appropriate circumstances, and creates opportunities to be back in the community and contribute to society.”

He explained the difference between parole and probation. “Probation is a person who is released into the community who is subject to very very strict circumstances and conditions. Parole, in that respect, is similar but nevertheless there are differences.”

“It is a profoundly important issue to the administration of the law enforcement system with significant legal dimensions,” said Greenberg. “One of the things we try to do as an Association is serve as a resource to policymakers, state legislature and court system on issues where we can provide unique expertise and guidance. Parole is just such an issue.”

He said that the parole system is in desperate need of reform and the work NYSBA’s Task Force on Parole Reform did to study the issue. The task force’s first report focused on issues where New York could improve such as improving reincarceration rates. “In one recent year, nearly 30 percent of those incarcerated were persons who were reincarcerated for technical violations. It is enormously costly and, in many cases, enormously unfair.”

People who are on parole should be able to accrue good time credits as recommended by the Task Force on the Parole System.

Greenberg discussed the Columbia University report’s findings “that there were significant racial inequities in the administration of the parole system.” African-Americans are reincarcerated more than 12 times the rate of persons who are not of color, he said. “That is the shocking and stunning fact and provides yet an additional reason why we think lawmakers this legislative session should do this.”

Listen to the full interview here: https://soundcloud.com/user-18109193/03-20-20-cpseg5-6

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