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March 28, 2017

New York State Board of Parole
Supervising Offender Rehabilitation Coordinator
Bedford Hills Correctional Facility
247 Harris Road
Bedford Hills, NY 10507-2400

Dear Commissioners of the Board of Parole:

We, the undersigned elected officials, write to express support for Governor
Andrew Cuomo’s recent grants of clemency, and to urge the parole board to
follow suit toward a more just and compassionate criminal justice system.

Governor Cuomo heralded the New Year by giving over 100 people the
opportunity for a second chance to live productive, meaningful and penitent
lives. Judith Clark was among those who received clemency. For more than
thirty years she has done everything a human being could do to repair,
repent and express remorse. Her accomplishments at Bedford Hills
Correctional Facility are extraordinary. She earned a BA in Behavioral
Sciences in 1990 and a Masters Degree in Psychology in 1993. She's been on
the staff of the Nursery Program, where she has taught prenatal parenting
classes for pregnant women. During the 1980s, to address the impact of the
AIDS epidemic at Bedford Hills, Judy co-founded ACE, an organization so
effective it has been replicated at prisons across the country. Judy also
helped to rebuild a prison college program when public funding was
eliminated, and as a result more than 150 women have been awarded
degrees. Judy now works in a special volunteer unit with the “Puppies Behind
Bars” program training puppies to become service dogs for disabled
veterans.

There are, as well, the more legal aspects of her case. She was the ‘getaway’
driver and did not fire any weapon. Others more seriously involved with the
crime, including those believed to have actually fired weapons, are already
out of prison. Even though it was her decision, the fact remains that she was
unrepresented from trial through sentencing. Her original sentence of 75-life
was especially harsh for a felony murder conviction. She was given this
sentence because the judge found her incorrigible and believed she would
never be rehabilitated. Ms. Clark proved the judge wrong and has evolved
into a caring and profoundly remorseful woman.

No doubt parole in some cases will cause great pain to victims and their
families. But where appropriate -- meaning where there has been ample
punishment, overwhelming proof of rehabilitation, acceptance of
responsibility and genuine remorse -- the door of mercy must remain open.
The correctional system does not exist solely for retribution but also for
rehabilitation. Judith Clark is the model example of rehabilitation. If she is
denied parole what does that say to all the other women and men in prison
who strive to become better and transformed human beings?

Elaine Lord, the former Superintendent at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility
witnessed firsthand Judy’s remarkable and genuine transformation and wrote
that “[O]ver many years, I watched [Ms. Clark] change into one of the most
perceptive, thoughtful, helpful and profound human beings that I have ever
known either inside or outside of a prison.”

At age 67 and after 35 years in prison, Judy Clark is among the oldest and
longest serving women in New York State prison. We ask that you consider
who she is today in 2017, not who she was in 1981, and implore you to grant
her release.

Respectfully,

Adriano Espaillat
Congress Member Tom Duane
Nydia Velazquez Former State Senator
Hakeem Jeffries Congress Member
Congress Member
Brad Hoylman Rodneyse Bichotte
Carolyn Maloney State Senator Assembly Member
Congress Member
Liz Krueger Michael Blake
Gregory Meeks State Senator Assembly Member
Congress Member
Velmanette Robert Carroll
Grace Meng Montgomery Assembly Member
Congress Member State Senator
Vivian Cook
Jerrold Nadler Gustavo Rivera Assembly Member
Congress Member State Senator
Inez Dickens
Jose Serrano Jose Serrano Assembly Member
Congress Member State Senator
Anthony D’Urso Matthew Titone
Assembly Member Assembly Member Frank Seddio
Kings County
Herman Farrell Democratic Committee
Assembly Member Latrice Walker Chair
Assembly Member
Deborah Glick Margaret Chin
Assembly Member Frank Seddio Council Member
Former Assembly
Richard Gottfried Member Danny Dromm
Assembly Member Council Member
Keith Wright
Pamela Harris Former Assembly Julissa Ferreras-
Assembly Member Member Copeland
Council Member
Ron Kim Emily Jane Goodman
Assembly member Former State Supreme Dan Garodnick
Court Judge Council Member
Barbara Lifton
Assembly Member David N. Dinkins Helen Rosenthal
Former Mayor Council Member
Francisco Moya
Assembly Member Scott Stringer Corey Johnson
Comptroller Council Member
Yuh-Line Niou
Assembly Member Letitia James Karen Koslowitz
Public Advocate Council Member
Victor Pichardo
Assembly Member Betsy Gotbaum Stephen Levin
Former Public Advocate Council Member
Dan Quart
Assembly Member Mark Green Mark Levine
Former Public Advocate Council Member
Jose Rivera
Assembly Member Eric Adams Rosie Mendez
Brooklyn Borough Council Member
Linda Rosenthal President
Assembly Member Bill Perkins
Gale Brewer Council Member
Rebecca Seawright Manhattan Borough
Assembly Member President Ritchie Torres
Council Member
Jo Ann Simon Keith Wright
Assembly Member New York County Ronnie Eldridge
Democratic Committee Former Council Member
Chair
Lew Fidler
Former Council Member

Robert Jackson
Former Council Member

Domenic Recchia
Former Council Member