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NEW YORK STATE BLACK, PUERTO RICAN,

HISPANIC, AND ASIAN LEGISLATIVE CAUCUS


LEGISLATIVE OFFICE BUILDING ● ROOM 442-A, ALBANY, NY 12248
(518) 455-5347 ● BPHACAUCUS@NYASSEMBLY.GOV

EXECUTIVE OFFICERS
Assemblywoman Tremaine Wright
Chairperson
Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages
First Vice-Chair
Senator Luis Sepulveda March 19, 2019
Second Vice-Chair
Assemblyman Victor Pichardo Secretary
Hon. Andrew M. Cuomo
Senator Brian A. Benjamin
Treasurer Governor of New York State
Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou New York State Capitol Building
Parliamentarian Albany, New York 12224
Assemblywoman Latrice M. Walker
Chaplain
Dear, Governor Cuomo:
ASSEMBLYMEMBERS
Carl Heastie, Speaker
Carmen E. Arroyo We write urging to you immediately fill the vacant seats of the New York State
Jeffrion L. Aubry
Charles Barron
Parole Board (“Board”) with new commissioners to account for the severe
Rodneyse Bichotte understaffing that has impacted the Board’s capacity to conduct hearings in a timely
Michael A. Blake
Vivian E. Cook manner.
Marcos Crespo
Catalina Cruz
Maritza Davila We strongly believe that fully staffing the Board with qualified candidates who
Carmen De La Rosa prioritize rehabilitation as a pathway to successful re-entry is critical to ending mass
Inez E. Dickens
Erik Martin Dilan incarceration and strengthening public safety across the state.
Charles D. Fall
Nathalia Fernandez
Mathylde Frontus Although the current Executive Law permits nineteen commissioners to serve on the
David F. Gantt Board, only twelve commissioners are currently seated. This means just twelve
Pamela J. Hunter
Alicia L. Hyndman commissioners are reviewing roughly 1,000 cases every month for a total of 12,000
Kimberly Jean-Pierre cases each year.
Latoya Joyner
Ron Kim
Walter Mosley
Felix Ortiz
Such staffing levels leads to repeated postponements and shorter interviews, less
Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes time for individualized evaluations of parole applicants and their files, and other
N. Nick Perry
J. Gary Pretlow
administrative challenges. These conditions have devastating consequences for
Philip Ramos incarcerated New Yorkers, as many seeking parole are aging and infirm and cannot
Taylor Raynor
Karines Reyes afford to wait any longer for their appearances.
Diana C. Richardson
Jose Rivera
Robert J. Rodriguez An understaffed Board also means that most interviews are conducted by two
Nily Rozic commissioners, as opposed to the long-standing practice of three-person panels
Nader J. Sayegh
Al Taylor which allows a majority vote to prevail. Despite the fact that in August 2017
Michele R. Titus Chairperson Tina Stanford publicly testified to members of the Senate Committee on
Clyde Vanel
Jaime Williams Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections that two-person panels would no longer be
used, they are still in practice.
SENATORS
Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Leader
Jamaal Bailey Additionally, vacancies create an unsustainable work environment and have harmful
Leroy Comrie
Robert Jackson consequences directly impacting commissioners. Understaffing results in
Anna Kaplan
John Liu
commissioners who are overworked and unable to take time off or go on leave for
Monica Martinez fear of further burdening their colleagues. Earlier this year, two of the Board’s
Velmanette Montgomery
Zellnor Myrie
commissioners went on unexpected medical leave, leaving only ten commissioners
Kevin S. Parker responsible for the work of a Board designed to carry nineteen.
Roxanne Persaud
Jessica Ramos
Gustavo Rivera
Julia Salazar
James Sanders, Jr.
Jose M. Serrano
Kevin Thomas

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Kyle H. Ishmael, Esq.
As you select candidates for appointment, we urge you to consider prospective commissioners who come
from diverse professional backgrounds and reflect the identities and experiences of everyday New
Yorkers. Our efforts to reduce recidivism is not only contingent upon the investments we make to
improve conditions behind prison walls, but also the public servants we entrust to determine a person’s
readiness to be granted a second chance. We believe qualified social workers, psychologists, medical
professionals, restorative justice practitioners, faith-based leaders, teachers, and other therapeutic service
providers would make excellent candidates. Such appointees could make an objective assessment of a
person’s readiness for release, while maintaining the independence required of the Board and abiding by
the law that governs its practices.

For the above reasons and more, we strongly urge you to appoint seven qualified commissioners to the
New York State Parole Board. We are committed to swiftly confirming and onboarding those candidates,
so long as they meet the above criteria.

In the interest of fairness and justice for all New Yorkers, we ask for your partnership in this important
effort. The lives of many New Yorkers depend on it.

Sincerely,

Tremaine Wright
Chairperson