New York has announced it will close six prisons next year as the state’s prisoner population dropped to its lowest level since 1984. In related news, the advocacy group Release Aging People in Prison, or RAPP Campaign, held multiple rallies Tuesday to urge Governor Kathy Hochul to dramatically increase the number of prisoners granted clemency. The group says that 16,000 clemency applications have been filed since 2011, yet former Governor Andrew Cuomo commuted just 41 sentences. This is an advocate reading the words of Kim Brown, a prisoner at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. She has been behind bars for around half her life.
Roslyn Smith: “'Blacks are disproportionately sentenced to exponentially higher sentences than our white counterparts. And until the legislation or governor does something to change that, justice will never be served. The last three women to receive clemency were all white women. Two of them served less time than me.'”