Over 160 Organizations Issue Joint Statement of Support for Parole Board

March 20, 2018– The undersigned join in strong support of the recent determination by the Parole Board to grant release to Mr. Herman Bell. This decision is the right outcome in this case based on the criteria used to determine parole. We must not allow politics to undermine the rule of law, nor should we discourage an agency from correctly performing its duties by allowing it to be bullied or cowed by the loudest voices and those with their own agendas.

The Parole Board, acting as an independent body and critical component of our criminal justice system, is charged with deciding whether an individual is ready for release and reentry. For far too long, parole determinations have been based solely on the nature of an individual’s past criminal behavior, rather than on remorse, rehabilitation, and a plan for successful reentry. This backward-looking approach ran counter to the purpose of parole, the goal of a safer and more just society, and to the rehabilitative aims of our criminal justice system. The September 2017 regulations approved by the Parole Board, by including factors related to the individual’s readiness for successful reentry, represent a critical course correction. These changes are essential to undoing the system of perpetual punishment and mass incarceration.

The Parole Board made its determination regarding Mr. Bell’s release with consideration to his past crime, the wishes of the victims’ families, and the substantive evidence of his rehabilitation during his nearly 50 years of incarceration. The board also took into account Mr. Bell’s very low risk of recidivism and the support of a broad network of individuals and community organizations. It also recognized that Mr. Bell has taken responsibility for his actions and demonstrated remorse.

We applaud the Parole Board for implementing the new regulations in Mr. Bell’s case and for having the courage to move towards the kind of transformational criminal justice reform that is needed.

 

Organizations

Abolitionist Law Center
Adalah-NY: Campaign for the Boycott of Israel
AFSC-Friend of a Friend
Alliance of Families for Justice
American Friends Service Committee
American Friends Service Committee Prison Watch
Anarchist Black Cross – NYC
Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC)
Bard Prison Initiative
Beacon Prison Action
Beyond the Box Initiative
Black & Pink
Black Lives Matter – Los Angeles
Black Lives Matter Brooklyn
Black Lives Matter Global Network
Bronx Defenders
Bronx Reentry Program
BronxConnect
Brooklyn Community Bail Fund
Brooklyn Defender Services
Brooklyn Law School National Lawyers Guild
Brownsville Think Tank Matters, Inc.
CADBI
Campaignetoendnewjimcrow-NY
Capital Area Against Mass Incarceration
Capital District Showing Up For Racial Justice
Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services
Center for Community Alternatives
Center for Constitutional Rights
Center for Employment Opportunities
Center for Family Representation
Center for Justice at Columbia University
Center for Political Education
Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law at NYU School of Law
Central Vermont Showing Up for Racial Justice
Certain Days Collective
Chicago Torture Justice Memorials
Children’s Haven: A Place of Healing & Hope
Coalition For Parole Restoration
College and Community Fellowship
Common Fire Foundation
Common Justice
Community Service Society
Criminal Justice Caucus at Columbia School of Social Work
Critical Resistance
Diaspora Solidaria
EAC Network
End New Jim Crow Action Network (ENJAN)
End Solitary Santa Cruz County
Equality Equation
Exodus Transitional Community, Inc
Exponents, Inc.
Fellowship of Reconciliation USA
Freedom Archives
Freedom Food Alliance / Victory Bus Project
Freedom Socialist Party
Gangstas making Astronomical Community Changes Inc
Greenburger Center for Social and Criminal Justice
Group 73 of Amnesty International, Ithaca, NY
Haiti Action Committee
Harlem Restoration Project, Inc.
Harvard Law School National Lawyer’s Guild
Hour Children
Housing Works
HousingPlus Solutions
Incarcerated Workers’ Organizing Committee – NYC
Initiative for Incarcerated Survivors of Gender Violence
Institute of the Black World 21st Century
Interference Archive
International Action Center
International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee
Jewish Voice for Peace
Jewish Voice for Peace Western Mass
Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club
John Brown Lives!
Justice and Unity for the Southern Tier (JUST)
JustLeadershipUSA
Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice
Labor-Religion Coalition of NYS
Law Firm of Siegel, Yee & Brunner
Legal Action Center
Legal Services for Prisoners With Children
Liberation Literacy
LifeLines Project
Linke Fligl
LYNNE STEWART ORGANIZATION
Man Up Inc. USA
Milk Not Jails
Mission High School
Mobilization for Justice, Inc.
Mott Haven Reformed Church
NAMI Huntington
National Action Network Second Chance
National Boricua Human Rights Network
National Jericho
National Lawyers Guild
National Lawyers Guild – New York City Chapter
Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem
Neighbors Together
NEW ABOLITIONIST MOVEMENT
New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services, Inc
New York Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement (CAIC)
New York City Jericho Movement
New York Civil Liberties Union
New York State Prisoner Justice Network
Northeast Political Prisoner Coalition
NYC Books through Bars
NYC Free Peltier
Osborne Association
Parole Justice – Albany
Parole Preparation Project
Police Reform Organizing Project
Prison Action Network
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition
Prisoner Reentry Institute at John Jay College
Prisoners Are People Too, Inc.
Puerto Rico on the Map
Race for Re-Entry
Rehabilitation Through The Arts
Release Aging People in Prison (RAPP)
Religious society of Friends, Amawalk Meeting
Resistance in Brooklyn
Resource Information Help for the Disadvantaged and Disenfranchised
Reuniting Families Contra Costa
Rise & Shine Community Services, Inc.
Rock Steady Farm & Flowers
Rockland Coalition to End the New Jim Crow
Scuffletown Anti-Repression Committee
Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) – NYC
Solidarity Research Center
Soul Fire Farm
ST. JAMES A.M.E. CHURCH
Struggle Committees Initiative
Students for Prison Education and Reform – Princeton University
SURJ Hudson
SURJ ROC (Showing Up for Racial Justice – Rochester)
SURJ Westchester
Sylvia Rivera Law Project
TASC of the Capital District
The Albany Social Justice Center, Inc.
The City School, Inc.
The Correctional Association
The Distinguished Social Ventures Foundation
The Doe Fund
The FANG Collective
The Fortune Society
The Incarcerated Nation Corporation
The Legal Aid Society
The Real Cost of Prisons Project
The Sentencing Project
The Watershed Center
Tightshift Laboring Cooperative
Trinity Lutheran Church, Rev. Samuel Cruz
University of San Francisco
Urban Justice Center
VOCAL-NY
Water Protector Legal Collective
WESPAC Foundation, Inc
West Town Law Office
White Pine Community Farm
Women and Justice Project
Women’s March
Women’s Prison Association
Youth Represent

 

Individuals

Adrienne Hurley, Professor, McGill University
Albert Fermin
Alicia Garza, Co-founder, Black Lives Matter Global Network / principal, Black Futures Lab
Allison Guttu
Amaris
Amy Harlib
Anna Nathanson
Augustin Gonzalez
Betania Santos
Casper Burghgraeve
Chase Niesner
Colleen O’Connor
Connor
Curtis Austin, Associate Professor
Damaris Miller
Dan Quart, NYS Assemblymember
Dan Siegel, Civil Rights Attorney
Daniela Markowicz
Darren Mack, Social Justice Advocate
Darryl Nubyahn
Deborah Weissman
Dennis Derryck, Professor of Professional Practice
Diane Fujino
Donna M Accettulli
Dr. Libby Lewis, Pan African Studies Department, Assistant Professor
Dr. Stacey Ault
Five Mualimmak
Gene Washington
George Cammarota
George Guerci
Gregory Jean
Harriet Plewis
Heather Ann Thompson, Professor of History
Herb Sturz
Jane Alpert
Jared Ware
Joel van de Sande
Julie Ruben
Karen Palmer
Karen Shain
Kassandra Frederique
Katie Hammond
Kelsey De Avila
Kelsey Wright
Kevin Parker, NYS Senate
Kirsten Gill
Laura McTighe
Laura Whitehorn
Lisa Roth
Louise Kuhn
Luis Sepulveda, NYS Assemblyman
Lynne Karsten
Manuel la Fontaine
Mary Brey
Mary Patten, Professor, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Matthew Kennedy
Mechthild Nagel, Professor of Philosophy, SUNY Cortland
Mic
Michelle Chen
Michelle Spark, The National Buddhist Prison Sangha, Senior Advisor
Nana Gyamfi, Adjunct Professor, Pan African Studies Department
Nando Rodriguez
Natacha Robert
Nathalie Cohen
Nicole Johnson
Nora Butler Burke
Pete White
Pirette McKamey
Professor Angela A. Allen-Bell
Professor Marsha Weissman, Adjunct Professor, Sociology, Maxwell School, Syracuse University
Professor Staci Mitchell
Professor Tony Thompson, NYU School of Law
Rev. Danilo LaChapel
Robin Kelley, Professor
Ruth Saxelby
Sam Bowman
Sara Black
Sarah Zeller-Berkman
Shabaka R Shakur
Shelley Lane
Shirene E
Sivan Amar
Sumayya Kassamali
Susan Horn
Susan Reverby, Emerita Professor
Susan Rosenberg
Susie Day
T’ai Rising-Moore
Tamika Graham, BPI TASC Teacher Fellow
Theresa Michell
Tiana Reid
Tim Barkert
Toni Hellmann
Valerie Forero
Vanda Seward
Victor Wallis
Zakia Henderson-Brown
Zoe Samudzi

 

If your organization wishes to be included as a signatory, please click here. We will continue to update this list.

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Established in 1973, the Legal Action Center is the only non-profit law and policy organization in the United States whose sole mission is to fight discrimination against people with histories of addiction, HIV/AIDS, or criminal records, and to advocate for sound public policies in these areas.

 

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