For the 22,000 people serving indeterminate sentences in New York State prisons, appearing before the parole board is their only opportunity for release. However, obtaining release on parole is notoriously difficult in New York State and 60-70% of applications are rejected. Many of these individuals have undergone deep personal transformations, completing required and voluntary programming, obtaining low risk scores on evidence-based risk assessment, and developing strong release plans. Regardless of the progress individuals make during their time in prison and their readiness to rejoin their communities, many applicants find their requests denied time and time again. This repeated rejection, which is frequently based on the nature of a crime they committed decades prior, extends the individual’s prison sentence far beyond the sentencing judge’s intention and effectively acts as a second sentence. With training and supervision from expert attorneys of the Parole Preparation Project, pro bono attorneys assist pre-screened, eligible clients with administrative appeals and file Article 78 petitions. This pro bono project will both provide individual representation to parole-eligible people who have been denied release, filling a major gap in services, as well as contribute to the state-wide movement for parole reform by centralizing litigation efforts.
Pro Bono Firms and Legal Departments: Pending