July 9, 2019: State Bar Association Launches Task Force to Study Parole System

NYSBA Task Force Will Look to Identify Problems with the State’s Current Parole System and Propose Policy Solutions

New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) President Hank Greenberg has announced the establishment of a task force that will study the state’s current system of parole.

“The state Legislature has undertaken wide-ranging criminal procedure reform in areas of bail, speedy trial guarantees, and the discovery process,” said Greenberg. “However, these reforms have focused on issues that arise prior to the trial, conviction, and sentencing. The task force will do a deep dive into the state’s parole system and propose reforms to ensure due process and fairness for the thousands of parolees statewide.”

Greenberg said the mission and objective of NYSBA’s Task Force on the Parole System will be to study the current parole system with a focus on release practices as well as revocation and reincarceration. It will seek to identify problems in the current system and propose policy solutions, including new concepts in the administration of the parole system and changes in the law.   

Parole is a period of conditional release to supervision in the community following a period of incarceration in state or federal prison. Parolees include individuals serving indeterminate sentences who are discretionarily released from prison to community supervision and those serving determinate sentences who are required to serve a specific period of supervised release in the community after serving a designated term of imprisonment.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, New York reincarcerates the second-most defendants in the nation for technical violations of parole. Technical violations include parole supervision violations such as simply missing a meeting with a parole officer. Further, technical violations accounted for 29 percent of the 21,675 people who were sent to prison in New York state in 2016, the most recent data available, according to the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. 

Past NYSBA President Seymour W. James, Jr., a longtime criminal defense lawyer who is currently a partner at Barket Epstein Kearon Aldea & LoTurco in New York City, and William T. Russell, Jr., a NYSBA Executive Committee member and partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in New York City, will co-chair the task force.

The members of the Task Force on the Parole System bring vast experiences from all aspects of the criminal justice system including judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys. The members are:

  • Daniel R. Alonso, managing director and general counsel, Exiger, New York City
  • Hon. Ellen N. Biben, Supreme Court, New York County
  • Catherine A. Christian, special assistant district attorney, New York County
  • David C. Condliffe, executive director, Center for Community Alternatives, Brooklyn
  • Kwesi Ako Dash, Alliance of Families for Justice, Brooklyn
  • Norman P. Effman, executive director, Wyoming-Attica; Wyoming County Public Defender
  • Eric Gonzalez, Kings County District Attorney, Brooklyn
  • Hon. Kathleen B. Hogan, New York Court of Claims, Saratoga
  • Hon. David R. Homer, Carter Conboy, Albany
  • Hon. Barry Kamins, Aidala, Bertuna & Kamins, New York City
  • Timothy J. Koller, executive assistant district attorney, Richmond County
  • Hon. Leslie G. Leach, Supreme Court, Queens County
  • Sherry Levin Wallach, Bashian P.C., White Plains
  • Wanda Lucibello, Safe Horizon, New York City
  • Karol V. Mason, president, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York City
  • Lorraine McEvilley, Legal Aid Society, New York City
  • Hon. James P. Murphy, Supreme Court, Onondaga County
  • Denise E. O’Donnell, distinguished senior fellow, New York University, Marron Institute
  • Insha Rahman, Vera Institute of Justice, New York City
  • P. David Soares, Albany County District Attorney, Albany
  • Jean T. Walsh, chief of Investigations Division, Bronx District Attorney’s Office
  • Hon. George A. Yanthis, retired magistrate judge, Southern District of New York
  • Steven M. Zeidman, professor, director of the Criminal Defense Clinic, CUNY School of Law

Martin Horn, distinguished lecturer at John Jay College and executive director of the New York State Sentencing Commission, will serve as an advisor on the task force.

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About the New York State Bar Association
The New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Since 1876, NYSBA has helped shape the development of law, educated and informed the legal profession and the public, and championed the rights of New Yorkers through advocacy and guidance in our communities.

Contact: Christian Nolan 
cnolan@nysba.org
518-487-5536