Daily News: New York Clemency Program Gets Support from National Legal Advocacy Groups

The Legal Aid Society lauded an announcement from Governor Cuomo today that expands the State’s efforts to process and adjudicate more requests for clemency.

NY Daily News
New York Clemency Program Gets Support from National Legal Advocacy Groups
By Glenn Blain
August 21, 2017

A state program that helps criminal offenders obtain clemencies is gaining some major reinforcements.

Gov. Cuomo on Monday announced that the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and a handful of other national legal advocacy groups will join the state’s ongoing effort to identify inmates who may qualify for clemency and help them apply.

Cuomo administration officials said it’s the first time these groups have teamed with a state-based clemency program. They had been part of similar federal program that the Trump administration recently discontinued.

"These nationally recognized organizations have already proven successful in helping incarcerated individuals get access to the resources they need to apply for clemency, make the case for their rehabilitation and have the opportunity to contribute to and re-enter society," Cuomo said in a statement. "I'm proud to partner with them to expand the work of this administration and its partners and take one more step toward a more just, more fair and more compassionate New York for all."

New York’s program launched in 2015 with assistance from groups like the New York City Bar Association, the state Bar Association and the Legal Aid Society. It has so far identified approximately 1,700 potential applicants for clemency.

Administration officials believe the new partnership will bring greater resources to both help those inmates already identified as potential recipients and identify others.

Cuomo launched the clemency initiative in 2015 after receiving criticism from advocacy groups for granting only a handful of pardons and commutations during his first years in office.

Last December, however, he granted conditional pardons to more than 100 New Yorkers.

“We salute Gov. Cuomo and his administration for recognizing that people are capable of redemption and rehabilitation, and may have earned a fresh start in life,” said NACDL Executive Director Norman Reimer.

This article originally appeared in NY Daily News.