There is new legislation being introduced in Albany, NY, that would allow inmates that are 55 years of age to be eligible for parole after serving 15 consecutive years, according to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.
This measure was introduced to the Senate by Brad Hoylman, a Democrat representing Manhattan. The measure however doesn’t mandate the release of the prisoner.
Judith Clark is a 69-year- old who served more than 37 years for her role in a 1981 Rockland County armored truck robbery. During the commission of the robbery two police officers were killed along with a security guard. Clark was paroled a week after the bill was introduced.
“It’s nuts. It’s unbelievable that a cop killer is being freed,” said Sen. Bob Antonacci, a Republican from Syracuse, to the Times Union of Albany.
The number of elderly prisoners in the New York prison system has risen 81% since 2000, despite the drop in the number of the overall prison population. This increase has required correctional facilities to hire more geriatric nurses and establish care units to treat these elderly prisoners. Some of these elderly inmates suffer from dementia, heart disease and diabetes.
The recidivism rate for elderly inmates is 5% for those released when older than 50 years. The recidivism rate drops to 4% when released at age 65, according to the article.
The parole board noted in Clark’s case her accomplishments while in prison, length of time served, her age, apologies to her victims, and her change of view from previous radical principles.
“There are so many more Judith Clarks out there—elder, incarcerated New York- ers who have honestly confronted their crimes, taken responsibility, served their time, and worked to change the path of their lives,” said Sen. Hoylman after Clark’s parole grant.