Support New York State Clemency Initiative

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Thank you for taking time to read this petition.  Our coalition, Freedom Unshackled, has launched this petition  to hold Gov. Cuomo accountable for his 2015 vow to create a more just, fairer and compassionate New York, by granting clemency to incarcerated men and women who are deserving of a second chance.

Our goal is for Governor Cuomo to agree to grant clemencies four times a year with a minimum of six applications awarded Time Commutations (3 men , 3 women). Clemency is a crucial part of criminal justice reform because it reduces the thousands of American citizens incarcerated today due to cruelly long prison sentences.

 We are advocating for the 1,800 applications that are currently on the Governor’s desk be vetted appropriately and expeditiously.

Governor Cuomo has not only failed to live up to his promises, he lags behind his predecessors:

·         Governor Cary issued 155 commutations.

·         Governor Mario Cuomo issued 37 commutations.

·         Governor George Pataki issued 32 commutations.

·         At the end of 2019, Governor Cuomo has only shortened 11 sentences.

·         We are not asking that any of the current requirements for Executive Clemency be changed or altered in any way.

On August 21, 2017 the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NYSACDL) announced its commitment to a major New York State Clemency initiative. The program helps recruit, train, and provide resources to pro bono attorneys assisting state prisoners with commutation petitions.

We understand that these are unprecedented times; yet there is no better time to put our words into action. It is past time to address the lack of attention Gov. Cuomo has given to a promise he made. 

As the late Honorable John Lewis said: "When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have to speak up. You have to say something ; you have to do something"

Thank you for your time and cooperation regarding this urgent issue.