Clemency for Bryon Russ
Clemency for Bryon Russ
We ask you to sign this petition in support of the decision that Bryon K. Russ Sr. be granted Executive Clemency by the New York State Governor.
We are seeking Executive Clemency by way of sentence commutation for Bryon. He has served twenty-two (22) years in prison. Bryon was sentenced to consecutive sentences totaling 49 years for robberies he committed when he was 24. Bryon’s conditional release date is not until 2034. We believe Bryon should be granted clemency because he uses his time incarcerated productively and responsibly to rehabilitate himself and pro-actively advance himself and those that surround him in positive ways. Bryon has completed all therapeutic programs the NYS Department of Corrections offers. He has participated in voluntary programs like Youth Assistance Program (YAP), Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) and Alternative to Violence Program (AVP). Bryon has also facilitated educational and therapeutic classes for other people in prison on topics like alternatives to violence, aggression replacement, AIDS/HIV education, basic education, general business, and Real Estate. He has obtained training and certificates for Asbestos removal, forklift operation, woodworking, culinary skill, manufacturing, as well as teaching other people in prison. His a achieve certifications in Incarcerated Program Associate (IPA), legal research clerk, and vocational skill. Bryon has obtained 48+ credits toward his associate degree, through the Cornell Prison Education Program (CPEP), offered by Cornell University and is now a student in the Hudson Link College program, through Mercy College, at Sing Sing Correctional Facility. Bryon most recently completed his paralegal training through correspondence courses with Blackstone Career Institute and is now certified as a Legal Assistant/Paralegal. In 2019 Bryon and his family began organizing an annual book-bag and school supply giveaway and this effort has grown larger every year.
Bryon is currently employed as an Incarcerated Program Associate (IPA) assigned to Transitional Services. There he facilitates Aggression Replacement Training (ART), Orientation, and Phase 1, 2, & 3 programs. All of these programs are geared toward helping a person adjust to prison, improving a persons mindset and provide them with skills and tool to be healthier member of society. Bryon is also an Alternatives to Violence (AVP) facilitator. AVP has finally resumed after years of closure due to the pandemic and Bryon is able to resume facilitating workshops once a month providing other people in prison tool to recognize and remedy their trigger’s and provide them alternatives to violence. Bryon also mentors other people in not just in AVP but independently, and encourage each person he encounter to start their transformation “NOW” to commit to a life of non-violence and recognize the power of positive works.
Bryon also participates is several voluntary programs to further his interest and deepen his rehabilitation. Bryon achieved his Prison Aides Counseling and Education(PACE) certificate during the pandemic through cell studies and has begun facilitating workshop to counsel and educate other people in prison. He participates in Rehabilitation Through the Art (RTA) and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Bryon was Chairmen of the Inmate Liaison Committee (ILC) and much of this term was spent helping with COVID-19 mitigation effort while in Elmira Correctional Facility.
As you have read, Bryon makes great use of his time while incarcerated. He recognizes and is deeply remorseful for the harm he has caused by the crimes he committed and he makes no excuses for those crimes. He invites the victims to reach out to him (or the District Attorney’s of the matters) so they are able to have an opportunity to heal holistically. Most importantly he wants the victims, Rebekka Hendrichson, Nelson Velasquez, Sincere Holmes, to know he is of no harm to them once he is released. He is grateful for the opportunity to better himself. Not only has Bryon made extensive improvements to himself and his thinking, he works tirelessly to assist others in doing the same, both inside and outside of the prison walls. Simply stated, Bryon is no longer the 24 year old boy that was arrested and sentenced to 49 years in prison. In the 22 years Bryon has been incarcerated, he has never received a disciplinary ticket for any form of violence. He has never received a disciplinary ticket for drug use, weapons use, or weapons possession. Bryon has learned from his mistakes and deserves a fair and thorough consideration for clemency.
Other members of the community see Bryon’s growth and development as well and strongly support his release, many have wrote and sent the Governor letters of support for Bryon’s clemency and sentence commutation. Bryon is highlighted and a “poster child” in the Communities Not Cages campaign, a campaign to overhaul New York’s sentencing laws. Through advocacy work around this campaign Bryon and his wife, Jolene, met Caroline Coyer, a (then) New York University School of Journalism Honors Student, and she created a film about Bryon, “A Second Look.” This film tells the family’s story and emphasizes a need for Second Look Resentencing in New York State.
We ask that you please sign this petition in support of the Governor’s decision to grant Bryon K. Russ Sr. Clemency as a sentence commutation and allow him to be released as soon as possible. We are asking for a fair and careful review of his entire clemency proposal, video introduction, A Second Look film short, case file and institutional report. The idea of Bryon having to serve yet another 12-18 years in prison seems like a gross injustice, not only to Bryon and our family, but also to the taxpayers of New York. Please allow Bryon an opportunity to put all the great self-work and personal betterment he has done to use, gain his freedom, re-enter society, and become the productive and successful citizen he has prepared himself to be.
Thank you for your support.
-The Family of Bryon K. Russ Sr.