mass incarceration

77 petitions

Update posted 1 week ago

Petition to Governor Kathy Hochul

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.

Jolene Russ
5,973 supporters
Started 4 months ago

Petition to

Give More Money to Black Neighborhoods to Keep Blacks Out of Jail.

The US government needs to give more money to Black neighborhoods in order to help close the wealth gap. The reason why this is important is because wealth inequality between Black Americans and White Americans is a major contributing factor in the high Black incarceration rate in the US. While black people only make up around 38% of prisoners, they only make up 13% of the US population as opposed to whites who have the highest prison percentage and make up around 75% of the population. It is estimated that 1 in every 3 Black boys will grow up to become prisoners, as opposed to 1 in 6 Latino boys, and 1 in every 17 White boys. Likewise, it was estimated in 2021 that around 21 percent of Black people in America live below the poverty line, as opposed to 8.2 percent of White people and 15 percent of Hispanic/Latino people. It is easy to see that there is a correlation between income and criminal frequency. While this is not the only cause for Black incarceration, it is definitely one of them. If we can give Black neighborhoods and low income neighborhoods in general more funding than they currently have been getting, we can use that money to create better homes, better jobs, better education, better opportunities for Black youth, ect. This money can also be used to create youth centers that will keep Black youths away from crime and better rehabilitation for existing criminals.  It has been estimated that Black households hold 10 cents for every dollar held by White households. This is a clear inequality that must be stamped out. It is important that action is taken by the US government to solve this pressing issue because fair and equal opportunities for all is something that we as a country must achieve if we are to call ourselves the greatest country on earth.

Zachary Preval
45 supporters
Update posted 6 months ago

Petition to Board of Parole Hearing, Kathleen Allison, Office of Ombudsman

Wrongfully Detained in Prison

For any questions or comments, please reach out to Esther Wolczynski @ (209)888-7546. Click here to view THE PAIN OF A FATHERLESS CHILD - Mr. Williams' daughters describe their own experience of their father's incarceration and its impact on them. For those of you who are just joining the journey, please read the latest update, 8/9/2022: In 2011, Billy D. Williams, passed up a 5-year plea deal, and was harshly sentenced to 30 years for a robbery conviction. The base term was only 5 years, but extreme gun enhancements added an additional 25 years. Let’s be clear, Mr. Williams is not a repeat offender, not a violent offender, and the 30-year sentence was handed down as a mandatory minimum sentence back then.  Mr. Williams has been resentenced 4 times, through a fair judge who follows what is law, so it was no surprise that he did the right thing this year with new laws that allowed him to strike the enhancements from the original charges via Penal Code 1385(c). This was a big deal, in which we were all grateful for beyond measure. Did this reduce the sentence? Yes. Did it address everything Mr. Williams is eligible for? Unfortunately, no. Did it address the detrimental mistake that CDCR made? Absolutely not. ***THE ISSUE: FROM THE COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, THE OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPTS WERE JUST RECEIVED AND CLEARLY STATE THAT THE JUDGE SENTENCED MR. WILLIAMS *CORRECTLY* UNDER PC 1192.7, **SERIOUS FELONY**. THE TRANSCRIPTS ALSO REVEAL THE COURTS EXPLAINING TO MR. WILLIAMS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SERIOUS FELONY AND A VIOLENT FELONY AND HOW IT CAN IMPACT HIM IF HE RETURNS IN THE FUTURE. THIS CLEARLY PROVES THE COURTS’ UNDERSTANDING OF THE DIFFERENT SENTENCING BETWEEN A SERIOUS FELONY VS. A VIOLENT FELONY. ***THE WRONGDOING: ALTHOUGH THE JUDGE SENTENCED HIM *CORRECTLY*, CDCR DID NOT RECORD THE CORRECT SENTENCING FROM THE JUDGE, THE COURTS. CDCR *INCORRECTLY* RECORDED, RECEIVED AND WRONGFULLY DETAINED MR. WILLIAMS AS A **VIOLENT FELON**, AND AS A“LIFER” WITH 30+ YEARS.  Because of this, Mr. Williams is still fighting for his freedom, and for his constitutional rights. Please sign this petition! HE IS SERVING AN UNFAIR, UNJUST, & INCORRECT SENTENCE! You may have heard of Prop 57. This proposition allows a couple of different things depending on eligibility; 1) increased good conduct credits, and/or 2) early release from prison. The eligibility requirements are listed below, so that you can properly understand and follow along. To be eligible for early release, an offender must be sentenced and/or classified as a non-violent/serious felony: Mr. Williams was NOT sentenced under a violent felony, PC 667.5 by the judge. He IS sentenced under a serious felony, PC 1192.7 by the judge. To be eligible, an offender must have served the full-term of the primary offense. Mr. Williams has already served the full-term of the primary offense (5 years). He has actually served MORE THAN DOUBLE the primary offense. To be eligible and referred to the Board of Parole Hearing, an offender will be referred to the Board for parole consideration prior to their “Non-Violent Parole Eligible Date” (NPED). Mr. Williams has been incorrectly entered in the CDCR system under a violent felony, PC 667.5, therefore cannot be classified to even receive an “NPED”. WE HAVE SENT COUNTLESS LETTERS, CORRESPONDENCE, AND GRIEVANCES TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE, THE BOARD OF PAROLE HEARING, THE OFFICE OF APPEALS, CDCR’S OMBUDSMAN, CDCR’S COUNSELORS, BPH DEPUTY COMMISSIONERS AND SUPERVISING DEPUTY COMMISIONERS. Mr. Williams and his family continue to be redirected to other departments, without rectifying the issue. Instead of redirecting, we are asking the above-listed entities to take a deeper look and fix the situation! Let’s think about this. If Mr. Williams was CORRECTLY classified and entered in the system under a serious felony from the beginning, as he SHOULD HAVE BEEN, he would not have been assigned to the Level 4 maximum security prison he’s at with others that have 250-year sentences and nothing to lose. He would’ve been eligible to go to a minimum-security facility, where he would learn a trade and be in a rehabilitative environment. He wouldn’t have to fight for his life. He wouldn’t be experiencing PTSD and other mental disparities he deals with, like many. He would have a lot more hope and positive collaboration, which in turn would have increased the level of rehabilitation. More rehabilitative programs would have been accessible. HOME is where he would be! There isn’t a way to verbalize Mr. Williams’ character that would precisely chronicle and pinpoint who he is, but please know this: he is an amazing human being with a bright mind, and he has rights. Not only is he a father of 5 children who look just like him, he is a beloved son of a prayerful mother, he is now a grandfather of 3 young boys, he is a brother to his siblings and part of a family whom he loves, whom he helps lead, and whom he speaks life into. Mr. Williams is naturally a solution-minded person, a God-fearing man, and supports his community through a non-profit he helped to create through him, and his brother’s vision given to them from God. He is the most understanding and caring man; anyone would be blessed to be around him, especially with the sense of humor he carries! He is honest and transparent with people, as he knows his responsibility to those who walk next to him. He understands his purpose. WE ARE DEMANDING CDCR TO CORRECTLY CLASSIFY MR. WILLIAMS AS NON-VIOLENT. WE ARE DEMANDING MR. WILLIAMS BE FREED. BECAUSE WE HAVE NOT BEEN CONTACTED TO RECTIFY THIS HORRIFIC MISTAKE, WE ARE PURSUING MATTERS FURTHER. Please sign this petition in agreeance with us! Please share!  

Billy D. Williams
1,934 supporters
Update posted 6 months ago

Petition to GOVERNOR WOLF, Lt Govenor Fetterman

Clemency for Tyree Wallace

Tyree Wallace has served 24 years for a crime he did not commit.  Wrongfully convicted and having consistently maintained his innocence, Tyree now has an opportunity to receive clemency from the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons, ultimately to be approved by the Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Filed by the trailblazing Pennsylvania Innocence Project on Tyree’s behalf, Tyree’s application for clemency has been pending since 2020 and your support will amplify his cause and convey to the Board the strong and widely held support that he needs. Please lend your voice to the growing community of supporters to    FREE TYREE WALLACE.   BACKGROUND: On October 27, 1997, Mr. John Youn Su Kang was shot and killed during a robbery of his Philadelphia deli, “Salt and Pepper.”  Subsequently, Tyree Wallace was arrested and charged with murder, robbery, and related offenses.  On November 30, 1999, Tyree was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, based solely on the testimony of three witnesses. Two of the three witnesses since recanted their testimony and explained that their original testimony was coerced through the intimidation of corrupt Philadelphia Police Officers at that time. Crucially, no physical evidence was ever discovered identifying Tyree as having participated or even being present at the homicide. Additional witness testimony discredits the conviction and Tyree’s effort to bring his case to light continues. In fact, to corroborate Tyree’s innocence, he submitted to a polygraph examination that, with the lowest possible “deception” score, determined he could “reasonably be excluded as a suspect.”   Today, while the City of Philadelphia makes strides to formally overturn wrongful convictions, Tyree uses his own voice and power to help others – from hospice bound inmates, to school children, to activists in the community working to improve education and reduce violence in the streets.  The past two decades have shown Tyree to be a servant leader who evokes pride in everyone fortunate enough to known him.  Once free, Tyree’s ability to realize his – and our – vision of a better community will be even stronger, and we will all benefit from it. YOUR SUPPORT MATTERS: Your voice joins a chorus of supporters fighting for change in the criminal justice system throughout the Commonwealth, from elected officials to progressive activists throughout the public and private sectors.  Your voice matters.  Whether justice for Tyree ultimately comes from the court system or from the Board of Pardons and the Office of the Governor, we thank you for contributing to the growing swell of support.  It matters.  And it will change one man’s life for the better – a man who has dedicated his life to helping others.  FREE TYREE WALLACE    

Tyree Wallace
8,503 supporters