VID praises New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo for his end-of-the year decision granting clemencies to more than 100 people. These included pardons for many youthful offenders convicted of minor crimes, and the commutation of sentences for several elderly prisoners, including Judith Clark.
The Governor’s decision was the culmination of years of effort for VID. New York’s venerable progressive club is a major sponsor of Candles for Clemency, which since 2009 has led a campaign for criminal justice reform. Prior to last week, clemencies had not been a priority for the Governor. Club members were among the organizers and participants in the movement to inspire the Governor to recognize the plight of prisoners.
“We are proud of the role VID played in making this day possible,” said Tony Hoffmann, co-chair of Candles for Clemency and a former President of Village Independent Democrats. “We have been and will continue to be leaders in the fight for social, economic, and criminal justice in New York City and throughout the nation.”
“This is a proud moment for New York. Our efforts show what we can achieve through our activism and commitment. Governor Cuomo’s heroic actions should serve as a model for our nation,” said Allen Roskoff, Candles for Clemency founder and co-chair and president of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club.
All the recipients of clemency have been rehabilitated and taken responsibility for their crimes. One, Judith Clark, has earned multiple degrees during her incarceration, and has taught prenatal parenting classes for pregnant women, co-founded a ground breaking organization to address the AIDS epidemic, and raised and trained over a dozen guide dogs for law enforcement agencies and disabled veterans.
“VID is delighted with Governor Cuomo’s just and wise decision,” said Erik Coler, President of VID. “We hope he will continue to release deserving prisoners, especially the elderly and infirm, who are languishing in jail because of unfair and inhumane sentencing rules of the past.”