[Pnews] Support Parole for Political Prisoner Herman Bell

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Dec 18 16:39:02 EST 2015

  In Support Of Parole For Herman Bell

For more information about Herman Bell *www.freehermanbell.org*

*Sign the petition here:* 

To Chairwoman, Board of Parole, New York State, Tina M. Stanford

Grant parole to New York State prisoner Herman Bell

We are asking that Herman Bell be granted release on parole at his 
February 2016 hearing

Herman Bell has been in state custody since 1973 and has been denied 
release on parole 6 times since he first became eligible in 2004.

Every time Herman has been denied, it has been for the same reason-that 
releasing him would undermine the law and deprecate the seriousness of 
the crime. Herman has taken responsibility and expressed regret for the 
shooting of the police officer and has served 4 decades in prison for 
this offense. He is by all accounts, a much different person than he was 
in 1971 and further incarceration serves no purpose other than 
vengeance. We believe Herman has done everything he can to make amends 
for his crime and we ask that he be granted parole at his 7th parole 
hearing in 2016.

While incarcerated, Herman has been a model prisoner and a positive 
influence on those around him. He has been a mentor and father-figure to 
many young men in prison, helping them take advantage of every academic 
and vocational program they can to prepare for release and reintegration 
into society. In addition to earning a dual Bachelor of Science degree 
in psychology and sociology, and a Masters degree in sociology, Herman 
has coached football and basketball in order to have a positive 
influence on the many young men he has met during his 4 decades in 
prison. With Herman’s help, the Victory Gardens project was established 
in 1995 with two farmers in Maine. The project brought together people 
from diverse lifestyles and remote locations to plant, grow, tend, 
harvest, and then distribute the food free to our communities. This 
life-giving project enjoyed eight successful seasons distributing food 
in Maine, Boston, New Jersey, Brooklyn, Harlem, and the Bronx.

Herman’s continued denials at the parole board are sadly, not a rarity 
but the norm. The number of incarcerated people ages 50+ in New York has 
increased 81% from 2000 to 2013, even as the total number of people 
locked up has fallen by 23% during the same period. Today, 17% of 
incarcerated men and 15% of incarcerated women in the New York prison 
system are over 50 years of age- roughly 9,000 people. Herman is 67 
years old.

This is an unnecessary crisis. Many of these elders should be released. 
New York routinely denies parole to elders behind bars, even though they 
pose no risk to public safety and are fully prepared to successfully 
re-enter and contribute to society. The recidivism rate of people who 
have served long sentences for serious felonies is 1.3%—lower than any 
other category of those released. Many, like Herman, have records of 
positive achievement in prison and are praised by prison officials as 
peacemakers and role models.

For more information about Herman Bell *www.freehermanbell.org*
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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