[Pnews] Release Aging People in Prisons demand that New York State Bring Our Elders Home!

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jan 26 15:02:47 EST 2017


  Release Aging People in Prisons demand that New York State Bring Our
  Elders Home!

    Sign the petition

Adopt a common-sense approach of releasing elder inmates, who are aging 
in prison, have already served considerable time, and pose little or no 
threat to the public.

The state of New York needlessly confines thousands of senior citizens 
to cruel and degrading conditions in prison. Since 2000, the number of 
people over 50 years old in New York State prisons has increased by 
98%.The risk of committing a new crime decreases as one gets older, and 
people over 50 who serve long sentences for serious felonies are the 
least likely to return to prison after release. Many of the elder 
populations who are in prison have records of positive achievement in 
prison and are praised by prison officials as peacemakers and role 
models. Despite these truths, the vast majority of seniors in prison are 
routinely denied parole and compassionate release by the state.

As this email comes to you, I am on my way to visit Herman Bell in 
Comstock prison in upstate New York. Herman, just turned 69 and has been 
in prison for 43 years, he is one of about 20 former Black Panther and 
Black Power Movement political prisoners aging in U.S prisons. Shocking, 
but not unique - he is among more than 10,140 people aged 50 and older 
in New York prisons.

The need to free Herman is what motivates me to ask you to sign this 
petition and support our goal to release aging people in prison, end not 
only mass incarceration but also the racist system of punishing people 
of color and poor people in perpetuity.

People imprisoned years ago, many due to political involvement and 
activism during the Black Power movement, are now turning gray. Some 
suffer from heart disease, hypertension, joint disease, and other age 
related illnesses. Prisons are looking more and more like nursing homes 
but with bars, metal detectors, and hyper security used against some of 
our most vulnerable and valuable populations- our elders.

The aging population currently imprisoned is beyond what the prison 
system can handle. This is why we are demanding that the state of New 
York adopt a commonsense approach of releasing older inmates who present 
no danger to the public.

In the state of New York it costs $60,000 per year to keep someone in 
prison, and older prisoners cost taxpayers even more—as much as two to 
four times that amount—due to added medical costs and the details of 
armed guards that accompany incarcerated people on trips to hospitals 
for tests and treatment.

As we know there are stark racial disparities in incarceration rates, 
with Black and Hispanic people arrested at a rate that is 2 to 3 times 
their proportion of the general population. The well-documented racial 
disparities in the criminal justice system are also reflected in the 
aging prison population. A vastly disproportionate percentage of aging 
people in prison are Black people, many of whom are political prisoners 
such as Mumia Abu-Jamal, Dr. Mutulu Shakur, and many more.

Join us in demanding that New York state release incarcerated seniors 
who have already served considerable time and pose little or no threat 
to public safety. Doing so will restore the harmony of our communities, 
fulfill our commitment to the human rights of ALL people, and save New 
York millions of dollars a year. Aging people returning from prison pose 
little risk to public safety and are prepared to contribute positively 
to the society. Together, we reject retribution and perpetual punishment 
as the drivers of our justice system.

Until our elders are freed,
Laura Whitehorn
Member of Release Aging People in Prison (RAPP) and former political 

    Sign the petition

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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