The Parole Preparation Project advocates for incarcerated people while also pushing for deep systemic change. We seek to establish that people serving time for violent crimes are capable of transformation, are the true leaders in the parole reform movement, and are worthy of compassion, support, advocacy, and an opportunity to return to their families and communities.

About Us

In New York State, there are nearly 10,000 people serving life sentences (nearly 20% of the prison population). The vast majority of those serving life who are parole-eligible, are denied parole repeatedly, despite the fact that they have accepted responsibility for their crimes, completed extensive programming, obtained multiple degrees, undergone deep personal transformations, and developed strong release plans. In New York, the Parole Board systematically denies release to people of color and aging people. Many parole-eligible people serving life sentences are over the age of 50, with some entering their 60s and 70s. Despite the fact that recidivism rates decrease substantially with age, and re-incarceration rates for those who have served long sentences are less than 1%, the Parole Board continually denies people release, citing the nature of the crime as their primary reason for denial.

In 2013, incarcerated members of the Lifers and Longtermers Organization at Otisville Correctional Facility organized their first-ever Parole Summit. The purpose of the summit was to bring together community-based organizations, policy-makers and parole-eligible people in prison to discuss the current state of parole policy in New York. At the summit, members of the Lifers Organization expressed a profound need for outside assistance as they prepared for their hearings with the Board of Parole. In response, we (members of the National Lawyers Guild), formed the Parole Preparation Project

Our only full-time staff person, the Executive Director, oversees the daily operations of the Project and organizes our advocacy efforts. Two additional Coordinators help supervise and train our many volunteers. Our 12-person Advisory Board is composed almost entirely of formerly incarcerated people, including parole applicants released after working with the Project. The Board provides direction and leadership for our work, and ensures that we amplify the visions of those most impacted by New York State parole policies. Undoubtedly, it is those with direct experience with parole who are the experts in its reform. In addition to our Advisory Board, our Board of Directors ensures the continued financial health of the organization.

Ultimately, the Parole Preparation Project community consists of our Coordinators and Executive Director, volunteers, allies, supporters, community partners, and all currently and formerly incarcerated applicants and their loved ones.
350+
volunteers have been trained since we were founded in 2013
160
parole-eligible people have worked with our volunteers to prepare for the Board of Parole
60%
of the Project participants who went before the Parole Board were granted released (compared to overall rate of 20%)

Our mission

Along with attempting to secure the release of parole-eligible people, the Project aims to:
Cultivate transformative and long-lasting relationships between those who are incarcerated and Project volunteers
Support currently and formerly incarcerated leaders of the prison and parole reform movements by amplifying their visions
Collaborate with parole reform advocates to expose the injustices inherent in parole and push for systemic change

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