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Seeking Mercy From Hochul: Three New York Prisoners Plead Their Cases

In 2015, Andrew Cuomo vowed to overhaul the state’s clemency process, but never followed through. Now, thousands of petitions offer a test of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s commitment to "improving justice." Here are the stories of three incarcerated men making pitches for freedom.

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Self-Harm Is Exploding In New York City Jails, Internal Numbers Show

Self-harm — including suicides — at Rikers Island and other local lockups spiked last summer as COVID-19 ravaged New York, figures obtained by WNYC/Gothamist and THE CITY show. The rate’s climbed to historic levels in the months since.

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Tablets for Inmates: New NYC Jails Chief Presents Reform Plan Ahead of Next Mayor

Correction Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi’s "comprehensive post-pandemic recovery" proposal also covers everything from cutting down on triple shifts for correction officers to fixing broken cell doors.

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NYC Jail Officers Lash Out at Inmates With Few Consequences, Discipline Records Show

Following New York’s repeal of 50-a law barring release of uniformed officer personnel records, Department of Correction files show 11 officers were disciplined for at least three confirmed misconduct incidents over an 18-month period.

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De Blasio Plan to Eliminate Solitary Confinement Falls Short for Inmate Advocates

"All they did was change the name, and slightly, very slightly, changed a few things," said Melania Brown, whose sister, Layleen Polanco, died in a solitary cell at Rikers Island in 2019.

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A Brooklyn Grandmother Wants Cuomo to Free the Man Imprisoned for Shooting Her in the Head. Not Even Her Husband Agrees

Carolyn Jones survived the 1996 incident outside a Bedford-Stuyvesant church. But she says she can’t fully heal unless the governor springs David Herion. "I want him home yesterday," she said.

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State Prison COVID-19 Wave Grows as Inmates Wait for Vaccines

Hundreds have tested positive for the virus this month, with daily averages about seven-times higher than early December. Meanwhile, advocates — among them Chelsea Clinton — are calling on Gov. Cuomo to get moving on inoculations.

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Prisoners Hoping for Mercy Place Little Faith in Cuomo

Despite the governor’s promise of a progressive overhaul of the clemency process, very few people have made the cut. Cuomo’s 24 commutations in his term don’t match the pace of his father. Meanwhile, the pandemic has upped the stakes.

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‘Hundreds’ of Prisoners Approved for Early Release Stuck Behind Bars as COVID Spikes

The state has sprung thousands of nonviolent offenders from lockups due to the pandemic. But many who are eligible for a head start on freedom remain held, Legal Aid reports.


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