Building Bridges

The monthly newsletter of the Prison Action Network

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Graziano Settlement Reached

An article was published in today's NY Law Journal about the tentative settlement in the case of Graziano vs. Pataki. It is a report, but not the settlement itself. The formal agreement is being written and, once approved by both parties, will be publicly released. According to the article by Joel Stashenko, the agreement gives all members of the class a rehearing as soon as possible; the commissioners who hear their applications will be chosen by the class; and the instant crime will not be allowed to take precedence over other factors [in most cases], nor may the commissioners base their decisions on their personal penal philosophies.

The NY Law Journal article reports that Mr. Isseks declined to discuss the settlement except to say that "everything is subject to the final review process." He said he did not believe Judge Brieant has to sign off on the settlement.

Prison Action Network has been informed by members of the class that they have received letters advising that they will be receiving new hearings very soon.

We will update you as information becomes available.

Prison Action Network celebrates this victory and credits it to the hard work of EVERYONE who lent their voice to the outcry against the unfair parole policies of the Pataki administration which continued into the early months of Spitzer's. Let's take some time to celebrate! This is a major victory! It will probably result in continued higher release rates of community ready individuals. It certainly sends a message to the Parole Board. But let's not be lulled into complacency. We must publicly and privately express our appreciation for all positive changes we observe, but there is still much more to be done before we can retire from this struggle.