By Alexis Rios-Jimenez
NEW YORK, NY – New York Gov. Kathy Hochul this past week announced 13 people would be granted clemency —four were incarcerated people in the New York State prison system, with two incarcerated members of the Release Aging People in Prison Campaign (RAPP).
“The Release Aging People in Prison Campaign helps lead the #HochulBringThemHome Campaign, which calls on Governor Hochul to grant clemencies year round, inclusively, and transparently,” the RAPP statement read.
Since first taking office, Hochul has publicly announced she would commit to granting clemencies on an ongoing basis, a decision which garnered much media attention as clemencies have traditionally been reserved for end-of-year acts by previous governors.
The announcement comes as very welcome news to RAPP, said Jose DiLenola, clemency campaign director of the RAPP Campaign, who issued a statement in response to the governor’s decision.
DiLenola expressed his deep satisfaction with the announcement, saying, “We are overwhelmed with happiness for the incarcerated people granted clemency by Gov. Hochul, some of whom are beloved members of the RAPP family.”
The campaign director also shared some insight on the important work that many of these members have carried on for countless years, even as the outlook for a future beyond incarceration looked uncertain in past years.
“For the last three decades, they have mentored their incarcerated peers and positively contributed to their communities,” DiLenola said.
The director explained the need to celebrate these clemencies because they are the culmination of a years-long struggle to get the attention of those with the power to bring about change.
Citing efforts to help those at risk of being deported, DiLenola said, “We’re also grateful for the pardons Gov. Hochul granted to New Yorkers at risk of deportation. While our hearts break for those who are equally deserving of clemency and did not receive good news today, we double down on our commitment to keep fighting for their freedom.”
While the announcement of clemencies was welcomed by DiLenola and RAPP, the attention will now be on Gov. Hochul because RAPP said it will be looking to her to fulfill her stated commitment to grant more clemencies on an ongoing basis.
Director DiLenola reiterated his determination to further the achievements of his organization and “welcome home those granted clemency and we are excited to support them in their successful re-entry and continued service to the community.”