Friday, April 13, 2018, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association will be representing the widow of one of the deceased police officer’s in an attempt to reverse the decision of the New York State Parole Board to grant Herman Bell parole. The parole board followed all of the procedures outlined for granting parole to an inmate. Bell met all their criteria for parole.
As an instrument of the criminal justice system, the administration of parole is in effect society’s recognition, and the state’s understanding, that human beings can change, grow and become assets to their community. Bell served the sentence given him as a model inmate who had a positive impact on others who were incarcerated. Bell furthered his education and enhanced his humanity and developed multicultural appreciation. The Parole Board exercised its mandate in accordance with its guidelines and in the spirit of society’s best interest, not in the partisan political interest of the PBA, who believe they are above the law.
The Parole Board determined that Bell was not a threat to society and would be a positive member of his community upon his release. For the PBA to demand that the Parole Board be fired because they did not render the decision that the PBA wanted, and for the PBA to attempt to reverse the Parole Board’s decision by bringing this case to the Supreme Court is unconscionable and unacceptable. For Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio to support the PBA’s action, although ethically unconscionable, is not surprising because both are intimidated by the PBA.
Bell was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. He served nearly 45 years in prison. He was denied parole seven times, even though he served productive time in prison. On the eighth time he was granted parole. Bell is now 70 years old and should be released from prison.
I am calling on all Black, Latino and elected officials of good conscience to stand against the PBA’s attempt to usurp and reverse the process of the Parole Board, who justly and appropriately granted Bell parole. It is Bell today, but it can be any one of your constituents tomorrow. I would remind you that it is estimated that more than 6 percent of our community’s voting strength is lost to the effects of mass incarceration.
In addition, please send a statement to the media and to your community expressing your support of the Parole Board’s decision to grant Bell parole.
We must stop the PBA! A dangerous precedence for future parole hearings will be set if the PBA succeeds.
Please join me Friday, April 13, at 3 p.m. at the New York State Supreme Court, located at 16 Eagle St., Albany, N.Y., to be present when the Court hears this case.
I thank you in advance for a positive response to this matter of utmost importance.
Assemblyman Charles Barron
60th Assembly District
Sent to all members in the State Assembly