The Path to Freedom: Decarceration in Trump’s America

Decarceration Forum
Join us in discussing how to reduce the number of people
incarcerated in our prisons.

Saturday, September 14, 2019
3:00pm to 6:00pm (Doors at 2:30pm)
Elisabeth Irwin High School, 40 Charlton Street
Free with RSVP: https://forms.gle/aij3VUGBkn6HEUjg9

A panel discussion with:

Moderator: Justice (ret.) Emily Jane Goodman

  • Hon. Helen Rosenthal, Councilmember, 6th District
  • Mark Shervington, Statewide Community Organizer, Release Aging People from Prison
  • Lucy Lang, Executive Director, Center for Innovation in Prosecution at John Jay College of Criminal Justice
  • Tina Luongo, Attorney-In-Charge, Legal Aid NYC Criminal Defense Practice

Introductory remarks by David Siffert, President, Village Independent Democrats; Allen Roskoff, Co-Chair, Candles for Clemency and President, Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club; and Kathy Slawinski, Recording Secretary, Village Independent Democrats.

Sponsors (in formation): Coalition for a District Alternative, Downtown Independent, Democrats, Gramercy-Stuvesant Independent Democrats, Hell’s Kitchen Democrats, Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, United Democratic Organization, Village Independent Democrats.

For more information, contact president@villagedems.org or go to www.villagedems.org.

FLYER

VID Celebrated a Progressive 2019

VID Celebrated a Progressive 2019.  And the Elation Was Tangible.

VID Celebrated a Progressive New Year_Jerrold Nadler

Village Independent Democrats celebrate 2018 with hoards of friends and elected leaders

For 2018 VID Celebrated a 2019 on December 9th thanks to our venerable host, Frieda Bradlow and Son, Robert Bradlow.  The highlight was a visit by Congresssman Jerrold Nadler, soon to be Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, who, in spite of an intensive media schedule, chose to share candid insights with his loyal VID constituency. 

Among other notables intent on the VID celebration were:  

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, NYS Senator Brad Hoylman, NYS Assemblymember Deborah Glick, Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Councilmember Brad Lander, Councilmember Mark Levine, Judge Frank Nervo, Judge Carol Feinman, Judge Melissa Crane, Judge Wendy Li, Judge Alexander Tisch, Judge Jennifer Schecter, Judge Louis Nock, Judge Grace Park, Susan Dess, Judicial Candidate, Kim Parker, Judicial Candidate.  Executive and members from other NYC political clubs were also in attendance:  Allen Roskoff, President Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club; Michael Schreiber, Past President Chelsea Reform Democratic Club; Jeanne Wilcke, past President Downtown Independent Democrats.  The conversations were jubilant and incisive.

Here’s the slideshow:

Cincopa WordPress plugin

.  

VID Lauds Governor Cuomo for Granting Clemencies

VID praises New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo for his end-of-the year decision granting clemencies to more than 100 people.  These included pardons for many youthful offenders convicted of minor crimes, and the commutation of sentences for several elderly prisoners, including Judith Clark.

VID Candles for ClemenciesThe Governor’s decision was the culmination of years of effort for VID.  New York’s venerable progressive club is a major sponsor of Candles for Clemency, which since 2009 has led a campaign for criminal justice reform.  Prior to last week, clemencies had not been a priority for the Governor.  Club members were among the organizers and participants in the movement to inspire the Governor to recognize the plight of prisoners.

“We are proud of the role VID played in making this day possible,” said Tony Hoffmann, co-chair of Candles for Clemency and a former President of Village Independent Democrats.  “We have been and will continue to be leaders in the fight for social, economic, and criminal justice in New York City and throughout the nation.”

“This is a proud moment for New York.  Our efforts show what we can achieve through our activism and commitment.  Governor Cuomo’s heroic actions should serve as a model for our nation,” said Allen Roskoff, Candles for Clemency founder and co-chair and president of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club.

All the recipients of clemency have been rehabilitated and taken responsibility for their crimes.  One, Judith Clark, has earned multiple degrees during her incarceration, and has taught prenatal parenting classes for pregnant women, co-founded a ground breaking organization to address the AIDS epidemic, and raised and trained over a dozen guide dogs for law enforcement agencies and disabled veterans.  

“VID is delighted with Governor Cuomo’s just and wise decision,” said Erik Coler, President of VID.   “We hope he will continue to release deserving prisoners, especially the elderly and infirm, who are languishing in jail because of unfair and inhumane sentencing rules of the past.”

Governor’s Press Release

New York Times Coverage

Candles for Clemency Bring Results

Candles for Clemency from emmanuel fineus on Vimeo.

More than 150 Candles for Clemency Lit Up Mt. Kisco on Sept 26th

In a departure from his previous policy, Governor Andrew Cuomo is establishing a system to review requests to shorten prison sentences of rehabilitated prisoners.

Four days before a planned demonstration near his Westchester County home that had the backing of a wide array of elected officials, the governor called longtime gay activist Allen Roskoff, saying, “I get it. I get it. It will be done.” Cuomo pledged to review requests for clemency from state prisoners.

The September 26 demonstration in the parking lot of the Presbyterian Church of Mount Kisco was the second annual “Candles for Clemency” gathering demanding that “Governor Cuomo get a heart; issue clemencies now.”  Nathan Riley, Gay City News, Sept. 27

Cuomo chief counsel, Alphonso David, addressed the demonstrators and described the new review plan: “Particular attention will be paid to prisoners who received sentences for crimes committed at a young age, elderly prisoners who pose little risk to society, and prisoners who have served long sentences but have demonstrated that their release would not harm others.” The latter may prove controversial.   David specifically offered the assistance of his office to help attorneys and advocacy groups through the clemency process.

You can also see video news coverage of the Candles for Clemency vigil by Diana Campbell on Fios News

Endorsements for the vigil included:  City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Letitia James, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, seven local members of Congress, and 17 members of the City Council, including Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

The event was organized by Tony Hoffmann of VID and Allen Roskoff of The Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club.