We have good news to report. After over four years without granting a single clemency to anybody in prison, the Cuomo administration has promised to begin a process of identifying viable candidates for clemency and to begin issuing clemency to those deemed worthy. This change of heart can, in large part, be attributed to the dedicated work of the people and organizations that joined Candles For Clemency. We held a rally and a candle light vigil in front of Governor Cuomo’s home last September. We planned on having a similar, but much larger, vigil in front of his home on April 18.
But the Governor’s office heard of our vigil and asked us to meet with his representatives in hopes that we would postpone the Vigil for at least six weeks so that they could start a clemency process. After a very frank meeting, we have decided, in good faith, to honor that request.
We are eager to see whether clemencies start rolling in come mid-May. We will be monitoring very closely and, if not, we will hold our vigil on Saturday, June 13. So please hold the date, just in case!
We want to take this opportunity to thank everybody who is part of Candles For Clemency for your dedication to the cause. It shows that people can have their voices heard if they organize and are willing to stick their necks out.
We especially want to acknowledge the six members of Congress, and our celebrity hosts, who stepped forward to support the incarcerated deserving of clemency. Many of those listed on the attached list have long been lobbying the Governor’s Office, yet consented to also be part of the effort of Candles for Clemency. And thanks to the organizations and representatives who have been attending our planning meetings. They have made this all possible.
We will keep you informed of progress towards the issuance of clemencies. If you have any recommendations for people deserving of clemency, please let us know. Also, the administration has a created an internal workgroup and an external website to encourage applicants to apply: http://www.ny.gov/services/apply-clemency
If you know of other organizations and individuals who want to join our list of supporters, again, please let us know. Here is the current list of supporters.
We hope that this effort results in many people behind bars being given a second chance. We hope those worthy of clemency are returned to their loved ones and offered the chance to be respected and productive members of society.
Thank you for your support,
President, Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club
Candles for Clemency Co-Coordinator
Former President, Village Independent Democrats