This collection contains documents relevant to the denial and grant of parole in New York State.
As of January 2021, when the NY Department of Corrections and Community Supervision last issued its “in custody report,” there were approximately 34,000 people serving sentences in New York State prisons. Over 18,000 individuals, 38% of the total prison population, are serving indeterminate sentences that allow for the possibility of parole after service of the minimum but if denied parole, may remain incarcerated until the maximum is served. Over 8,000 people, 17% of the prison population, are serving an indeterminate sentence with a maximum of life, which means they may never be released. Every year, 12,000 incarcerated persons are considered for release to parole supervision by the Board of Parole, which includes an interview with two or three parole commissioners. Commissioners are appointed by the governor and approved by the state senate.
Approximately 600 individuals are serving life without parole or the functional equivalent who, under current law, will never be released.
Parole is denied to a large majority of parole applicants. A parole denial may be challenged via an administrative appeal to the Board of Parole’s Appeals Unit, and--if unsuccessful--via an Article 78 petition pursuant to New York Civil Practice Law and Rules, filed in a county Supreme Court with venue.
A successful appeal results in an annulment of the denial and a de novo parole consideration, which includes an interview with at least two parole commissioners. An unsuccessful challenge means the parole applicant must wait for a “reappearance” before the board. When denying parole, the parole board decides when the reappearance will take place; by law it must take place within two years, which is the period the board usually sets though sometimes it sets between 12-18 months.
This searchable database started as an effort to collect both administrative appeal and Article 78 decisions as well as a host of parole related documents, including parole interview transcripts and risk assessments instruments used in parole decision-making, to name a few. Other than appeal decisions, documents posted to the site were redacted to protect individual privacy. This labor intensive process was not sustainable and the increasingly wider use of electronic filing in Art. 78 court cases have made these documents readily available via NYS Court E-Filing. Contained within this collection is a guide for using NYSCEF and accessing such documents.
Therefore, starting with 2023, only administrative appeal decisions and Art. 78 decisions will be kept current. All other documents are kept in the archival section.
Metadata Availability: Metadata for current and archival collections may be obtained in Excel format for research and analysis purposes. All requests should be sent to Yael Mandelstam at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Redactions: Documents in the archival collections have been redacted to protect privacy and marked with codes assigned locally to the individuals seeking parole. Parole Administrative Appeal Decisions and NYS Supreme Court Decisions are not redacted as they are publicly available.
See also: Parole Information Project — ARCHIVAL