A Question of Compassion: Medical Parole in New York State
Date:  05-01-2018

Vera Institute report offers recommendations that NY, and other states, can implement to make full use of their compassionate release laws
From the Vera Institute of Justice report A Question of Compassion: Medical Parole in New York State:


Compassionate release laws enable incarcerated people who are elderly, seriously ill, incapacitated—or some combination thereof—to obtain parole in order to receive treatment in a community setting and in the company of loved ones. In recent years, the number of older adults in U.S. prisons has soared, even as the overall prison population has declined. With them, the elderly bring increasingly demanding health and end-of-life care needs. However, prisons make insufficient use of these laws and policies. The result? Too many people end up dying in prison, at great human cost and great cost to taxpayers. In this report, Vera outlines a case study of medical parole in New York State and makes practical recommendations that can guide New York—and other states across the country—in making full use of their compassionate release laws.

Key Takeaway

The results of this study suggest that a broad, permissive statute is not enough to ensure that people with serious illnesses and incapacitating medical conditions are successfully identified, processed, and released in a timely manner. Vera’s recommendations suggest modifications to policy and practice that could help increase the use of compassionate release as a viable mechanism to alleviate the suffering of people in the state’s prisons.

Read the full report here.