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Proposed NY bill would give certain inmates up to $2,550 in taxpayer money upon release

While many view this as a positive step forward, some are concerned about the message this is sending to the victims and their families

Emily Young

May 28, 2024, 9:49 PM

Updated 19 days ago

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A new bill is being floated in Albany that would give inmates who served at least six months in a state prison about $2,500 in taxpayer funded money when they get out.
It's an effort to curb recidivism rates in the state, and the formerly incarcerated men that spoke with News 12 say it's also a game changer.
"As you're walking out the door, they drive you out of the prison, they bring you to a local bank and the bank gives you a check for $40 and the officer gives you a train ticket and those are the only things that you get," explained formerly incarcerated Sean Pica.
Pica served 17 years in prison before he was released in 2002. He says people being released from prison now with only $40 to their name, don't have a shot of making it out of prison, and the data backs him up.
"Everything is stacked against them, think its 69% of men and women in this country that are released from prison, return to prison, so these are staggering high numbers," he said.
Now he's the executive director of Hudson Link, an organization that provides educational opportunities and reentry support to about 688 formerly incarcerated people.
"They rely on agencies like ours that will be there with open arms to give them car fare, and clothing and lunch, housing," explained Pica.
But for the approximately 30,000 state prisoners not pursuing higher education, they're pretty much on their own. And its this population that will really benefit from this money.
"It gives the person a little pride where they can at the very least buy some clothing, underclothes like that, get clothing to go for interviews, give them stability," explained Kevin Brooks, who just got out of prison in April after serving 24 years.
But while many view this as a positive step forward, some are concerned about the message this is sending to the victims and their families
"This is just one more punch in the gut to the families of victims in New York state. We need to be focused on public safety, law and order, and helping those who have been victims of crimes first," said State Sen. George Borrello.
For more information on Hudson Link, click here.
The bill was introduced by Assemblyman Edward Gibbs (D-Manhattan) earlier this year.


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