New York needs a new mechanism to safely reduce unnecessary and wasteful incarceration. Despite recent sentencing reforms and a declining prison population, a large portion of New York’s prison population is still serving a lengthy prison sentence. In 2018, over one-quarter of the prison population was serving a minimum sentence of 15-years or longer. Over 5,000 individuals had served more than 15-years. With more and more New Yorkers serving determinate sentences (sentences that do not offer the possibility of parole), New York’s plagued parole system denying more than half of all applicants, and New York’s executive clemency remaining vastly underused, New York should adopt “second look sentencing” reform. Second look sentencing is a back-end sentencing reform that allows the courts to review an individual’s rehabilitation and growth after serving a certain amount of time (ex. 15 years) and resentence that individual if the original sentence is no longer necessary or in the interest of justice. This would allow judges to safely relieve the New York prison population of unnecessary and ineffective incarceration while reuniting families with their loved ones. NYUJ urges the New York legislature to adopt Second Look sentencing reform.
Second Look Sentencing