TODAY: AS THOUSANDS OF MARIJUANA SENTENCES ARE FINALLY EXPUNGED, CRIMINAL JUSTICE ADVOCATES APPLAUD GOV, LEGISLATURE’S ONGOING CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM PUSH

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 28, 2019
Contact: Noah Gardy (ngardy@skdknick.com)              

TODAY: AS THOUSANDS OF MARIJUANA SENTENCES ARE FINALLY EXPUNGED, CRIMINAL JUSTICE ADVOCATES APPLAUD GOV, LEGISLATURE’S ONGOING CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM PUSH 

Historically, New Yorkers of Color are Nearly Four Times as Likely to be Arrested for Low-Level Marijuana Offenses

Coalition Lead by Formerly Incarcerated New Yorkers Call for Continued Commitment to Fixing a Flawed System, Including Increased Use of Executive Clemency for Deserving Individuals Still Behind Bars

NEW YORK – Today, expungement of low-level marijuana offenses is set to go into effect in New York, offering a path to jobs and housing to thousands while strengthening and revitalizing our communities. New Yorkers United for Justice (NYUJ) leaders Khalil A. Cumberbatch and Topeka K. Sam, both formerly incarcerated New Yorkers leading a coalition pushing long-term solutions for New York’s flawed criminal justice system, applauded Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature for enacting this significant measure, which will directly affect upward of 900,000 New Yorkers and make the entire state stronger, safer, and fairer.

“For nearly one million New Yorkers, marijuana expungement represents a new lease on life, removing the suffocating stain of stigma that prevents so many from reaching their highest potential,” said Khalil A. Cumberbatch. “This is particularly true for people of color who are nearly four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white people, despite similar rates of usage. We applaud the countless activists and advocates, the New York State Legislature, and the Governor for supporting expungement and making the Empire State safer and more prosperous for all its resident.”

Following a legislative session that saw historic pretrial reforms, NYUJ recently launched a new campaign calling on Governor Cuomo to expand the use of his executive clemency power to grant commutations and pardons to deserving New Yorkers. NYUJ’s campaign started with the release of video testimonials demonstrating the impact of state and federal clemency and appealing to the Governor to address the nearly 100 clemency applications submitted to the executive office

“Even as we celebrate the significant progress made so far this year, we can’t forget our obligations to millions of New Yorkers still waiting for their chance at redemption,” said Topeka K. Sam. “For too many New Yorkers, second chances remain far too rare. It’s a price paid by us all in lost opportunity and compromised safety. We need to use every tool at our disposal to continue the drumbeat of reform, including the expanded use of executive clemency to grant commutations and pardons to deserving New Yorkers.”

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