One thing is clear ... no matter what a prisoner does while serving his sentence, there is nothing he or she can do to change the crime that brought them to prison. This crime will remain with them for the rest of their lives.
In terms of violent crimes, most are committed at a very young point in the persons life. With this fact in mind, is there ANYTHING a prisoner with a violent crime can do to rehabilitate himself, redeem himself and make amends to society for the crime he or she committed? Should a person with a violent crime, who has shown no violent behavior whatsoever during the entire time they have been incarcerated, and who shows every indication of having turned their life around through proven good behavior, education and accomplishments, ever be given a second chance?
In the case of a select group of men, we think the answer to this question is yes. A person is capable of turning their life around, provided that is what he or she 'chooses' to do, and a significant effort is put in on their part through education, programs and volunteer service dedicated toward helping others, in order to make a difference. The group of individuals we are speaking of is the NYTS Sing Sing graduates, who make up less than 1% of the prisoner population in New York State, and are the very individuals who will likely be successful when returning to society... in fact, they have only a 4% recidivism rate*, but are still being denied parole.
Is prison only a place for punishment? Should redemption and rehabilitation also come into play as factors that are fairly recognized as a significant part of the sentence they serve? And what can a person do, who has done everything in their power to change themselves, to be given an opportunity for a second chance? Because as mentioned previously... the one thing that is clear, is that no matter what a prisoner does, there is nothing he or she can do to change the crime that brought them to prison.
Our web site tells the stories of some remarkable prisoners who we believe should be given a second chance at life. These are not the men who watched TV day and night, hung out in the yard doing drugs, or having disciplinary problems during their incarceration; these are men who have accepted FULL responsibility for their crime, have expressed remorse, and have fought with everything in them to turn their lives around and make themselves into different people than the person who entered prison all those years ago. These are the men who are being denied a second chance. These are the men who are in need of your assistance to go home to their families...and start a new life as productive, tax-paying citizens. These are the NYTS Sing Sing Masters' Degree Graduates.
It is not the contention of NewYorkPrisoners.com that all prisoners should be released on parole... parole is a privilege which must be earned; however, we strongly believe that all prisoners who have done the right things while incarcerated, and who have worked hard toward rehabilitation (obtaining their education, participating in volunteer programs to help others, in addition to full-time employment, maintaining excellent institutional records, and most importantly, those who have accepted responsibility and shown remorse for their crime) should be given 'real' and 'fair' consideration at their parole hearings, which is not happening at this time.
We believe it is a fair assumption to make that the consistent behavior of a prisoner throughout his 15, 20 or 25-years of incarceration is a good indicator of how he will function once released. For instance, if someone convicted of a violent crime has not had one single violent incident on his record of more than 21 years, has received two rare letters of commendable behavior from the superintendent at his facility, has devoted thousands of hours of personal time toward volunteer service to make amends for his crime, has graduated with his undergraduate degree and masters degree, in addition to working a full-time job, be someone who is deserving of fair parole consideration? This person is listed on our web site, and yes, he was denied parole. This individual is simply one representation of the MANY NYTS graduates who have made incredible transformations in their lives and have done everything within their power to make amends to society throughout their incarceration, but who are repeatedly being denied parole.
The men listed on this web site are NOT seeking your financial assistance; and they are NOT listed to obtain a pen pal or friend to write to (if that is what you are seeking, a different web site would better serve your needs). What these men need from you is a simple letter of support, which can make all the difference.
The NYTS Sing Sing Graduates' slideshow movie (link below), describes the men we are referring to, and our Photo & Bio Gallery and Search section, to your left, allows you to locate individual prisoners who may be worthy of your support.
Parting Thought ...
Oprah recently visited a prison, and here is what she had to say upon returning from the facility, on a program which aired July 12, 2004:
Oprah Winfrey commenting on her recent trip to a prison ...
“I’ve been to many prisons as a reporter, so I understood, but this was reaffirming for me, that people are all the same, and that what we (society) end up doing is judging the ‘mistake,’ and that there is a ‘whole life’ bigger than that one moment.
That was the life changing moment for me.”
Thank you for your time and consideration.
The Families, Friends & Supporters
of the NYTS Sing Sing Graduates
Click below to
New York Theological Seminary, Masters of Professional Studies at Sing Sing, 2003 Program Information