Release Aging People in Prison (RAPP) works to get elderly and infirm people out of New York State prisons. The number of people over age 50 in New York State has risen 81% since 2000; it now exceeds 9,000—more than 17% of the total incarcerated population.
RAPP aims to establish a parole process in New York that is transparent, all inclusive, and fair, with parole decisions based on public safety risk and individuals’ demonstrated personal growth while in prison. Such a process would reduce the soaring population of incarcerated elders.
We seek fair and objective hearings for everyone who comes before the Parole Board. We will not try to expand release opportunities for certain classes of offenses by denying opportunities for others. Instead, we insist that decisions be made on each person’s individual merits and experiences inside. This principle allows RAPP to challenge a fundamental pillar of mass incarceration: reliance on a system of permanent punishment, a culture of retribution and revenge rather than rehabilitation and healing.
The RAPP Campaign mobilizes currently and formerly incarcerated people, their families, and other concerned community members. From this united base and through the RAPP Coalition, we work alongside other prison justice advocates to (1) raise public awareness about the destructiveness of mass incarceration and the benefits to society in releasing aging people, including those convicted of violent crimes who do not threaten public safety; and (2) promote the use of key mechanisms for releasing elderly people, such as parole, compassionate release, and policy changes.