Why Clemency Works: When Mercy Tempers Justice

  • November 30, 2022 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

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New York’s prisons hold thousands of people who have long since acknowledged responsibility for the harm they caused, turned their lives around, and are ready to rejoin society. But due to harsh sentences, many face decades longer in prison.

Their sole hope to win freedom is clemency—the unchallenged and awesome power allotted to the governor to temper justice with mercy.

Politics and public lack of understanding have long made governors fearful of using that power. Yet many people who have managed to win clemency offer inspiring examples of how clemency benefits society as well as the prisons they leave behind.

Students and professors at CUNY Law School’s Defenders Clinic have long advocated and won clemency for its clients, some of whom have been profiled by students at the Newmark J-School.

This event will highlight the crucial need for greater use of clemency. At this event, we’ll hear from people who know intimately why clemency works:

  • Elaine Lord, former prison superintendent at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility
  • Greg Mingo, who won clemency in 2021
  • Richard “Lee” Chalk, who won clemency in 2021
  • Judith Clark, who won clemency in 2016
  • Steve Zeidman, co-director of the Defenders Clinic, which has helped 15 people obtain clemency

The talk will be moderated by Tom Robbins, investigative journalist-in-residence at the J-School, who has co-taught classes in which students profiled clemency seekers.

5-6pm panel will be followed by a reception in the café. Proof of vaccination will be required.

RSVP here


November 30, 2022
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
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