Clemency for Older Prisoners


To the Editor:

“Hard-Hit by Virus, Inmates Struggle to Find Place in Vaccine Line” (front page, Jan. 26) is an insight into the state’s failure to care for this highly vulnerable population. But it does not mention one simple option: clemency for older prisoners.

Releasing the many long-serving prisoners over 65 who are not a danger to society would reduce crowding and the need for vaccination in prisons, while safeguarding the lives and health of these most vulnerable inmates. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has the power to do this right now (with appropriate quarantine). In many cases, he has clemency petitions on his desk.

Governor Cuomo has promised rolling clemencies. When the new and highly transmissible Covid variants inevitably appear in prisons and their surrounding communities, vulnerable prisoners will face a death sentence, and all New Yorkers will be at risk from these hot spot facilities. It is time for immediate action.

Cynthia Grant Bowman
Ithaca, N.Y.
The writer, a law professor at Cornell, helped draft a clemency petition on behalf of one aged prisoner and filed amicus briefs in several New York State cases seeking release for others.

To the Editor:

Re “Trump’s Base Nurses Anger Over Election” (front page, Jan. 19):

Trump supporters are not the only ones enraged by the 2020 election. Many Democrats are enraged by the uphill battle necessary to overcome Republican gerrymandering and voter suppression targeting minorities. Many Democrats are enraged by being falsely accused of fraud and election interference by the Republicans who themselves undermined and attempted to overturn the election.

Many moderates and progressives are angry at the far-right groups, including major media, that accuse the left of inciting the violent riot by the Trump mob at the Capitol. And many of us are furious at Donald Trump and his supporters for making public health measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and save lives into a political issue.

The overwhelming majority that voted against Donald Trump have every reason to be angry at Mr. Trump and his supporters who feel so entitled that they are willing to bring down our democracy after they lost an election.

Michael E. Mahler
Los Angeles

To the Editor:

Re “How to Declutter Quickly” (Here to Help, Jan. 27):

I wish Melissa Kirsch had pointed out that the result of impulsively throwing things into the garbage is overflowing landfills that are a big problem for municipalities and the planet. The cake-decorating tips that she left at the curb might have been donated to a thrift store and then, for a dollar, might have provided a child being driven crazy by Zoom school with a fun activity. Clothing that was annoying Ms. Kirsch could have been donated to a local charity.

It’s liberating to throw something into the garbage and be done with it, but it’s more considerate to try to find a new home for something we have purchased improvidently or no longer use.

Diane S. Greenberg
Palo Alto, Calif.

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