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Commissioners often focus solely on the nature of a person's crime, and not their many accomplishments or the personal growth they achieved while incarcerated. 

*An indeterminate sentence is a prison term imposed by a sentencing court that does not specify the exact number of years to be served within the range imposed (for example, 2 to 4 years).


People in prison serving these sentences become eligible for parole release when they reach their minimum sentence.

What is an indeterminate sentence?

As with the criminal legal system at large, people of color, and more specifically Black men, are profoundly and disproportionately impacted by parole policy.


Aging and elderly people are also deeply affected.


Parole Prep average release rate:


Statewide average release rate:

Parole Prep works solely with people serving life sentences.  A life sentence is an indeterminate sentence with no maximum expiration date (for example, 15 years to life or 25 years to life).


For people serving life, their only way out of prison is through parole. If the Board denies them release repeatedly, they will inevitably die in prison. 

Why focus on life sentences?

Some applicants appear before the Board numerous times, often on nine or ten occasions, before they are granted release, forcing them to languish in prison for many years longer than their minimum sentence.

Often people serving life sentences have lost hope of ever obtaining freedom. Many believe they will die in prison, and in reality, some will.

Support Our Work

More than 50% of Parole Prep's budget comes directly from individual donations. 


Your contributions help support our parole preparation program, community engagement work and so much more. 


people are interviewed by the Parole Board each year

"Today, New York’s parole board receives almost no scrutiny"

Jennifer Gonnerman of The New Yorker profiles a Parole Prep applicant and sheds light on the New York State parole system.

Prepping for Parole

Jennifer Gonnerman

November 25, 2019 (The New Yorker)


people (35% of the prison population) are serving a parole-eligible sentence in NY State. 

What Is Parole?

In New York State, parole is the system by which people serving indeterminate prison sentences* obtain release. 


Parole commissioners, appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate, make parole determinations based on a short, virtual interview and review of an individual's record.

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