Op-Ed from Bruce Western and Bernard Harcourt on Parole Reform and the Case of Herman Bell

Columbia Law Professor Bernard Harcourt and Columbia Justice Lab Director and Professor of Criminal Justice Policy at Harvard University Bruce Western co-wrote an op-ed in the Daily News on the case for parole reform and the case of Herman Bell.

Harcourt and Western write “New York’s new parole rules bring the state more into line with international standards and acknowledge a reality uncovered by criminologists. Criminal offending declines with age, and virtually all people convicted of crimes ultimately cease their involvement in crime at some point in their lives. With very long prison sentences, we inevitably incarcerate people who pose no risk to society.

Just as important as the research evidence, the new parole rules acknowledge that unending terms of incarceration do too little to heal the pain of communities and families harmed by serious violence. The new parole rules express a belief that debts can be paid, and those who have caused terrible pain to others, like Bell, are nevertheless worthy of redemption.”

You can read the full article on the Daily News site here:

Why Should We Keep Murderers in Prison Until They Die? 

You can also read more about our work on parole reform from our report Aging in Prison: Reducing Elder Incarceration and Promoting Public Safety.