Osborne Joins More Than 100 Organizations in Support of the Parole Board's Decision Re Herman Bell

20 March 2018

The undersigned join in strong support of the recent determination by the Parole Board to grant release to Mr. Herman Bell. This decision is the right outcome in this case based on the criteria used to determine parole.


March 20, 2018 – The undersigned join in strong support of the recent determination by the Parole Board to grant release to Mr. Herman Bell. This decision is the right outcome in this case based on the criteria used to determine parole. We must not allow politics to undermine the rule of law, nor should we discourage an agency from correctly performing its duties by allowing it to be bullied or cowed by the loudest voices and those with their own agendas.

The Parole Board, acting as an independent body and critical component of our criminal justice system, is charged with deciding whether an individual is ready for release and reentry. For far too long, parole determinations have been based solely on the nature of an individual’s past criminal behavior, rather than on remorse, rehabilitation, and a plan for successful reentry. This backward-looking approach ran counter to the purpose of parole, the goal of a safer and more just society, and to the rehabilitative aims of our criminal justice system. The September 2017 regulations approved by the Parole Board, by including factors related to the individual’s readiness for successful reentry, represent a critical course correction. These changes are essential to undoing the system of perpetual punishment and mass incarceration.

The Parole Board made its determination regarding Mr. Bell’s release with consideration to his past crime, the wishes of the victims’ families, and the substantive evidence of his rehabilitation during his nearly 50 years of incarceration. The board also took into account Mr. Bell’s very low risk of recidivism and the support of a broad network of individuals and community organizations. It also recognized that Mr. Bell has taken responsibility for his actions and demonstrated remorse.

We applaud the Parole Board for implementing the new regulations in Mr. Bell’s case and for having the courage to move towards the kind of transformational criminal justice reform that is needed.



Abolitionist Law Center
Adalah-NY: Campaign for the Boycott of Israel
Alliance of Families for Justice
American Friends Service Committee
American Friends Service Committee Prison Watch
Anarchist Black Cross – NYC
Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC)
Bard Prison Initiative
Beyond the Box Initiative
Black & Pink
Black Lives Matter – Los Angeles
Black Lives Matter Global Network
Bronx Defenders
Bronx Reentry Program
Brooklyn Community Bail Fund
Brooklyn Defender Services
Brownsville Think Tank Matters, Inc.
Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services
Center for Community Alternatives
Center for Employment Opportunities
Central Vermont Showing Up for Racial Justice
Certain Days Collective
Children’s Haven: A Place of Healing & Hope
Coalition For Parole Restoration
College and Community Fellowship
Common Justice
Community Service Society
Criminal Justice Caucus at Columbia School of Social Work
Critical Resistance
EAC Network
End New Jim Crow Action Network (ENJAN)
End Solitary Santa Cruz County
Equality Equation
Exodus Transitional Community, Inc
Exponents, Inc.
Freedom Archives
Freedom Socialist Party
Gangstas making Astronomical Community Changes Inc
Greenburger Center for Social and Criminal Justice
Group 73 of Amnesty International, Ithaca, NY
Harlem Restoration Project, Inc.
Harvard Law School National Lawyer’s Guild
Hour Children
Housing Works
HousingPlus Solutions
Incarcerated Workers’ Organizing Committee – NYC
Institute of the Black World 21st Century
International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee
Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club
John Brown Lives!
Justice and Unity for the Southern Tier (JUST)
Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice
Labor-Religion Coalition of NYS
Law Firm of Siegel, Yee & Brunner
Legal Action Center
Liberation Literacy
Man Up Inc. USA
Milk Not Jails
Mobilization for Justice, Inc.
Mott Haven Reformed Church
NAMI Huntington
National Action Network Second Chance
National Jericho
National Lawyers Guild – New York City Chapter
Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem
Neighbors Together
New York Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement (CAIC)
New York City Jericho Movement
NYC Books through Bars
Osborne Association
Parole Preparation Project
Police Reform Organizing Project
Prisoner Reentry Institute at John Jay College
Prisoners Are People Too, inc.
Race for Re-Entry
Release Aging People in Prison (RAPP)
Religious society of Friends, Amawalk Meeting
Scuffletown Anti-Repression Committee
Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) – NYC
Solidarity Research Center
Students for Prison Education and Reform – Princeton University
SURJ Hudson
SURJ ROC (Showing Up for Racial Justice – Rochester)
SURJ Westchester
Sylvia Rivera Law Project
TASC of the Captial District
The Correctional Association
The Distinguished Social Ventures Foundation
The Doe Fund
The Fortune Society
The Incarcerated Nation Corporation
The Legal Aid Society
Urban Justice Center
WESPAC Foundation, Inc
West Town Law Office
Women and Justice Project
Women’s March
Women’s Prison Association
Youth Represent



Adrienne Hurley, Professor, McGill University
Albert Fermin
Alicia Garza, Co-founder, Black Lives Matter Global Network / principal, Black Futures Lab
Anna Nathanson
Augustin Gonzalez
Betania Santos
Brad Hoylman, NYS Senate
Curtis Austin, Associate Professor
Dan Siegel, Civil Rights Attorney
Darren Mack
Deborah Weissman
Dr. Libby Lewis, Pan African Studies Department, Assistant Professor
Harriet Plewis
Herb Sturz
Jane Alpert
Jared Ware
Karen Palmer
Karen Shain
Kassandra Frederique
Kelsey De Avila
Kelsey Wright
Kevin Parker, NYS Senate
Luis Sepulveda, NYS Assemblyman
Mechthild Nagel, Professor of Philosophy, SUNY Cortland
Michelle Spark, The National Buddhist Prison Sangha, Senior Advisor
Nana Gyamfi, Adjunct Professor, Pan African Studies Department
Professor Marsha Weissman, Adjunct Professor, Sociology, Maxwell School, Syracuse University
Professor Staci Mitchell
Professor Tony Thompson, NYU School of Law
Robin Kelley, Professor
Ruth Saxelby
Shabaka R Shakur
Shelley Lane
Susan Horn
Susan Reverby
Tamika Graham, BPI TASC Teacher Fellow
Toni Hellmann
Zoe Samudzi


If your organization wishes to be included as a signatory, please click here. We will continue to update this list.