Pleas for a Prison

Harlem activists fight to keep Parkside open

Before she became a counselor at Parkside, Santana was herself a prisoner. She was in her 11th year of a 15-years-to-life sentence for killing her abusive stepfather when Governor Mario Cuomo granted her clemency in 1986. Santana has not forgotten how hard it is to re-adjust to life after a decade behind bars, so now she is fighting to keep Parkside open.

"I think this program should be made available to all the inmates coming out of prison," Santana says. "It's much better for them to go back into the community with some sort of support system to fall back on rather than giving them $30 and a trench coat and putting them on the curb and saying you're free."

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