S.992 / A.5548
Translation Services for Inmates
The Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY) supports bill S.992 (Rivera) / A.5548 (Sepulveda) relating to translation services for inmates appearing before the Parole Board.
Our courts currently provide interpreters for non-English speaking litigants and witnesses. Additionally, courts have various documents translated into several languages. This is done based on the principles of fairness, due process and equal access to justice. It therefore follows that inmates appearing for Parole Board interviews receive similar translation services.
Parole Boards make life changing decisions for inmates. A review by a Parole Board is not a minor appearance but rather a significant one and one where it is crucial for an inmate to communicate their thoughts and sentiments. However, non-English speaking inmates are at an obvious disadvantage if they cannot correctly and accurately make a statement or answer questions from the Board.
Whether or not an inmate speaks English should not determine or hamper their interview and review by a Parole Board. WBASNY is dedicated to the fair and equal administration of justice and therefore supports this bill aiming to ensure the voice of all inmates are heard and understood by Parole Boards. Accordingly, WBASNY urges the Senate to pass this bill.