Legal group urges clemency for NY man in prison for stealing cold medicine

Local News

Reggie Randolph seen with his daughter in a photo provided by his attorney.

NEW YORK — After spending more than 850 days in a Rikers Island jail facility for stealing cold medicine, Reggie Randolph is now serving time in an upstate prison. 

But several state lawmakers and The Legal Aid Society say Randolph doesn’t belong there either. They renewed their call on Sunday for Gov. Kathy Hochul to grant a pending clemency application.

Randolph was sentenced to two to four years in state prison back in August after he stole NyQuil from two Manhattan Duane Reade pharmacy locations.

His lengthy sentence came down to laws baked into New York’s legal system, which do not take into account his medical, mental and substance abuse issues. 

Randolph does not deny his past, but said his decades-long criminal history is directly tied to a decades-long drug addiction.

Before he was transferred in November, Randolph told PIX11 News that he feels his case was mishandled by the criminal justice system when he should have been treated in a health care setting as an addict and mental health patient with medical issues.

“My health situation is not good,” he said. “I’m permanently blind in my right eye and I’m going blind in my left eye.”

Now, state Senators Jessica Ramos, Julia Salazar and Gustavo Rivera have joined The Legal Aid Society in its fight to reduce Randolph’s sentence.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, which prosecuted Randolph, does not oppose the petition for clemency because he has been approved for supportive housing and addiction treatment services upon his release, according to The Legal Aid Society.

“In commuting Reggie’s sentence and allowing him to avoid the possibility of serious illness, medical decline and possibly death in our state prison system, Governor Kathy Hochul will be acknowledging that Reginald Randolph’s life matters,” said attorney Jeffrey Berman. “Reggie has already been approved for transitional and long-term mental health supportive housing and robust community treatment programming. Further incarcerating Reggie puts him at risk of eventual homelessness and does nothing to further public safety. Reggie has inhumanely been subjected to punitive incarceration for a total of well over two years. We call on Governor Hochul to grant Reggie clemency so that he can be released to a community that is ready to care for and support him now.” 

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