NEW YORK (PIX11) — A nearly blind dad who spent years in a Rikers Island jail facility after stealing NyQuil cold medication was released from prison pending appeal, his lawyers said Tuesday.

Reggie Randolph, 58, had recently been transferred from Rikers to Downstate Prison in Fishkill. In his time behind bars, Randolph insisted he’d been punished enough for his crimes. Jeffrey Berman, his lawyer at the Legal Aid Society, said the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office had consented to Randolph’s release.

“Reggie’s case is tragic, but not unique, and Albany must immediately enact the Treatment Not Jail Act, legislation that aims to ensure that New Yorkers with substance use, mental health and other challenges have an off-ramp from the criminal legal system without prosecutorial gatekeeping to obtain treatment and support in their communities, rather than jail,” Berman said.

Cries for justice rang out in Randolph’s case after a PIX11 News series on his story. Berman noted Randolph is not alone; there are thousands of people like him in New York jails, hoping and praying that they’ll get the opportunity to receive treatment.

“They are totally dependent on prosecutors who serve as gatekeepers as to whether or not they will be given that opportunity,” he said.

Randolph was sentenced after the theft of around 40 boxes of NyQuil in 2018. He would sell the cold medication and use it to buy drugs. He’s been clean for about a year now.

His attorneys argued Randolph’s crimes — committed while he was high, or trying to get high — were repeatedly used to justify giving him a stiffer sentence after each new conviction.

New York State Sen. Jessica Ramos said her bill, the “Treatment Not Jail” Act, is necessary to protect certain offenders; she criticized the prison system for being used “as a mental health clinic.”

“It’s not working,” Ramos said. “Just putting people away, out of mind, doesn’t actually solve the issue.

Randolph previously told PIX11 News he’s ready for another chance to get his life on track and reconnect with this family.

“I feel like, me dealing with my drug addiction, I was being selfish — depriving them of they father, which was not right,” he said. 

He got his wish granted Tuesday; when PIX11 News reached out again to see if the newly freed Randolph would be open for an interview, he was visiting loved ones who hadn’t seen him in years.

PIX11 News spokes with Berman on Tuesday after Randolph’s release. He thanked PIX11 for the focus on the case.

“I think that played a significant role in making this happen today,” he said.