Jose Saldaña survived 38 years of incarceration in New York. He was released in 2018. Today, Jose is the Director of RAPP (Release Aging People in Prison), a grassroots inter-generational organization that seeks to address the crisis of people serving long prison sentences, getting old, sick and dying. RAPP advocates for legislative initiatives that will provide a meaningful opportunity to all incarcerated New Yorkers to be considered for release at 55 years old and served 15 years.
He condemns the NYS prison system as a racist institution bent on revenge and perpetual punishment, not rehabilitation or healing and closure for those harmed by interpersonal violence. He was never offered any therapeutic program to help him to reflect and gain insight on the impact of his crime on people. It was with the help of elder incarcerated people that he developed this insight, change his thinking and behavior and embrace life-affirming values and principles that define who he is today. Elders that should have been walking out of prison with him, if not before him.