Memo - New York City Bar: Support for the Less is More Act

The New York City Bar's Corrections and Community Reentry Committee, Criminal Courts Committee, Criminal Justice Operations Committee, and Mass Incarceration Task Force issued a report in support of the Less Is More Act.

SUMMARY

Despite historic gains in recent years to reduce its reliance on mass incarceration and increase the fairness of its justice system, the State's parole apparatus remains a persistent obstacle. While the primary condition imposed on people on parole in New York is that they not commit any new crimes, people on parole are also required to abide by other conditions, including curfews, travel restrictions, drug testing, and regular check-ins with their parole officer. Violations of these restrictions that do not constitute a new crime are referred to as "technical" violations. In 2018, 40% of the people sent to state prison were incarcerated not because they had committed a new crime, but because they committed technical parole violations. Incarceration of New Yorkers accused of technical parole violations has huge financial and human costs; it is estimated that the State spends almost $300 million per year incarcerating people found to have committed technical parole violations. The Less is More Act provides much-needed reforms by eliminating incarceration for most technical parole violations, requiring prompt judicial review of parole warrants, placing caps on revocation sanctions for both technical and non-technical violations, and allowing people to earn time off their parole terms with good behavior. These steps would incentivize compliance, reduce absconding, and allow parole officers to help people receive necessary support. Violation and incarceration rates would fall, as would today's unreasonably high caseloads for parole officers.

Read the NYC BAR's Support Memo for the Less is More Act here.