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WRGB Albany: “Less is More” Act was signed: Former inmates feel a sense of relief

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By Emma Quinn via WRGB Albany

Come March 2022, missing curfew or being late to a parole meeting won’t automatically land someone on parole back in the prison system.

That is all thanks to the “Less is More Act”; Governor Kathy Hochul signed the legislation on Friday.

New York social justice reform advocates say the legislation is step in the right direction 

Pinto adds the legislation will slowly put an end to mass incarceration and a bring a sense of relief for former inmates reintegrating back into society.

Earlier this month, an Albany man named Dontie Mitchell was released from prison after 24 years for a robbery.

He told CBS6 he was attending a social justice reform event in New York City on Sunday and had concerns about getting a technical violation.

“It’s situations like this, I’m not out here to commit crimes., I’m going to a legitimate event that’s dealing with the ending of black murder,” said Mitchell. “I could potentially be back tomorrow if I miss the bus; [and]that could cause me to suffer a technical parole violation that could send me back to prison.”

Attorneys Mitchell isn’t alone, “Unfortunately, I think that’s why sometimes folks will say you know what, I’m just going to serve out my sentence so that way I don’t have to deal with all the guidelines of being released and tip toeing around life,” said Pinto.

The legislation will also free up over $860 million dollars of taxpayer money that is currently spent on those incarcerated for technical parole violations.

Social justice advocates say there are many areas of the criminal justice system where the money could be reinvested.

“So, for me the best use of all money that is saved would be for folks who are first time offenders. These are usually the individuals who you see spending their life circling in and out of prison,” said Pinto. “If resources can be allocated elsewhere for alternatives from incarceration- I think what you’ll see is a radical decline in individuals recidivating.”

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