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Another test for New York’s criminal justice reform

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By Chase Houle via 13WHAM

Rochester, N.Y. — New York’s criminal justice reform has been criticized as dangerous and poorly thought out – and raised as long overdue.

Thursday, 8,000 parolees statewide are expected to be release from supervision. 

Part of the “Less is More” legislation allows parolees to earn a 30-day reduction in their sentence for every 30 days without a violation. 

Many of those being released from supervision are the beneficiaries of that. 

Since September, 5,400 parolees have been taken off supervision.

“It’s something like you’re on parole and you may be five minutes late with your parole officer and prior to less is more, in the State of New York, any accusation of a mere technical violation would result in jail time,” said Kenyatta Muzzani, director of organizing at the Katal Center. 

Livingston County Sheriff Tom Dougherty says less technical violations means more freedom for criminals and less safety for citizens.

“What does the New York system currently tell criminals? I’ll tell you what it tells criminals: New York is a joke. It tells them, ‘I can keep doing these things. I’m not going to be violated on my parole. If i do get arrested, bail reform will set me free,'” Dougherty said. 

Frank Povoski served 12 years in prison for setting arson to police vehicles in 2005. He was on parole with supervision for six years and a medical emergency almost landed him back behind bars.

“One time i was out walking my dogs and I was stung by bees and it was about seven o’clock at night and the police were called and the ambulance came and I went into anaphylactic shock and my biggest concern was calling my parole officer to let him know where I was,” he said.

Dougherty says “Less is More’ will cause the crime rate to climb. But Povoski says once you go to prison, you don’t want to go back.

“I think the vast majority of people that serve time for some time, they committed paid their penalty and the only concern [is] they never want to go back to prison,” he said. “Prison is the worst place to ever be and they never want to go back and they learn from it.”

13WHAM reached out to the state corrections’ department to find out how many parolees will be released from supervision in Monroe County and is waiting to hear back.

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