As the Chorus of Voices Seeking Reform Grows, Katal Urges State Leaders to Implement Legislative Reforms that will Restructure the Parole and Probation System
Assemblyman Mosley Announces Intention to Introduce Legislation that Addresses Parole
Albany, NY – On May 17th, three New York District Attorneys joined twenty-eight other elected District Attorneys from across the Country calling for an end to the overuse of probation and parole. Currently there are nearly 5 million Americans on probation and parole, a “community supervision” system that is a major driver of mass incarceration in this country. These prosecutors join more than 70 other prominent law enforcement, criminal justice, probation and parole leaders as well as organizations who have also joined the Statement, which is managed by the Justice Lab at Columbia University.
Katal is now urging state leaders in New York to implement legislative reforms that will restructure the parole and probation system, including: shortening parole and probation terms overall; capping terms for technical violations (including unprosecuted arrest); requiring a hearing before a judicial officer before jailing someone accused of a technical violation; and reallocating savings to community programs.
“Today is an important step toward reimagining the criminal justice system in New York and beyond. The current parole and probation system is causing harms, particularly in communities of color, throughout the Country,” said gabriel sayegh, Co-Founder for Katal Center for Health, Equity and Justice. “New York law makers can take the lead in restructuring the current system so it leads to less incarceration and more healing.”
“I welcome these elected District Attorneys who are joining the growing chorus of voices calling for reform to our community corrections practices, including the three elected DA’s from New York. Our state currently has one of the highest rates of parole failure in the country. By incentivizing good behavior, preventing re-incarceration for technical violations, and creating a higher threshold for less serious offenses, our state can save money, improve public safety, and reduce unnecessary incarceration in jails and prisons,” said Assemblyman Walter Mosley. “I plan to introduce legislation to accomplish exactly that. Rarely are we given the opportunity to do something that is not only the smart thing to do, but the right thing to do, and it is my hope that the state of New York puts these reforms into practice as soon as possible.”
“Momentum is building to change community corrections practices, and I hope this new development, with prosecutors joining the call for change, spurs lawmakers to action,” said Donna Hylton, Senior Justice Fellow at Katal. “Reform is urgently needed, especially for women. When women on parole and probation are struggling with issues related to poverty, mental health addiction, or abuse and violence, they too often get punishment instead of help. Where does punishment end and treatment begin? The evidence shows that harsh surveillance and punishment does not serve public safety and exacerbates the problems people are struggling with to survive and get on their feet. By investing in supporting people and addressing root causes, we can reduce incarceration and improve people’s live and promote safety and justice.”
The Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice works to strengthen the people, policies, institutions, and movements that advance health, equity, and justice for everyone.
We advance evidence-based solutions to achieve healthier, safer, and more equitable communities.
Katal’s Less is More Campaign (#LessIsMoreNY) focuses on driving down populations in local jails and state prisons by ending re-incarceration for technical violations of parole and probation.