by: Amal Elhelw via WROC
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — 8,000 parolees in New York State have been released from supervision as of March 31st. The Department of Corrections is calling it a “good faith measure” under the Less is More Act.
The law was signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul last September, and aims to prevent people from being reincarcerated for technical, non-criminal parole violations. Things like missing curfew, arriving late to appointments, or maintaining employment.
The legislation was co-authored by Emily NaPier Singletary, the co-founder of Unchained, an organization that “advocates to dismantle the carceral state and guarantee access to dynamic and culturally-relevant education.”
“It’s the most transformative parole reform measure ever enacted in the United States. It overhauls the way that parole treats, violations in particular technical violations of parole, things that are not new crimes, but that may break the rules imposed on people who are under parole supervision,” NaPier Singletary said.
Those technical violations are rules that if broken would not be a crime for the average person, but for a parolee, could send them back into the system. Things like missing curfew, maintaining employment, or drug and alcohol use.
Frank Povoski, member of the Katal Center for Equity, Health, and Justice, is one of those individuals released from parole supervision. He was cut from his parole period two years early for having what is called an “uninterrupted parole,” meaning he had no violations for the six years he was under supervision.
“I think it helps individuals get back to a normal life, and I think most people on parole just want to do that,” Povoski said, “Since I’ve been off, it’s been one less of a worry to life of not having that looming over me.”
To get off parole early on good behavior, the DOCCS implemented the “30 for 30”credits. It says individuals can get 30 days taken off their supervision sentence for every 30 days they are not in violation. The department had until September to implement this aspect but has expedited the process in light of the Less is More Act.
“This was costing the state of New York and all of its counties $680 million a year was a tremendous waste of resources for infractions that are not criminal and do not present a risk to public safety. And so the less is more act restricts the use of incarceration to respond to those technical violations and requires parole to use community based interventions instead,” NaPier Singletary said.
News 8 did reach out to the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to find out how many of these 8,000 parolees are the Rochester area. They have yet to respond. Check back in with News 8 for updates.
DOCCS says as of March 25th, there were nearly 26,000 parolees under supervision, as opposed to over 31,000 on February 28th.