“Less Is More” Law Brings Major Reform of New York Parole System
In September 2021, New York adopted a new law that significantly changes parole policies and procedures in the state. Known as the “Less Is More Act,” the law aims to reduce incarceration rates in the state and to make the parole system more fair and just for everyone involved and for the public at large.
While the details are complex, the new legislation essentially:
- Eliminates parole revocation for minor and technical violations
- Requires judges to review parole warrants
- Places limits on punishment for major parole violations
- Places limits on punishment for minor and technical parole violations
- Allows parolees time off from supervised release for good behavior
Parole — also known as “supervised release” — allows convicts to be released back into society before their sentence ends. The release is conditional, as the parolee must maintain certain standards of conduct to avoid being sent back to prison. The conditions vary widely based on the crimes and the parolee’s circumstances.
Allowing early but supervised release can help an individual successfully transition from prison back into society. State sponsored programs for finding housing, securing employment and assisting in general rehabilitation can make it easier for parolees to become productive members of the community. State supervision lessens the chances that a parolee will break the conditions of parole, or commit a new offense, and thus end up back in prison. In addition, parole saves taxpayer money. It is much less expensive to keep offenders on supervised release than to keep them incarcerated.
Parole programs do not always meet expectations, however. New York’s parole system was often seen as a trap for offenders. A parolee could go back to prison for a minor or even accidental parole violation. Some people have had parole revoked for missing a routine scheduled meeting or for failing to submit a form. Also, studies have shown that longstanding parole policies disproportionately affect minorities and the poor. Many state leaders have viewed parole as a system that set offenders up for failure rather than success.
The changes put into effect by the “Less Is More Act” represent a significant development in how society treats convicted criminals. The new law also provides criminal defense attorneys with better tools to help clients with parole related matters.
People who are currently incarcerated or on parole should know their rights under the new law. Located in Rochester, New York, the Law Office of Maurice Verrillo, P.C. is a full-service law firm. Our criminal defense attorney vigorously fights for the rights of the accused in a wide variety of state and federal criminal matters. If you are trying to secure early release or you are facing a charge of parole violation, feel free to contact us online or call 585-563-1134 for an initial phone consultation.