NEW YORK – Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris is asking Governor Kathy Hochul to expedite implementation of the recently-enacted Less is More law, reducing the number of circumstances whereby parolees can be jailed for technical violations. Senator Gianaris’ request comes as the unfolding crisis at Rikers Island has resulted in a dozen incarcerated men dying in the custody of the New York City Department of Corrections. Senator Gianaris’ letter represents the largest demonstration of consensus of state legislators on the ongoing Rikers crisis.
"There are people who are being held right now who would not be if it were March," said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris. “To put them through this crisis now and put their lives in danger simply because the law doesn't take effect for a few more months is irresponsible."
“Governor Hochul has explicit powers that, if exercised today, could help significantly reduce the city jail population,” said Tina Luongo, Attorney-In-Charge of the Criminal Defense Practice at The Legal Aid Society. “These New Yorkers are detained solely because of New York’s antiquated and draconian parole practices, policies that are very much national outliers. We applaud the Legislature for calling on the Hochul Administration to take this needed action to address the crisis at Rikers. We echo that call.”
Senator Gianaris requested Governor Hochul release 164 who should already have been released under Less is More and expedite implementation of the law for 672 additional people who would otherwise benefit from provisions that go into effect in March. Governor Hochul has already applied the initial benefits of Less is More to almost 200 hundred incarcerated persons.
Senator Gianaris co-sponsored the Less Is More Act, which passed earlier this year and was signed into law in August by Governor Hochul. His letter was co-signed by 44 legislators from across the state.