New Yorkers deserve a criminal justice system that produces safe and healthy outcomes for our communities, operates efficiently for taxpayers, and reduces the likelihood of recidivism for individuals as they reintegrate with society. That is why we fully support the “Less Is More” Act, a landmark parole reform that was courageously signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul last week.
Sadly but predictably, political opponents of common sense criminal justice reforms have pounced on a recent news story to unfairly and unfaithfully malign “Less Is More” and other criminal justice reform measures in an attempt to energize a political base inspired by such rhetoric.
Among the bill’s many benefits to public safety and public spending, Less Is More aligns New York’s parole system with the overwhelming evidence that demonstrates how aggressively incarcerating people on parole for technical violations wastes hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, disrupts the process of reintegration, and provides no public safety benefit whatsoever. That is why New York has embarked on a process of adopting proven criminal legal reforms that make our system as fair and effective as it can be, leaving behind draconian policies that imprison too many people and ignore effective, cost-efficient solutions like “Less Is More.”
We want to be clear: these are technical violations that take place after an individual has already been deemed eligible for and released on parole—such as breaking curfew or missing appointments with a parole officer. “Less is More” does not inherently release offenders, it prevents the needs for individuals to be incarcerated for minor, if not arbitrary parole violations.
Above all, we cannot stress the importance of fidelity to the facts and timelines in debates and reporting about such critical matters of public safety. Opponents of these evidence-based reforms and the reporting that supports their unfounded opinions have failed to maintain any such fidelity to the truth.
We will not be deterred from our path of progress and justice by disingenuous, misleading arguments; we stand firm today in our resolve that New York will become a national leader in fairness, equality, and justice. The safety, well-being, and economic health of all New Yorkers—and the preservation of our values as a state—ultimately depend on every one of us walking that path with integrity.