Gov. Hochul signs sweeping criminal justice reform bill 'Less is More'
Gov. Kathy Hochul joined Bronx DA Darcel Clark, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and other elected officials to announce major changes in criminal justice after reports surfaced describing the conditions on Rikers Island as a humanitarian crisis.
The governor signed into law the Less is More Act releasing 191 parolees who are currently incarcerated despite serving their sentences.
This announcement comes after decades of calls for changes at Rikers Island and parole reform at large around the state. Sponsors of this bill say the conditions at Rikers Island have been inhumane, especially during the pandemic. They also say incarcerated individuals at the jail were locked up like animals with feces on the ground and the smell of rotting decay.
Hochul said that the state of New York gives out more parole violations than any other state, often locking up individuals on technicalities and non-criminal parole violations such as missing curfew or arriving late to meet a parole officer.
The governor says these changes will reduce over-incarceration of marginalized communities and save money all while reducing the chances that formerly incarcerated individuals will commit crime again.
The new law will move 40 inmates from Rikers who have at least 60-90 days left in their sentences to other jails across the state.