Legal Aid Society


Watch: Why New York City's Jail Population Is Spiking

Phil Desgranges, Supervising Attorney at The Legal Aid Society’s Special Litigation Unit, was featured on an episode of The Appeal addressing New York’s burgeoning prison population, in part due to its policy of indefinitely incarcerating New Yorkers on non-criminal technical parole violations.

These violations can include missing a curfew or, failing to update parole about a change of address, or failing to report for a parole check-in. Time spent in jail awaiting a parole trial may amount to 3-4 months, impacting a person’s ability to maintain a job or housing, massively disrupting lives in the process.

“It makes no sense,” Desgranges said, “because at the end of these trials the vast majority – about 50% or more – are released because the state has determined that they are not a public safety risk. So we’re detaining people in mass automatically, because of the alleged public safety reasons – but ultimately these individuals are overwhelmingly found to pose no risk to the public. The cost to these people’s lives is really tremendous.”

Watch the full piece below.