Legal Aid Society

Less is More Parole Reform

On September 17, 2021, Governor Hochul signed into law The Community Supervision Revocation Reform Act (the Less is More Act). This new law, which went into full effect on March 1, 2022, includes some of the most sweeping parole reforms in the nation. It represents a major step forward in the fight to end mass incarceration, advance racial equality, and bolster due process in New York.

What Less is More Means for People on Parole

The Less is More Act impacts anyone who is serving a sentence of community supervision (commonly referred to as “parole” or “post-release supervision) and is being monitored by NYS DOCCS. The new law creates a pathway to finish parole early through 30 for 30 earned time credits. For anyone facing a parole violation, the law ends automatic, pre-adjudication detention by providing for recognizance hearings within 24 hours of arrest. It also increases the burden of proof at the actual violation hearings, provides for speedier hearings, and significantly limits jail time for a technical violation.

Jhonny’s Story

Jhonny Mercedes was sent to Rikers Island during the COVID-19 pandemic because of a minor, non-criminal parole violation. Jhonny initially transferred his parole supervision to New Jersey where his family lived. But after his family’s living circumstances changed, he was forced to make an unthinkable choice: risk exposure to COVID-19 in a shelter or move to New York City with his family. Jhonny lost contact with his parole officer when he moved to New York City. He failed to report and was arrested, ultimately spending 30 days on Rikers before he was released. Now Jhonny lives and works in Brooklyn and thanks to Less is More, his time on parole can be cut in half.

We Can Help

The Legal Aid Society’s Parole Revocation Defense Unit can answer your questions about the new law. For questions about how Less is More will affect you, call our helpline at 212-577-3500.

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