Frequently Asked Question
Every person on parole has a list of release conditions that they must follow. A technical violation occurs when a person breaks one of these rules which is not a new crime (misdemeanor or felony). Examples of technical violations include, but are not limited to: being late for curfew, testing positive for drugs or alcohol, and missing an appointment with a parole officer.
Yes – but likely not yet. Under #LessIsMoreNY, people accused of a new crime while on parole will get what’s called a recognizance hearing rather than automatically being detained because of the parole sticker. The recognizance hearing will most often be conducted simultaneously with the bail hearing on the new charge. The standard for release at the recognizance hearing is the same as at the bail hearing on the new charge: the court will release the person on their own recognizance (ROR) unless this will not reasonably assure the person’s appearance at subsequent hearings (if the person is a flight risk). Recognizance hearings under the new law are scheduled to begin on March 1, 2022.
#LessIsMoreNY does not alter current penalties for new crimes, but all individuals on parole will have the right to de novo review by a judge of the sustained violation and its punishment. This is similar to an appeal, which was not an option under the old law, and means the judge conducting the review can do so without consideration of the findings of the parole revocation hearings or the criminal court hearings on the case.
#LessIsMoreNY changes parole from a punitive system to an incentive-based system through earned time credits (or the “30 for 30”). Once this provision goes into effect on September 1, 2022, people on parole will earn 30 days off their parole supervision period for every 30 days they go without a sustained violation. This means that if someone remains violation-free, they can cut their time on parole in half. It applies to both parole and post-release supervision.
People serving life sentences unfortunately will not benefit from this provision; there is a discretionary discharge mechanism available to people with life sentences that was not changed by Less is More. Everyone else on parole, regardless of conviction or type of sentence will receive earned time credits.
Parole has until September 1, 2022 to calculate and award all retroactive earned time credits and begin awarding 30 for 30 going forward. Each person eligible for earned time credits can receive a maximum of two years of retroactive credits. For example, if you have been on parole for 3 years as of September 1, 2022 with no sustained violations, you will receive two years of retroactive credits and then earn 30 for 30 going forward from that date until you are discharged from parole. If you are incarcerated on a violation when this provision takes effect, your retroactive credits will not be awarded until you are released and restored to community supervision. You will not earn retroactive credits for any period you were incarcerated on a sustained violation – only for periods when you were in the community.
No. Under #LessIsMoreNY, if you are accused of any technical violation other than absconding, including special conditions, parole is required to give you a written notice of violation rather than arrest you. The written notice of violation is like an appearance ticket: it will tell you when and where to show up for your hearing, and as long as you appear, you will not be detained while your hearings are conducted. It’s possible that if the violation is sustained you could be incarcerated for violating certain special conditions if parole can prove that they have exhausted all community-based options for addressing the violation. If you are incarcerated, it will be for a maximum of 30 days.
No. Earned time credits are yours once they have been awarded; you cannot lose credits once you have earned them. If you receive a sustained violation, parole can withhold credits for the 30 day period starting with the date of the violation, but you will not lose any credits you already earned prior to the violation. If the sustained violation is for absconding, the earned time credits will be withheld for the entire absconding period. The clock for earning credits starts again automatically on day 31 unless you are incarcerated. If you are incarcerated on day 31, it will start again on the day you are released and restored to community supervision.
The Less Is More Act has an effective date of March 1, 2022, but certain parts of the bill went into effect the moment Governor Hochul signed #LessIsMoreNY into law; most notably, the provisions ending detention for accusations of technical violations and eliminating and capping incarceration for technical violations have been in effect since September 17, 2021 when the bill was signed into law. Other provisions, like moving parole violation hearings from jails into the community, conducting recognizance hearings, and applying earned time credits have not been implemented yet and are scheduled to begin March 1, 2022 according to the law. For people already incarcerated on violations when the law was signed, parole has until July 17, 2022 to recalculate their time assessments and release people. The earned time credits will be implemented by September 1, 2022. There is a clause in #LessIsMoreNY that allows for the Governor to move up the implementation of the new law, and we urge Governor Hochul’s administration to do so swiftly.