New York aggressively re-incarcerates people on parole for technical violations such as missing curfew or appointments with their parole officer. Even as New York’s prison population continues decline, the number of people sent to prison for such violations is on the rise. This trend holds true for New York City’s jail population, which is trending towards historic lows but shows a steep increase in the number of people incarcerated for parole violations.
This draconian approach to noncriminal behavior results in people serving prison terms longer than those convicted of some felony offenses. Like many problems in our justice system, this approach to parole has created stark racial and economic disparities that point to bias, and has not shown to make New York any safer. In fact, research suggests that the more time spent behind bars, the more likely an individual is to commit worse offenses – meaning that parole-based incarceration makes New York less safe overall.
New York must move away from this harmful approach to parole and community reintegration to drive down crime and recidivism.