NY Criminal Justice Watchdogs Reveal New Data on How Parole System Costs Millions for Rochester & Monroe County Taxpayers
Monroe County Jail Spent Over $12 Million Incarcerating Individuals for Technical Parole Violations in 2019; New Yorkers United for Justice Urge Lawmakers in Albany to Pass Parole Reform
ROCHESTER, NY—New Yorkers United for Justice (NYUJ)—a bipartisan criminal justice coalition of 14 national and local organizations—today hosted a press conference in Rochester, New York as part of a statewide campaign to advocate for parole reform in the state legislature. NYUJ representatives were joined by NY Senator Jeremy A. Cooney and Urban League of Rochester CEO Dr. Seanelle Hawkins to highlight the fiscal and human impact of a parole system that unfairly focuses on reincarceration for noncriminal technical violations (e.g., missing a curfew, being late to an appointment, not being able to secure employment).
NYUJ’s recent analysis showed that Monroe County Jail spent an estimated $12,463,776 to incarcerate individuals for technical violations in 2019. In Monroe County, it costs an average of $219 per day to incarcerate an individual; 6% of Monroe County’s taxpayer dollars are spent on incarcerating individuals in jails.
Sen. Jeremy A. Cooney said: “We will not begin to address ending mass incarceration without also fixing the broken system of parole, which victimizes justice-involved persons and costs taxpayers millions. We need to pass legislation and create access to resources that will empower and support the successful reintegration into society of those who have completed their sentences.”
In New York State, it is estimated that the state spends approximately $359 million annually incarcerating people returned to state prison for technical parole violations, while localities spend a combined total of nearly $300 million incarcerating individuals accused of alleged parole violations while they await disposition of the charges.
“Every stage of New York State’s parole system, from Rochester to New York City, is broken, costly, and unjust,” said Alexander Horwitz, Executive Director of NYUJ. “By unnecessarily sending individuals back to prisons and jails for technical violations, our parole system not only wastes millions of taxpayer dollars for the sake of unnecessary punishment, we perpetuate a system that upends lives and families with no benefit to public safety. We urge lawmakers in Albany to prioritize system-wide parole reform this year and help put an end to this vicious, costly cycle of reincarceration.”
About New Yorkers United for Justice (NYUJ)
New Yorkers United for Justice is a statewide coalition of local and national non-profit organizations committed to supporting a movement that will bring much-needed criminal justice reform to New York State and ensure that policies promote safety and fairness. NYUJ aims for legislative urgency to fix a broken criminal justice system that punishes the poor and communities of color, tears families apart, and makes New Yorkers less safe. NYUJ believes that a system that ensures equal access to justice for anyone accused in New York State, regardless of age, race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin or religion, must be the standard.