By Miguel Lopez
17 people were released from Monroe County Jail, in relation to the new Less is More act, that was signed into law last Friday by Governor Hochul.
The information was released to the public Tuesday at a news conference at the Hall of Justice held by The Chief’s Association, a group of the Monroe County Police Chiefs.
The Less is More act, which is receiving push-back from some, eliminates jail time for most nonviolent parole violations. Starting in March, 2022 people on parole will no longer be jailed for technical violations. These violations include being late to a parole appointment, missing curfew, or failing to inform a parole officer of a job change.
Gates Police Chief James VanBrederode said that 22 people were ordered to be released from Monroe County Jail, but 5 people were kept in jail due to “unrelated charges.” He also gave his thoughts on the removal of certain parole violations under the new law.
“These are all little rules that we put in place to keep them on a straight and narrow lifestyle,” VanBrederode said of the new law. “We have found that when they start to violate those technical violations, they end up going off and getting themselves rearrested.”
“Those technical violations were a very good tool to keep them straight and keep them honest and keep them out of jail,” he said. “When somebody starts testing positive for drugs, when they start staying out until 11:00 at night, they’re heading down the wrong path. The whole purpose of those technical violations was to kind of wake them up, say ‘Hey, stop what you’re doing. We’re going to hold you in custody for a week, 2 weeks, to kind of drive home that discipline issue.” VanBrederode also said that the local police chiefs were not told about the law or its effect until after it was signed. He said some of the people released under the law were involved in active investigations.
One Sheriff from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said that victims of crimes should voice their displeasure with the Less is More Act with the lawmakers in Albany.
“My message to the victims is Albany is not listening to you. There’s a distinct pattern out of Albany that shows that they don’t care about victims of crimes,” Chief Deputy Mike Fowler. “That is what we have been seeing over the past few years, and the evidence is coming at us every single day.”
“No matter how much we get up and talk about it, no matter how much we try to convince people that it is going in the wrong direction, just look at the crime that’s happening out on the streets, it’s going in the wrong direction and Albany is not listening. Not listening to anyone that is involved with this right now. Albany does not care about the victims.”
A recent memo sent out by RPD announced the re-arrest of one the 17 people, Joseph Rivera, who was charged with 2nd degree murder for the killing of Heather Majors. RPD says New York State Parole was informed that Rivera was going to be charged with murder, and still qualified him for release under the Less is More Act, since he was previously arrested for parole violations. RPD says the violations would’ve kept Rivera in jail until 2022.