ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Monroe County Police Chiefs Association said 17 people were released from the Monroe County Jail Tuesday afternoon, in light of New York State’s new “Less is More” Law.
The law, signed Friday, eliminates jail time for most nonviolent parole violations.
Beginning in March, people on parole will no longer be jailed for technical parole violations, such as being late to a parole appointment, missing curfew, or failing to inform a parole officer of a job change.
Gates Police Chief James VanBrederode, who is the president of the Monroe County Police Chiefs Association, said 22 people in the Monroe County Jail were ordered to be released under the new law. Of the 22, five remained in the jail Tuesday on what VanBrederode called “unrelated charges.”
“These are all little rules that we put in place to keep them on a straight and narrow lifestyle,” VanBrederode said of the violations. “We have found that when they start to violate those technical violations, they end up going off and getting themselves rearrested.”
VanBrederode went on to claim jailing people on parole for committing technical violations was in fact effective in preventing people from being jailed.
“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 said 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.
“If we knew this was coming we could lodge charges before they were released,” he said.