New York state should speed up the implementation of a newly approved law meant to reduce the number of people in jail for violations of their parole, state Sen. Mike Gianaris on Thursday said.
Gianaris, the deputy Senate majority leader, urged Gov. Kathy Hochul to expedite the implementation of the law, which is set to take effect in March. Hochul previously approved the measure this month and, citing the conditions at Rikers Island jail, announced 200 people would be released.
But Gianaris said the deteriorating conditions at Rikers warranted further action, pointing to 672 additional people who could face potential release now if the measure were in effect.
"There are people who are being held right now who would not be if it were March," he said. “To put them through this crisis now and put their lives in danger simply because the law doesn't take effect for a few more months is irresponsible."
The push to implement the law faster through executive action has the support of criminal justice advocates as well.
“Gov. Hochul has explicit powers that, if exercised today, could help significantly reduce the city jail population,” said Tina Luongo, attorney-in-charge of the Criminal Defense Practice at The Legal Aid Society. “These New Yorkers are detained solely because of New York’s antiquated and draconian parole practices, policies that are very much national outliers."