New Report Finds Poor Implementation of Governor Cuomo’s COVID-19 Order to Release People Accused of Technical Parole Violations from County Jails

Date: January 18, 2021

In a press conference on Tuesday, January 19, at 10am, Partnership for the Public Good released a new policy brief, “Poor Implementation Puts Health at Risk: An Evaluation of the New York Release Program for People Incarcerated on Charges of Technical Parole Violations during the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

In the report, author Stephen Hart, PhD, evaluates the implementation of Governor Cuomo’s March 2020 order to release people accused of technical parole violations from county jails in New York State, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The report finds that far fewer people were released than would be expected given the goals of the program, and that Erie County released people at a lower rate than many other counties. For instance, Erie County released only 28.5% of people accused of technical parole violations, while Monroe County released 58.4%.

Across the state, the Department of Corrections and Community Services (DOCCS) released only 38.2% of people accused of technical parole violations and awaiting parole revocation hearings, leaving over 1,000 people incarcerated and in danger. The evidence also suggests that DOCCS has not followed Governor Cuomo’s other directive: that new arrests for parole violations be avoided throughout the pandemic.

Calling for more immediate releases to safeguard public health, the report ends with recommendations to reform the pandemic-program release process, correct the regional disparities found in the analysis, and make larger changes to the parole system.

Read the full report here.