Critics charge NY’s ‘Less is More’ act allows paroled criminals to avoid jail time — even after new arrests

The dangers inherent in New York’s “Less is More” criminal justice reform measure, signed into law last year by Governor Kathy Hochul, are becoming abundantly clear to critics, as prosecutors face a more difficult time placing parolees back under lock and key after they are accused of new crimes.

As crime continues to surge in the Big Apple, the criminals behind many of the acts of senseless violence are caught and quickly released, despite the fact that they were already on parole for a previous crime.

“Before, if someone was on parole and they got arrested, they would have to go back to jail and finish their sentence,” one police officer in Queens told the New York Post. “Now parolees aren’t afraid of getting arrested and going back to jail.”

The frustrated cop pointed to “Less is More” as the reason behind the mayhem.

“This is another example of progressive politicians taking another tool out of our toolbox,” he stated.

Hochul added her signature to the reform act after just three weeks on the job as governor.

At the September 2021 signing of the bill into law, she stated, “New York State incarcerates more people for parole violations than anywhere in the country. That is a point of shame for us, and it needs to be fixed. It’s going to be fixed today. … the Less is More Act advances critical reforms to make our criminal justice system a better and fairer institution.”

“I’m very proud that New Yorkers have stepped up here today to help, first of all, institute a system that is a true justice system that doesn’t penalize people unfairly and gives people another chance in life,” Hochul said.

On that day, according to the governor’s website, “191 individuals” were “immediately released having served their sentences under Less is More standards.”

“The law places strict limits on parolees who commit technical violations, such as failing to show up for a hearing or failing a drug test – but it also offers new protections and hearing deadlines to suspects when they are accused of fresh crimes,” The Post reports. “For example, a warrant now has to be sought for a suspect breaking parole, and a hearing must be held within a specific timeframe.”

According to parole officer Wayne Spence, president of the Public Employees Federation, “It is extremely hard to get a warrant.”

The results of New York’s bail reform laws and Less is More have recently played out in several high-profile cases.

In August, Waheed Foster was picked up for two separate parole violations — alleged criminal possession of stolen property and criminal mischief.

As American Wire reported at the time, Foster was a convicted murderer who, in the mid-1990s, beat his grandma to death. After serving his time for that crime, in 2010, he stabbed his sister with a screwdriver and, later, at the psychiatric center in which he was receiving treatment, he attacked three workers.

Even still, following the parole violations, he was again set free.

The vagrant went on to chase Elizabeth Gomes through the NYC subway and brutally beat her to the point that she nearly lost her eyesight.

“Guys who a couple of years ago unquestionably would’ve been held get let out,” defense lawyer Mark Bederow told The Post. “That’s just the reality.”

“Do I think that guys know that?” he asked. “Of course they know that. … The same way they know if they commit certain offenses, they know the likelihood bail will be set is less.”


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