Albany, NY – In response to the Less is More Act being signed into law, Rosemary Rivera, co-executive director of Citizen Action of New York, released the following statement:

“We applaud Governor Kathy Hochul and Lt. Governor Benjamin for signing the Less is More Act and taking an important step toward reducing the number of incarcerated people at Rikers Island amidst a humanitarian crisis. While this bill doesn’t solve the horrors of Rikers Island, it is a necessary step towards decarcerating Rikers and jails across New York State. The Less is More Act will allow for due process, eliminate the practice of incarceration for minor, non-criminal infractions such as missing curfew, associating with another person with a criminal history, and other technical violations. It also provides earned time credit for those on parole. This willI not only reduce the number of people experiencing unjust trauma at Rikers Jail and jails across New York, but also help keep people out of jail who should not be there in the first place. Despite the March 2022 effective date, we hope that the Governor implements crucial provisions of this legislation immediately.

The Governor signing this bill does not absolve New York City officials from their responsibility in decarcerating Rikers Jail or addressing the failed policies that lead to the crisis at Rikers. We call on Mayor DeBlasio to release people through the 6a release program; for Districts Attorneys to stop setting unaffordable bail; and for the Courts to use alternative to incarceration programs to prevent more people from experiencing the abhorrent and abusive conditions of Rikers Island.”