Racial Inequities in New York Parole Supervision

Bradner, Kendra; Schiraldi, Vincent N.

The scope and conditions of parole supervision in New York have profound impacts for people serving supervision sentences. Numerous conditions are a constraint on their liberty, serve as trip wires to incarceration, and can disrupt the process of community reintegration needed for successful reentry after leaving prison. Parole supervision fuels mass incarceration everywhere, but particularly in New York as New York sends more people back to prison for non-criminal, technical parole violations than any state except Illinois. Nearly six times as many people are reincarcerated in state prisons for technical violations such as missing an appointment, being out past curfew, or testing positive for alcohol as were reincarcerated for a new criminal conviction. Moreover, people held on parole violations are now the only population increasing in New York City jails, threatening plans to close the notorious Rikers Island jails complex. Together, incarceration for technical violations costs New York State and localities over $600 million annually.

Importantly, the harmful impacts of parole policies disproportionately fall on Black and brown communities. Black and Latinx people are significantly more likely than white people to be under supervision, to be jailed pending a violation hearing, and to be incarcerated in New York State prisons for a parole violation . This report examines these racial and ethnic inequities in New York parole supervision and revocation, and offers further context by summarizing existing research on disparities in supervision practices nationally.

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Justice Lab
Social Work
Justice Lab at Columbia University
Published Here
April 7, 2020