By KATE MOSTACCIO

Recognizing its devastating impact on parole officers and their ability to do their job, as well as the risk to public safety, PEF worked hard behind the scenes to oppose the “Less is More” parole reform bill.

Since the bill’s introduction, PEF engaged in news media campaigns, submitted comments to major media outlets, covered the issue in union publications, sent emails to members urging them to contact their legislators, and lobbied hard in Albany.

While DC 37 locals supported this bill, PEF sounded the alarm and supported the views of its parole members throughout the process.

“PEF was a powerful foe fighting against Less Is More,” said President Wayne Spence. “We knew that proponents of this legislation simplified community supervision down to meet their needs and we carried the message of what parole and community supervision is really all about and how it works. On behalf of our members, we were in the ears of many key legislators trying to educate them on what was wrong with Less is More.

“We hope our members will help us in our continuing efforts to shine light on this damaging bill,” Spence said. “We ask that you all take a few minutes and reach out to your representatives. Tell them how this bill is a danger to public safety. Let’s use our collective voice and keep pushing back.”

Click here for a list of New York State lawmakers who voted in favor of “Less is More.”

Below is a timeline of PEF’s advocacy on behalf of parole officers, in the news, in the Capitol and through union activities.

Coverage in the News

Jan. 29, 2020: Queens Daily Eagle: Formerly Incarcerated New Yorkers Press for Parole Reform
Oct. 29, 2020: Spectrum News’ ‘Capital Tonight’ with Susan Arbetter: PEF President Says ‘No’ to Parole Reform
Oct. 30, 2020: Press Republican (Clinton, Essex, Franklin Counties): Half Dozen Upstate Parole Officers Test Positive for Virus
Jan. 28, 2021: New York State of Politics:  ‘Less is More’ Act Eliminates Incarceration for Parole Violations
May 6, 2021: New York State of Politics: ‘Capital Tonight’ interview with President Spence, including discussion of parole reform
June 3, 2021: Times Herald-Record: ‘Giving People a Chance,’ Advocates Push for Parole Reform, but Time is Ticking
June 8, 2021: The City: Parole Reform Set to Pass in Albany After Riker’s Deaths

Legislative Advocacy

February 27, 2019: Met with Senator Benjamin
March 8, 2019: Drafted sign-on letter for other groups to join in opposition
March 9, 2019: Met with Senator Myrie
March 12, 2019: Met with Assemblymember Crespo
March 20, 2019: Met with Assemblymember Weprin
April 27, 2019: Comparison of “A” and “B” print drafted
April 30, 2019: Met with Assemblymember Walter Mosley (the bill’s primary Assembly sponsor) in Albany (President Spence attended)
May 6, 2019: Met with Speaker Carl Heastie in Albany (President Spence attended)
May 14, 2019: DOCCS Lobby Day
May 14, 2019: Met with Senator Brian Benjamin & Walter Mosley in Albany (Senate and Assembly Primary Sponsors) (President Spence attended)
May 17, 2019: Met with Assemblymember Weprin’s staff
May 24, 2019: Met with Senate staff
May 28, 2019: Met in Albany for bill discussion with parole leaders and mark up meeting (President Spence attended)
May 31, 2019: Marked up bill sent to MoA Mosley from May 28 meeting
June 3, 2019: Parole leaders receive bill mark up and script to call MoA Weprin’s office
June 4, 2019: Oppose memo on A.5493-A/S.1343-B issued
June 4, 2019: Amorosi email to Mike Neidl asking AFL-CIO to issues Less is More oppose memo
June 18, 2019: Update email to PEF parole leaders
June: Met with Senate Leader Stewart-Cousins in Albany
June: Assemblymember Weprin thanked for not moving bill and he offers to let Pres. Spence speak to the Committee before the bill is considered
July 19, 2019: Met with Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez in NYC (President Spence attended)
August 23, 2019: Amorosi email to Weprin chief of staff about bill and President Spence speaking to Committee in 2020
November 1, 2019: Met with large group of parole members and Brian Benjamin in NYC (President Spence attended)
November 14, 2019: State Senator Luis Sepulveda (Chair of Senate Corrections Committee) hosts roundtable discussion for criminal justice reform stakeholders in NYC. PEF represented by Lindsay Bonanza (DOCCS) and Dayna Lamb (Parole) (President Spence attended)
November 19, 2019: PEF on the Move call to action email to parole officers
December 3, 2019: Talking points emailed to VP DiAntonio and President Spence by Amorosi
December 5, 2019: Parole leaders met in NYC for strategy session for Bar Association meeting and mark up of technical violations bill language (President Spence attended)
December 11, 2019: Presentation to NYS Bar Association Parole Reform Taskforce in NYC  (by invitation) (President Spence attended)
December 2020: Worked with Public Employee Conference to include opposition to “Less is More” as a part of their legislative program. PEC includes most of the state’s uniformed officers.
January 10, 2020: Parole member meeting in NYC​ (President Spence attended)
February 15, 2020: Albany Caucus Weekend Workshop. Council Leader Gina Lopez panelist on reentry resources workshop
February 20, 2020: Met with parole leaders and Sen. Luis Sepulveda in NYC on parole reform and reentry resources (President Spence attended)
February 8, 2021: Bill on Senate Crime Victims, Crime and Correction committee agenda and PEF Memo in Opposition #1 issued to full legislature – Bill Reported to Finance
February 10, 2021: SWPAC given PEF Oppose memo #1 and asked to contact regional legislators
February 10, 2021: PEF testifies before the Public Protection Joint Legislative Hearing against “Less is More”
February – June 2021:  Multiple meetings with Sen. Salazar (Chair, Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections) and Asm. Weprin (Chair, Codes), as well as central staff on “Less is More” at each we request the opportunity to address the committee on our concerns over Less is More.
March 19, 2021: Meeting with parole leaders and new Senate Corrections Committee Chair Sen. Julia Salazar (President Spence attended)
April 21, 2021: Covered at SWPAC meeting and discussed as TOP PRIORITY
April 22, 2021: PEF Oppose Memo #2 Sent to Full Legislature
April 28, 2021: Email blast to Division 236 asking for action on “Less is More”
May 11, 2021: Bill on Senate Finance Agenda – Bill held at sponsor’s request pending amendments
May 11 – June 7, 2021:  Multiple requests for inclusion in negotiations with senior Senate staff and Senator Benjamin
May 13, 2021: SWPAC Given Oppose Memo along with other End of Session priorities
May 28, 2021: PEF Memo in Opposition # 2 issued to full legislature
May 28, 2021: PEF Memo #2 sent to SWPAC along with link to court decision for SWPAC to contact legislators
June 1, 2021: Public Employee Conference Issues Memo in Opposition at PEFs request
June 2021: President Spence meets with Assembly member Forrest – the lead sponsor
June 4, 2021: PEF on the Move – email blast to members highlighting that Public Employee Conference joins PEF in Opposition to “Less is More”
June 7, 2021: Bill is amended – Amendments posted at 11:59 p.m.  Bill placed on Rules Committee and Assembly Codes Committee Agendas for scheduled passage on Thursday, June 10, 2021
June 8, 2021: PEF Memo in Opposition #3 is sent to Full Legislature
June 8, 2021: PEF Memo in Opposition #3 is sent to Division 236 in email blast asking for action
June 8, 2021: PEF Memo in opposition #3 sent to SWPAC and asked to contact legislators
June 8 – 10, 2021: PEF Legislative and Political Departments contact senate and assembly majority members regarding the problems with the amended bill
June 10, 2021: Bill passes both houses
June 23, 2021: President Spence sent a letter to Gov. Cuomo detailing how ‘Less Is More’ poses a public safety risk, undercuts the rehabilitation process, and is yet another unfunded mandate

Parole Newsletter

December 2020: Digital newsletter to all parole titles

PEF Communicator and PEF.org

December 2020: Parole officers always stuck between rocks and hard places (page 20)
April 2, 2021: Parolee assault of elderly woman highlights critical role of services, parole system
May 28, 2021: PEF Oppose Less Is More Parole Reform