Tragic death of NYPD Officer Diller influenced by 'Less is More' parole law

ALBANY, NY (03/26/2024) (readMedia)-- The following statement was released by PEF President Wayne Spence following the shooting death of NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller. Spence worked as a New York State parole officer for nearly 20 years before being elected PEF president in 2015.

The so-called "Less is More" parole law is partly responsible for the tragic death of New York City Police Officer Jonathan Diller on March 25. The man who shot him, Guy Rivera, is a violent felony offender who was released from Parole Supervision in 2022 thanks to a component of "Less is More" called "30 for 30." For every 30 days without a parole violation, a parolee earns 30 days off his sentence.

But Mr. Rivera was hardly a model parolee. He was first incarcerated in 2011 for Attempted Assault in the First Degree, during which he also discharged a firearm at his victim. In 2016, Rivera was released on parole and soon rearrested for selling drugs. Five years later, in 2021, he was granted parole again and when "Less is More" became New York State law in 2022, he was given credit for 10 months of good behavior despite not complying with the board-imposed stipulations of his parole. This misguided law put a violent felon back into the community without regard to the community's safety, and now the Diller family doesn't have a husband or a father.

Sadly, Mr. Rivera's story is not unique. "30 for 30" has allowed 20,000 parolees to be released from community supervision without successful completion of the very programs that are intended to help them maintain productive lives – things like substance abuse, mental health and sex offender treatment. It is time for the New York State legislature to amend "Less is More" and return power to the State's parole officers, who want nothing more than to help parolees get back on their feet and reintegrate into their community.