NY Governor Cuomo Proposes Major Improvements to the Criminal Justice System in State of the State & Executive Budget

January 14, 2016 – Legal Action Center applauds New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal of numerous reforms and new budget initiatives within the criminal justice system for the coming year in his State of the State and budget proposals, including:

  • $1 million for expanding the use of alternatives to incarceration beyond defendants with substance use disorders to include other people at high risk of going to prison and to upstate areas that are currently underserved by such programs;
  • Improved education and training for people in prison and/or at risk of becoming involved with the criminal justice system, including $7.5 million for college education in prison, $3 million to modernize prison-based vocational education and provide education services to incarcerated individuals with learning disabilities, and $55 million for urban youth employment and job training;
  • Several million dollars in funding for transitional support for people returning to the community from incarceration, including increased support for transitional employment, housing, and healthcare;
  • A revival of New York’s work release program and proposals regarding new ways for the Parole Board to use its discretionary release power to increase the number of low-risk individuals approved for release onto parole;
  • A broad plan to raise the age of criminal responsibility;
  • New funding to support technology that would allow families to remain in closer contact during incarceration; and
  • The first pilot program to provide addiction medications within a state correctional facility in order to help individuals with a history of opiate addiction avoid relapse upon release.

LAC’s Director and President Paul Samuels said “Governor announced a bold criminal justice agenda that would make New York a safer and healthier place to live, save taxpayer dollars now and in the future from reduced incarceration, help people be successful in the community, and strengthen families.”

“These initiatives will continue and expand New York’s tradition of leadership in smart criminal justice reform,” said LAC’s Director of New York Policy Sebastian Solomon. “We commend Governor Cuomo for his longstanding support for these policies. Governor Cuomo’s agenda for 2016 demonstrates this Administration’s understanding of the interconnectedness between untreated addiction and other health issues, involvement in the justice system, and homelessness. We look forward to working with him and the legislature to advance these critical reforms.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Sebastian Solomon, (212)-243-1313, [email protected]

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