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New York Called On to Enact Additional Criminal Justice Reforms


Many criminal justice advocates are calling on the state of New York to go even further in enacting and implementing additional criminal justice reforms in an attempt to overhaul New York’s criminal justice system. Those advocating for additional reforms have specifically called on Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers to prioritize reforms that include due process, policing, parole, and improvement in prison and jail conditions before the end of this current session; in addition to what has already been put in place.

New York Has Already Eliminated Cash Bail for Low-Level Crimes & Changed Discovery Procedures for The Sake of Criminal Defendants …But There Is More to Be Done

Governor Cuomo and several state lawmakers already passed and enacted a number of changes in April concerning the removal of cash bail for many low-level crimes and the expansion of open discovery for criminal defense. According to Gov. Cuomo, the state has also raised the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18 and mandated that juveniles who commit non-violent crimes receive “evidence-based treatment.” Juveniles will also no longer be housed in adult prisons such as Riker’s Island, but instead placed in juvenile detention centers that are certified by the State Office of Children and Family Services.

Still, those arguing for additional reforms note that there is still much to be done. Specifically, there are still a number of bills on the docket that should be passed that would:

  • transform practices that have a disproportionate and discriminatory impact on black, Latino, and immigrant New Yorkers;
  • transform the state courts and jails;
  • bring an end to mass incarceration;
  • decriminalize marijuana;
  • make driver’s licenses says available to New Yorkers, regardless of immigrant status;
  • end solitary confinement;
  • foster accountability and transparency for police departments throughout New York (a collection of bills known as the “Safer NY Acts”);
  • automatically make any inmate over the age of 55 who has served at least 15 years of their sentence eligible for parole by amending the standards relied on by the Board of Parole and force the Board to take someone’s rehabilitation and public safety risk into account when making release determinations;
  • repeal the law against loitering for the purpose of engaging in a prostitution offense (which arguably profiles women of color and transgender women for simply being in public); and
  • allow judges additional discretion to vacate criminal convictions for those who have been victims of labor and/or sex trafficking.

Contact Our New York Criminal Defense Attorneys to Find Out More

For professional legal help, contact NYC criminal attorney Mark I Cohen, Esq., to find out how we can provide you with the very best criminal defense possible.



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