End Mass Incarceration
Reduce the number of prisons, jails, youth prisons, and other places of involuntary detention, as well as the number of people incarcerated in any of those facilities in New York State and the length of time they are incarcerated.
- Parole Reform: require Parole Board to make decisions based on applicants’ current risk, readiness, and personal transformation, with presumptive release for people reappearing before the Board, A.7546, and “second look” parole consideration for all people who are 55 or older and have spent 15 years incarcerated. Strengthen and expand geriatric/medical parole and ensure no one is excluded based on crime of conviction.
- Raise the Age: raise the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to at least 18 for all children and all crimes, and keep all children out of adult jails and prisons. As a start, NY must fully implement and expand the enacted 2017 raise the age law.
- Raise the age of “youthful offender” status: Increase the maximum age of a person to be deemed a youth for “youthful offender” (YO) status from nineteen to twenty-two to give judges the option of immediately sealing offenses committed by young people whose behaviors are linked to their evolving impulse control abilities.
- Pre-Trial Justice: adopt bold speedy trial, S.7006B, bail, S.3579A, and discovery law reform, S.7722; stop indiscriminate and coerced use of plea bargains that terminate defendants’ rights; and expand funding for legal representation, in order to ensure fairness, dramatically reduce the number of people in jail and prison, stop jail expansion, end pre-trial detention in almost all cases, end poverty-based detention, and refrain from using risk assessment instruments or other approaches that claim to predict dangerousness and reinforce existing inequalities.
- Ensure Speedy Trial Time Limits: allow courts to determine prosecutors’ actual readiness for trial as well as whether an adjournment period should be included for purposes of time computations for speedy trial protections.
- Ensure parole decisions are based on risk and rehabilitation: Clarify that the Parole Board must base its decisions on risk and needs principles measuring people’s rehabilitation.
- Change the Makeup of the Parole Board: Mandate that Parole Board membership reflects the prison population in terms of race, ethnicity, age, and geographic area of residence, and additionally mandate that at least one-third of commissioners have at least five years of experience in social work or reentry work.
- Release aging people from prison through parole, clemency, medical parole, other mechanisms.
- Stop jail expansion throughout New York State and rather than construct new jails to limit overcrowding: implement bail reform, reduce arrests, and expand alternatives to incarceration.
- End life without parole: adopt a reentry-oriented sentencing code, reduce re-incarceration on technical violations, and overall reduce sentence lengths and promote alternatives to incarceration.
- Decriminalize drugs – and overall take a public health, harm reduction, ATI approach.
- Reduce the policing of people who use drugs: Take all the necessary steps to authorize and establish Supervised Injection Facilities as a public health intervention to reduce HIV and viral hepatitis transmission and overdose deaths, to promote access to drug dependency treatment and other supportive care, to increase public safety and to reduce policing and corrections involvement of people who use drugs.
- Expand and improve mechanisms that are alternatives to criminal court and incarceration, including restorative and transformative justice, mediation, drug and mental health courts, and alternatives to incarceration programs.
- End the Criminalization of Condoms: prohibit the use in evidence the fact of possession or presence of condoms and other sexual and reproductive health devices.