Criminal Justice, Community Relations & Civil Rights

As lawyers we have a responsibility to ensure that our justice system is operating in a way that is just, fair and equitable.  When trust in that system is broken, we must step up and work to restore it.  Our Criminal Justice, Community Relations and Civil Rights section addresses the intersection of criminal justice reform and civil rights.  The City Bar has worked to connect these two areas of law in order to address inequities and disparate impacts in the criminal justice system and the consequences for minority communities.  This dedicated section highlights our efforts to issue reports, conduct programs, advocate legislation and otherwise work toward achieving a fair and responsive criminal justice system.

Committees contributing to work in this area include: Civil Rights CommitteeCorrections & Community Reentry CommitteeCriminal Advocacy CommitteeCriminal Courts CommitteeCriminal Justice Operations CommitteeCriminal Law CommitteeJuvenile Justice CommitteeTask Force on Mass Incarceration.  

FY 2018 NYS Budget - Criminal Justice Reform 

Governor Cuomo presented his proposed 2018 Executive Budget on Jan. 17.  As indicated in his earlier State of the State address, the Governor proposed a number of criminal justice reform items:

  • Education, Labor & Family Assistance Budget 
  •  Public Protection & General Government Budget
    • Support memo |  Bill text 
    • Includes, among other items:
      • Bring fairness and consistency to the penalties administered to New Yorkers who possess small amounts of marijuana (Part B)
      • Criminal Justice Reform Act (Part D)
        • requiring video recording of police interrogations for serious offenses;
        • improved witness identification procedures; and
        • reforms/increased funding for indigent criminal defense across the state
      • Correction Reform Bill (Part E)
        • would allow the DOCCS Commissioner to set conditions of parole in certain instances, would establish earned reductions during post-release supervision, would add two new advanced skills to a list of programs that would qualify inmates for Limited Credit Time Allowance, and would reform non-violent State Prison sentences

TIMING: the Governor has 30 days after its release date to amend the Budget, and an “on time” Budget is completed by April 1.  

For more information on the Governor’s overall budget proposal and the budget process, review the Governor’s Briefing book, which includes a Citizen’s Guide to the Budget (at pg. 133).  You can also visit the Governor’s budget website, which has additional resources.

Related City Bar Reports:

January 19, 2017 Mass Incarceration: Where Do We Go From Here?

August 01, 2016 Letter to Governor Cuomo urging the enactment of legislation to provide for the full funding of indigent defense services in New York

March 12, 2015 Report on 2015-16 Executive Budget Proposal regarding Raising the Age of Criminal Responsibility

May 15, 2013 Report on the NYPD's Stop-And-Frisk Policy

June 01, 2010 Report on A.4721/S.1267 which would require electronic recording of custodial interrogations in felony cases (Reissued February 2013)

January 23, 2014 Letter to the NYS Parole Board commenting on proposed regulations implementing the 2011 amendments and adding two factors that should consider in making parole decisions