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City Bar Highlights State’s Incarceration Reforms as Trump Readies for Office (New York Law Journal)

New York Law Journal, January 18, 2017

City Bar Highlights State’s Incarceration Reforms as Trump Readies for Office

“New York can serve as a model for state and local governments seeking to cut their incarceration rates even as commitments from the federal government remain uncertain under Donald Trump’s administration, a New York City Bar Association report concluded. New York City implemented a supervised release program last year as an alternative to incarceration that diverted about 2,000 people who would have been held on bail, according to the report released Wednesday. The city also oversaw 20 programs that put about 2,800 people in treatment or other programs rather than jail during the 2015-2016 fiscal year. The city had the lowest incarceration rate of the nation’s 10 largest cities. The report noted New York is among 27 states that saw reductions in crime and incarceration rates between 2006 and 2014. The state had 260 prisoners per 100,000 residents in 2015, the 12th lowest incarceration rate in the country. The report called on the federal government to continue reform efforts by supporting policies like reducing mandatory minimum sentences for repeat offenders and giving judges more discretion to give sentences below the statutory minimum for nonviolent offenders. John Savarese, chair of the city bar’s task force on mass incarceration and a partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, said work on the report began last summer in preparation for the November election. They intended for it to be a one-stop reference for New York’s efforts to reduce mass incarceration. ‘We very much had in mind that there was an election coming and that there would be, one way or another, a new administration,’ Savarese said.”

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