Committee Reports

Mass Incarceration: Where Do We Go From Here?


With prospects for reducing mass incarceration on the national level uncertain, the Task Force on Mass Incarceration has released a report emphasizing the progress that can be made on the local level and highlighting “New York as a model for reform.”  A follow up to the 2015 report “Mass Incarceration: Seizing the Moment for Reform“, the report describes how New York City and New York State have succeeded in decreasing the rate of incarceration through a variety of policies, and puts forth recommendations on how to continue the momentum and bring about even greater reform, while still preserving public safety and keeping crime low. Recommendations include adding a new subsection to New York’s CPL 440.20 (governing motions to set aside a sentence) that would allow an individual under certain circumstances to petition the original sentencing judge to request that his or her sentence be reduced or modified on the ground that the sentence is excessive; developing a means to trigger automatic sentence reductions—beyond the current merit and good time programs—based on an individual’s conduct while incarcerated; further reforms to the bail system; raising the age of criminal responsibility; sealing or expunging criminal records in certain circumstances; and making it unlawful statewide for prospective employers to ask about an applicant’s criminal record before offering a job.