Signed police reform package, including ban on chokeholds
The governor has repeatedly called for the repeal of 50-A, a statute used by police departments to keep disciplinary records secret. Included in the package is a repeal of 50-A, a ban on chokeholds and a ban on false race-based 911 calls.
One bill will clarify that a person not under arrest has the right to record police activity and maintain custody and control of the recording. The governor called the package "nation-leading criminal justice and police reform bills."
Source: U.S. News & World Report on 2022 New York gubernatorial race
, Dec 12, 2020
Supports higher minimum wage for prison industry workers
Of course, in New York you get criticized for everything. There were complaints that it was an exploitation of the prison population to have inmates making hand sanitizer. I agree inmates are paid too little for the work they perform, and
I have supported a higher minimum wage for inmates. But the fact that the prisoners were already making hand sanitizer and had been for years fell on deaf ears. The fact that the prison industry program was also voluntary fell on deaf ears.
But as I have learned, an executive must make a decision that is right even if not everyone agrees. It is a difficult balance to do the right thing rather than the popular thing when your position is dependent
on the support of the people. The only path and rational I have found is to always assume that you are serving your last term and that what matters most is your legacy of success and integrity.
Bail reform is right. You have a criminal justice system that basically says now you get arrested, if you can make bail you're released, if you can't make bail you sit in Rikers for two years and get abused until you have your day in court. Bail is
predicated on wealth. That's not justice. Changing the system, which we started to do, is complicated and then has a number of ramifications. There's no doubt this is still a work in progress and there are other changes that have to be made.
Source: 2020 New York State of the State address
, Jan 8, 2020
Eliminate cash bail
We need to reform our criminal justice system by eliminating cash bail once and for all. And enacting speedy trial. And discovery reform.
ACLU commentary on California's elimination of cash bail; NPR, 8/29/18: Every day, people who have
not been convicted of a crime are incarcerated pretrial because they're too poor to afford cash bail. The California Legislature eliminated this cash bail industry, and that's a good thing. But it replaces this current system with another system that
could be even worse, by creating broad new categories of people who will now be presumed to be subjected to pretrial incarceration--essentially algorithms that pop out a number that tells a judge what risk you are. Communities of color are over-policed
& come in contact with the criminal justice system much more frequently. If you build an algorithm that gives you a worse score on a risk assessment because you have been arrested before, then that perpetuates racial bias in the criminal justice system.
Focus on enforcement: $45M for anti-gang operations
When it comes to public safety, we spent a hundred millions dollars to fight MS-13 the fight goes on, let's invest another $45 million dollar in anti-gang operations, violence prevention, and school base support. We have a growing problem of
online sexual offenses against children. We want to launch a specialized police unit to prosecute these predators, nothing could be worse. Let's pass the New York City speed camera laws and stop playing politics that they did last year.
Source: 2019 State of the State address to the New York legislature
, Jan 15, 2019
Equal justice requires bail reform; eliminate the money
What's happening now is if you can't pay the bail, you sit in jail; If you can make the bail, you get out. That's not justice. That's two forms of justice, one for the rich and one for the poor. We want to change the law this year, get rid of the money,
and the judge decides either you're a significant risk to public safety, in which case you stay in, or you're released on your own recognizance. Whether you're rich or poor, you're black or white, same standard.
Source: Speech transcript from National Action Network Convention
, Jan 15, 2018
Raise the Age: prosecute 16- and 17-year olds as juveniles
Proposal #62: Raise the Age: New York is one of only two states in the nation that has no legal authority to treat 16- and 17-year-olds as juveniles. "Raise the Age" is a movement advocating for juvenile responses to crimes committed by minors.
The governor's Commission recently recommended a comprehensive set of reforms that would change how the justice system treats all youths. They are carefully designed to preserve public safety by maintaining
District Attorney control over serious crimes of violence; allow for violent felony offenses given Youthful Offender status to be considered in sentencing if the youth continues to commit such offenses; and provide for the capacity to impose longer
sentences for the most egregious crimes of violence. The Commission estimates that, if implemented, these reforms will prevent between 1,500 and 2,400 crimes against people every five years across the State.
Proposal #63: Restore trust between community and law enforcement: Underlying the American dream of economic opportunity is a foundational belief and trust in our justice system. But that belief and trust has been questioned, presenting a problem in both
perception and in reality. To restore trust and respect between community and law enforcement the Governor proposes a number of recommendations, which include the following:
Create a statewide Reconciliation Commission to address police/community
relations in affected neighborhoods.
Recruit more minorities into law enforcement.
Obtain and make publicly available race and ethnic data on summonses, misdemeanors, and other police actions statewide.
Fund replacement vests, body cameras and
bullet-proof glass for patrol cars in high crime areas.
District Attorneys may issue a report in police cases where an unarmed civilian dies and the case is not presented to the grand jury or the grand jury fails to indict.
A sense of chaos can have a profound effect on politics and what voters expect from their political leaders. America has always stressed and argued over the tensions between liberty and order, freedom and certainty.
When disorder prevails, the premium becomes high for ideas that can, or seem to, promise a return to stability and safety. Against this backdrop, crime and punishment became the must-address topic for the candidates.
Even though mayors have no say in capital punishment cases or law, expanding the method of execution became a hot-button topic in the race. My father believed that state-sanctioned killing appealed to our worst impulses.
He said the city needed more cops, experienced judges, and an overhaul of the criminal justice system. He was right as a matter of policy, but wrong as a matter of politics.
End "stop and frisk"; it stigmatizes young black males
We are one New York, and as one New York we will not tolerate discrimination. There is a challenge posed by the "stop and frisk" police policies. Roughly 50,000 arrests in New York City for marijuana possession, more than any other possession.
Of those 50,000 arrests, 82% are black and Hispanic. Of the 82% that are black and Hispanic, 69% are under the age of 30 years old. These are young, predominately black and Hispanic males. These arrests stigmatize, they criminalize, they create a
permanent record. It's not fair. It's not right. It must end. And it must end now. The problem is the disconnect because marijuana on a person is a violation, marijuana in public view is a misdemeanor. There must be parity. Decriminalize the public view
with 15 grams or less so there is fairness and parity in the system and we stop stigmatizing these people, making it harder to find a job, making it harder to get into to school, making it harder to turn their lives around at a very young age.
The State must do more to ensure the integrity and reliability of evidence pertaining to confessions. False confessions have been shown to contribute to wrongful convictions. In order to help prevent wrongful convictions based on
false confessions, as well as to protect law enforcement from erroneous allegations of coercion, interrogations of persons arrested for serious offenses such as homicide, kidnapping and certain sex offenses should be recorded on video.
It is time that New York joined the 18 states and District of Columbia that have, either legislatively or by judicial action, implemented this practice.
Governor Cuomo will propose that videotaped interrogations be required for suspects in serious crimes, including homicides, kidnapping and violent sex crimes.
We eliminated over 3,800 prison beds and 370 juvenile facility beds--because we finally accepted that prisons are not an economic development program. In addition to the closure of Tryon Boys Residential Center in
January 2011, we shut four residential juvenile facilities and downsized another four. We have worked to put a greater emphasis on prevention and on community-based alternatives to incarceration.
Source: 2012 New York State of the State Address
, Jan 4, 2012
Collect DNA for all crimes, to exonerate the innocent
I propose that we expand our DNA databank. This databank helps establish guilt and innocence; it has provided leads in over 2,700 convictions and--just as important--led to 27 exonerations of the wrongfully accused. Currently, DNA is collected only from
those convicted of less than half the crimes on the books in New York State. Among the exclusions are numerous crimes that are often precursors to violent offenses. As a result, we are missing an important opportunity to prevent needless suffering of
crime victims. We are also failing to use the most powerful tool we have to exonerate the innocent. I will propose a bill requiring the collection of a DNA sample from any person convicted of a felony or Penal Law misdemeanor. DNA can be the key to
exonerating the innocent, convicting the guilty, and protecting all New Yorkers in a fair and cost-effective way. Let's put New York on the cutting edge of criminal justice and become the first state in the nation to collect DNA on all crimes.
Incarcerating juveniles increases likelihood of offending
Our infrastructure is stuck in 20th century ideas while our practice has moved into the 21st. Recognizing that incarcerating low to medium risk juveniles actually increases the likelihood of future offending, we have turned to newer and more effective
methods that will reduce the rate of adult reoffending.
My Administration will commit to reforming the system--making sure that our troubled youth populations are best served with meaningful programming, so that they may go on to live productive lives.
Source: 2011 State of the State speech to New York legislature
, Jan 5, 2011